Budget Review 2021–22 Index
Dr Shannon Clark
Funding for school education
Australian Government funding for schooling will continue to
increase over the forward estimates. In 2021–22, the Australian Government will
provide $24.4 billion in Quality Schools
funding (see Federal
Financial Relations: Budget Paper No. 3: 2021–22, p. 38). This includes
$14.7 billion for non-government schools and $9.7 billion for government
schools, reflecting the Australian Government’s role as the majority public funder
of non-government schools and the minority funder of government schools. State
and territory governments are the majority public funders of government schools
and the minority funders of non-government schools.
Under the Quality Schools package, the Australian Government
provides ‘recurrent funding, capital funding, funding for non-government school
reform support, Choice
and Affordability Fund funding and other prescribed purpose funding’ (Budget
Paper No. 3, p. 38). According to Budget
Strategy and Outlook: Budget Paper No. 1: 2021–22, the Australian
Government has committed $289 billion in total recurrent funding over the
next ten years (p. 24).
Figure 1 shows Australian Government funding for government
and non-government schools since 2014–15 in real dollars. The additional
expenditure on non-government schools in 2019–20 and the dip in the following
year is due to a COVID-19 response measure which brought forward $1.0 billion
of non-government schools’ payments from July 2020 to May or June 2020 to
encourage non-government schools to return students to classroom-based learning
Budget Review article).
Figure 1: Australian Government
funding for schools, 2014–15 to 2024–25 (real, 2021–22 dollars)
(e) figures are budget estimates.
Note: real funding has been calculated by
the Parliamentary Library by deflating the nominal expenditure figure by the
June quarter CPI and CPI forecasts from the 2021–22 Budget; this methodology
may differ to that presented in the Budget papers.
Australian Government, Final
budget outcome, multiple years; Australian Government, Federal Financial Relations: Budget Paper No. 3:
2021–22, p. 38.
Paper No. 1 states: ‘Aggregate schools funding expenses are expected to
increase by 8.7 per cent in real terms between 2020–21 and 2021–22, and
increase by 7.6 per cent in real terms from 2021–22 to 2024–25’ (p. 170). From
2021–22 to 2024–25, funding is expected to increase in real terms by 9.7% for
government schools and increase by 6.1% for non-government schools (p. 170).
In addition to Quality Schools funding, the Australian
Government will provide $409.1 million in 2021–22 to the states and territories
to support education services through the following National Partnership
Paper No. 3, p. 37):
Apart from the National School Chaplaincy Program, funding
for the above agreements does not extend beyond 2021–22. The National
School Chaplaincy Program agreement states that it ‘will expire on 30 June
2023, or on completion of the project’, and that it ‘may be terminated earlier
or extended as agreed in writing by the Parties’ (p. 2). Budget
Paper No. 3 allocates $61.4 million per year over the forward estimates
to the program, including the years after the current agreement expires (p.
Details about the National Partnership on Universal Access
to Early Childhood Education are discussed in the Universal
Access to Preschool Budget Review article. The Northern Territory
Remote Aboriginal Investment—Children and Schooling funding agreement is
briefly discussed in the Indigenous Affairs article.
Schools and Youth package
The 2021–22 Budget also includes a cross-portfolio package, ‘Schools
and Youth—supporting students, teachers and young Australians’ (Budget
Measures: Budget Paper No. 2: 2021–22, pp. 78–80). This budget measure
builds on the 2020–21 measure, Students Support Package, discussed in the 2020–21
Budget Review, and, like that package, includes a diverse range of
Under the Schools and Youth measure, the Government will
provide $77.5 million over four years from 2021–22, and $5.5 million per year
Paper No. 2 states that the cost of the measure will be partially met
from within existing resources of the Department of Education, Skills and
Employment (DESE)(p. 80).
Initiatives discussed below include funding to: improve data
collection; expand the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education
(LANTITE); support organisations to develop educational programs to improve
intercultural understanding; support and recognise young people’s community and
civic engagement; and, provide scholarships for young people to undertake
vocational education and training (VET) qualifications. Also included in the
- $11.9 million over four years, and $3.0 million per year ongoing,
for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and
- $16.6 million in 2021–22 to assist boarding providers with a high
proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to remain
financially sustainable during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Improving data collection
Nationally Consistent Collection of
Data on school students with disability
Under the Schools and Youth package, $20.0 million is
allocated over four years from 2021–22 to continue and improve the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD)
on school students with disability. This initiative aims to ensure the quality
and integrity of data underpinning continuing funding for students with
The NCCD has been used to calculate schools’ Australian
Government funding allocation since 2018. In 2019, the National School
Resourcing Board published the Review of the
Loading for Students with Disability: Final Report, which made eight
recommendations, including recommendations relating to the NCCD. In its response
to the review, the Government agreed with, or agreed with in principle, all
of the recommendations and said:
Responses to all recommendations will be funded through the
Government’s allocation of $20 million from 2017–2021 under the NCCD Continuous
Improvement measure for national projects to address the learning needs of
students with disability, build school capacity and inform continuous
improvement and assurance initiatives (p. 4).
The National School Resourcing Board is also currently
undertaking a review into the regional
schooling resource standards loading, and will provide its final report to
the Minister for Education by 28 May 2021.
