of the inquiry
On 12 December 2013, the Senate established the Select Committee on
School Funding. The initial reporting date was 13 May 2014. On 27 March 2014,
the Senate agreed to an extension of time to report until 26 June 2014.
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee advertised the inquiry on its website and in The
Australian, and invited submissions from interested organisations and
individuals. The committee received 445 submissions, as listed in Appendix 1.
The committee also received approximately 3000 submissions through an
electronic form on the Australian Education Union website. These submissions
included specific information about schools and represented the views of
individual parents, teachers, and principals.
A private briefing was held with the Commonwealth Department of
Education on 18 February 2014. On 13 March 2014 the committee agreed to
make public the transcript from this briefing.
The committee held public hearings in all states (with the exception the
Northern Territory) in order to facilitate the gathering of evidence from as
many state-based organisations and individuals as possible. A full list of
public hearings and witnesses who gave evidence is included in Appendix 2.
It was the committee's hope that by travelling to each state, it would allow
state government education departments to participate in the committee's
inquiry. However, many state and territory governments declined to participate
in the inquiry. South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory were the
only state and territory governments which did not decline the invitation to
appear at public hearings.
Notes on references
References to submissions in this report are to individual submissions
received by the committee and published on the committee's website. References
to the committee Hansards are to the official transcripts.
Structure of the report
The committee was established to inquire into 'the development and
implementation of national school funding arrangements and school reform' with
a particular reference to:
the implementation of needs-based funding arrangements;
how funding arrangements will meet the needs of all schools and
the Government's proposed changes to the Australian Education
the economic impacts of school education policy;
the Government's consideration of advice, from various sources,
on education policy; and
any related matters.
The report's initial chapters provide background details, setting the
context for the inquiry:
Chapters 2 and 3 provide an historical overview and detailed
information on schools, students numbers and school funding in Australia;
Chapter 4 considers the economic impacts of school education
The report then outlines the previous government's reforms to school
funding, including the Australian Education Act 2013 in Chapter 5.
Analysis on the changes to school funding arrangements of the current government
is contained in Chapter 6.
Chapter 7 provides a comparative assessment of the funding arrangements
under the previous government and those introduced under the Students First
policy of the current government. The effect of the changes on students with
specific education needs, accountability and transparency, equity of educational
opportunity, and implementation of school reforms relating to teaching and
learning quality are examined in Chapter 8. Finally, the committee makes a
series of recommendations to improve school funding arrangements in Chapter 9.
The committee thanks the many organisations and individuals that made
written submissions, and those who gave evidence at the public hearings.
In particular, the committee thanks the staff and students of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary School and the Darlington Primary School in Adelaide,
who hosted the committee’s site visits and public hearings on 30 April.
From the left: Senator Penny Wright (Deputy Chair), Mr
Stephen Palethorpe (Committee Secretary), Senator the Hon Jacinta
Collins (Chair), and Senator Deborah O'Neill. The committee conducted a public
hearing and site visit at the Darlington Primary School, Adelaide on 30 April
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page