National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Funding Australia’s schools

8.3 Funding for government schools

Australia’s constitutional arrangements allocate primary responsibility for school education to State and Territory governments. They are the major funders of government schools and in 200809 contributed 88.96 per cent ($27.4b) of total recurrent funding, with the Australian Government contributing the remaining 11.04 per cent ($3.4b).

Figure 8.3             Total government recurrent expenditure per student, government schools, Australia, 20082009 (%)

Total government recurrent expenditure per student

Australian Government funding for government schools

Over the 200809 financial year, funding to government schools was provided under both the Schools Assistance (Learning Together – Achievement Through Choice and Opportunity) Act 2004, which ceased at the end of 2008, and a new funding approach commencing in 2009 which includes:

  • The National Schools Specific Purpose Payment under the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is based on primary and secondary enrolment levels and a per capita grant. This will be indexed annually according to increases in the Average Government School Recurrent Costs (AGSRC) and growth in enrolments.

  • The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) also covers National Partnership Agreements. Each National Partnership Agreement has its own conditions and funding is based on the achievement of educational outcomes.

  • Commonwealth Own-Purpose Expenses Annual Appropriations (COPEs) include a range of specific purpose programs.

As a result of these major funding changes between 2008 and 2009 it is not possible to provide a funding comparison at a detailed program level between years. The Australian Government’s capital allocation for government schools has been included in the recurrent National Schools SPP. Under the IGA all State and Territory governments are now given flexibility in how much of this funding is to be allocated to capital programs.

Government school recurrent expenditure

The total recurrent expenditure by government education systems over the past four years is provided at Figure 8.4.

 

Figure 8.4             Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure (actual $'000), government schools, 200506 to 200809

Australian, State and Territory government recurre

Figure 8.4 – source data ($'000)

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

State and Territory recurrent expenditure

23,103,929

24,550,552

26,272,069

27,415,480

Australian Government recurrent expenditure

2,266,721

2,373,104

2,485,752

3,440,779

Total – all government recurrent expenditure

25,370,650

26,923,656

28,757,821

30,856,259

Sources: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services, 2008, Tables 4A.7, 4A.9, 2009, 2010, 2011, Tables 4A.7, 4A.11; MCEECDYA National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

See also Additional Statistics, Table 35

 

Figure 8.4 shows government school recurrent expenditure has increased from $25.4 billion to $30.9 billion over the past four years, an increase of 21.62 per cent or over 5 per cent a year in actual terms.

The Australian Government is contributing an increasing proportion of government school funding due to National Partnerships, the broad banding of programs as a result of new funding arrangements that commenced in 2009 and the impact of increasing primary school per capita funding in 2009. This is reflected in the upward movement in the trend line between 200708 and 200809, an increase of 38.42 per cent.

In 2009 the primary student government funding increased from 8.9 per cent of the AGSRC to 10.0 per cent of the AGSRC, and the percentage is now in line with government secondary schools per capita funding. National Partnership funding began in 2009 and expenditure on these programs started to be reflected in increased expenditures.

Also, in 2009 the relative funding shares between the Australian and State and Territory government funding were also impacted by the Australian Government transferring former capital funding into its broad banded recurrent program (National Schools Specific Purpose Payment). It should also be noted that funding arrangements, including the methodology for allocating funding, differ between states and territories. Government school systems historically have not reported income from parents and school communities under national reporting frameworks.

Government school recurrent per capita expenditure

Per capita relativities from 200506 to 2008–09 are shown below in Figure 8.5.

 

Figure 8.5             Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure per student,

                                government schools (actual $ per FTE student), 200506 to 200809

Australian, State and Territory government recur 2

 

Figure 8.5 – source data ($)

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

State and Territory recurrent expenditure

10,239

10,827

11,546

12,034

Australian Government recurrent expenditure

1,004

1,047

1,092

1,510

Total – all government recurrent expenditure

11,243

11,874

12,639

13,544

Sources: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services, 2008, Table 4A.9, 2009, 2010, 2011, Table 4A.8; MCEECDYA National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

See also Additional Statistics, Table 36

 

The recurrent student per capita expenditure show similar movements to total government school expenditure (as shown in Figure 8.5 above). Expenditure per student has increased from $11,243 to $13,544 over the past four years, an increase of 20.47 per cent or again around 5 per cent a year in actual terms.