Australian Teacher Workforce Data
The budget measure also allocates $5.8 million over four
years from 2021–22 (and $1.5 million per year ongoing) for continued
investment in the Australian
Teacher Workforce Data (ATWD) collection. This initiative aims to help
improve teacher workforce planning and outcomes.
The ATWD is a joint initiative between the Australian and
state and territory governments and is being implemented by the Australian
Institute on Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). It draws
together data from state and territory regulatory authorities, initial
teacher education (ITE) data from DESE, and the ATWD teacher survey. The National
Initial Teacher Education Pipeline: Australian Teacher Workforce Data Report 1,
published in November 2020, was the first of several ATWD reports to be
Literacy and Numeracy Test for
Initial Teacher Education
and Youth package also includes $4.0 million over four years from 2021–22
(and $1.0 million per year ongoing) to continue and expand LANTITE ‘to assist
aspiring students to make informed decisions about their suitability to become
teachers’ (p. 79).
an online assessment for ITE students to assess their personal literacy and
numeracy skills. ITE students are required to demonstrate personal literacy
and numeracy skills in the top 30% of the adult population. LANTITE aims to
ensure teachers are well-equipped for the classroom and to increase public
confidence in the skills of graduating teachers. The test was introduced as a
condition of ITE
course accreditation in September 2015 (Education Council, Communique,
18 September 2015, p. 2). In
2019, 91.7% of candidates met the standard for the literacy component and 90.7%
of candidates met the standard for the numeracy component.
One of the criticisms of LANTITE has been the timing of the
test in the course of students’ ITE degrees. Most states and territories
require ITE students to meet the test standard by graduation. However, this can
mean that students who fail the test can be left unable to graduate, despite
having passed all other requirements of their teaching degree. Some
students have complained that this has left them with ‘tens of thousands of
dollars in HECS debt, but no degree’.
The Education Council considered the LANTITE Scoping Study
(not published) at its meeting in December
2020 and education ministers agreed to provide further flexibility to ITE
From 2023, people who are planning to enrol in an initial
teacher education course will have the opportunity to sit the LANTITE test
before they commence their studies.
In a media
release at the time, then Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, said that
giving students the option to sit the test before starting their degrees would
save time and money and that:
We don’t want to see students getting to the end of their
degree and not being able to graduate or work as a teacher because they haven’t
passed the LANTITE test.
for Education and Youth Alan Tudge launched a review
of initial teacher education in April 2021, to be completed in six months. A
discussion paper is to be released by June 2021, followed by public
Scholarships for young people
Under the Schools
and Youth package (p. 79), $2.9 million is allocated in 2021–22 for the Commonwealth
Scholarships Program for Young Australians to support up to 240
scholarships for young people (aged 15 to 24 years) not in full-time work or
school. Funding is to be redirected from unused places in the Commonwealth
Scholarship Programs for South Australia.
The Commonwealth Scholarships Program for Young Australians
provides scholarships for young people to undertake an eligible
VET qualification in ten nominated regions. The regions are:
- New South Wales—Grafton (including Coffs Harbour) and Gosford
- Northern Territory—Alice Springs
- Queensland—Maryborough and Townsville
- South Australia—Port Pirie
- Western Australia—Wanneroo and Armadale.
Scholarships Program for Young Australians was an initiative under the
to the Joyce review of VET, included in the 2019–20 Budget (see also the 2019–20
Budget Review). Further information is provided in the Skills
Training Budget Review article.
and Youth package includes funding for organisations to deliver programs to
increase cultural understanding and foster social cohesion (p. 79). These are:
- $8.1 million over four years from 2021–22 for Together for
Humanity, an inclusive educational organisation, to deliver a program to
students, teachers and parents, and
- $3.0 million over two years from 2021–22 for High Resolves to deliver a learning
experience to young Australians.
Community and civic engagement
package also includes initiatives to support and recognise young people’s community
and civic engagement (pp. 79–80):
Stakeholder responses to the Budget have predominantly
focussed on changes to early childhood education. In relation to schools, the Australian
Education Union (AEU) criticised the Budget for failing public school
students. The AEU called for government schools to be funded to a minimum of
100% of the Schooling
Resource Standard and for a capital fund for government schools to be
established to help meet rising enrolment growth and infrastructure need.
Schools Australia (ISA) welcomed the additional funding under the Schools
and Youth package. Margery Evans, CEO of ISA, highlighted funding for
initiatives such as Together for Humanity, and funding for boarding school
A number of boarding schools across Australia were
significantly impacted by COVID. The additional funding under the Schools and
Youth program will also assist boarding school providers enrolling Indigenous
students to remain financially sustainable during the COVID-19 recovery period.
It is likely that there will be more
initiatives to come in the cross-portfolio youth space. In July 2019, the
Australian Government established the Youth
Taskforce, which was given the role of developing a National
Youth Policy Framework. The National Youth Policy Framework would aim to
outline how policies and programs help to improve the lives of young people,
and to give young people a voice in policies affecting them.
The framework was due to be completed by December 2020;
however, it has not yet been released. As outlined in response
to a question on notice from Senate Additional Estimates in March 2021, responsibility
for the Youth Portfolio transferred from the Department of Health to DESE on 18
March 2021 and DESE is working to finalise the framework.