New government report on non-government school funding

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A new Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) report shows that in 2009 the Australian Government provided $6.3 billion to non-government schools. Of this funding, $5.8 billion was made available as recurrent per capita grants under the SES system of funding for non-government schools, which is currently under review as part of the Government’s wider Review of Funding for Schooling. On average, this equated to $4963 per non-government school student.
Breaking this funding down by non-government school sector (Catholic systemic schools and all other non-government schools), Catholic systemic schools received 60.2 per cent of Australian Government recurrent per capita funding and all other non-government schools, 30.8 per cent. On a per student basis this equated to, on average, $5407 per Catholic systemic school student and $4413 for all other non-government school students.
The report, the Report on Financial Assistance Granted to Each State in Respect of 2009, is not as well known as the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (RoGS), which each year receives a lot of media attention, particularly about the distribution of Australian Government school funds between government and non-government schools. This latest DEEWR report provides information about all Australian Government money made available to non-government schools under the Schools Assistance Act 2008. It will be of great interest to those who want to know how much Australian Government money is provided for each individual non-government school.
Prior to 2009, the reports on Financial Assistance Granted to Each State also included information about funding by program for government schools. However, with the restructuring of Australian Government funding for schools as a result of a new federal financial relations framework established by the Council of Australian Governments, funding for government schools is now provided as one National Specific Purpose Payment through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations. Given the different Australian Government funding arrangements for government and non-government schools that now exist, it is no longer possible to make the same comparisons of funding (that is recurrent versus capital funding) between government and non-government schools that existed before 2009.
Apart from the Commonwealth budget papers, the other major source of information about Australian Government funding for schools is the National Report on Schooling in Australia (ANR). This report was last issued for the year 2008, after which its publication became the responsibility of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). The earlier reports are available on the website of the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs. It will be interesting to see how the new funding arrangements are reported in the next edition of the ANR and, for that matter, the next edition of RoGS.
For more information about Australian Government funding for schools, see the Parliamentary Library publication, Australian Government Funding for Schools Explained.

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