The Australian Government contribution again reflects a similar upward movement in the trend line and between 200708 and 200809 shows an increase of 38.28 per cent.

Primary and secondary school recurrent per capita expenditure

Per capita recurrent expenditure in government schools has steadily increased over the past decade. Table 8.3 shows that in 200809 this expenditure reached $12,391 for primary students and $15,312 for secondary students.

Table 8.3 also shows a growth of 7.16 per cent in total per capita funding over 200708 to 200809, from $12,639 to $13,544.

 

Table 8.3               Recurrent per capita expenditure on government schools, by level of education,
                                Australia, 2005
06 to 200809 financial years (accrual basis) (actual $)

Financial year

 

Primary

Secondary

Total

 

200506

 

 

10,280

12,729

11,243

 

200607

 

 

10,938

13,315

11,874

 

200708

 

 

11,557

14,306

12,639

 

200809

 

 

12,391

15,312

13,544

 

 

Note: Figures include State/Territory and Australian Government contributions.

Sources: MCEECDYA, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2009; National Report on Schooling in Australia (previous years)

See also Additional Statistics, Table 37

 

 

Recurrent per capita funding for secondary schools increased by 7.03 per cent from 200708 to 200809, while funding for primary schools increased by 7.22 per cent over the same period.

Secondary schools have a higher rate of per capita expenditure than primary schools, mainly because of the complexity and range of the education services provision and the smaller studentteacher ratios in the last two years of schooling.

Government schools – in-school and out-of-school expenditure

Table 8.4 below shows funding going to in-school and out-of-school activities for the government school systems.

 

Table 8.4               Operating expenditure by government education systems, Australia, 200506 to 20082009 financial years
                                (accrual basis) (actual $
'000)

Area of expenditure

2005–06

2006–07

2007–08

2008–09

In-school expenditure

24,061,029

25,539,118

27,343,426

29,328,166

Out-of-school expenditure

1,309,620

1,384,539

1,414,395

1,528,093

Total

25,370,650

26,923,656

28,757,821

30,856,259

 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Sources: MCEECDYA, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2009; National Report on Schooling in Australia (previous years)

See also Additional Statistics, Table 35

 

Out-of-school activities for government systems include State Office, regional and local activities supporting schools. In-school activities include teaching and learning and school administration, and library functions within schools.

Out-of-school support functions are approximately 5 per cent of total government funding on State and Territory government schools. The significant component of funding, some 95 per cent, goes to fund schools directly.

 

Table 8.5               Operating expenditure by government education systems, Australia, 2005–06 to 2008–2009 financial years
                                (accrual basis) (actual $'000)

Area of expenditure

200506

200607

200708

200809

In-school expenditure

 

 

 

 

Salaries (teaching)

13,148,045

13,771,965

14,630,448

15,776,884

Salaries (non-teaching)

2,532,627

2,722,329

2,936,764

3,213,061

Redundancies

15,743

32,745

7,017

588

Non-salary costs

5,042,416

5,286,666

5,519,632

5,915,317

User cost of capital

3,322,198

3,725,413

4,249,565

4,422,316

Sub-total

24,061,029

25,539,118

27,343,426

29,328,166

Out-of-school expenditure

 

 

 

 

Salaries (non-teaching)

777,046

740,375

790,040

884,212

Redundancies

5,732

9,360

2,756

2,810

Non-salary costs

506,808

613,954

598,702

612,934

User cost of capital

20,034

20,850

22,897

28,137

Sub-total

1,309,620

1,384,539

1,414,395

1,528,093

Total

25,370,650

26,923,656

28,757,821

30,856,259

 

Notes:

Amounts include Australian Government non-capital-related Specific Purpose Payments and other grants made to States/Territories. Depreciation and user cost of capital expenses included in the figures are based on assets owned by States/Territories, some of which will have been acquired with Australian Government capital grants.

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Sources: MCEECDYA, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2009; National Report on Schooling in Australia (previous years)

 

In-school expenditure substantially reflects teacher salaries expenditure, which accounts for some 63% of in-school expenditure once the user cost of capital figure has been excluded for comparative purposes. The user cost of capital reflects the opportunity cost of being able to utilise capital funding for recurrent purposes (based on 8% of the written down value of capital assets). In-school non-salary costs account for some 24% of in-school expenditure once the user cost of capital figure has been excluded. These expenditures include school materials, maintenance, cleaning and student transport costs.