Damning evidence of massive private school overfunding

The full extent of the inequity in Australia’s school funding system has been exposed, with internal Department of Education figures showing a massive overfunding of private schools.

The figures are included in a departmental briefing prepared for witnesses appearing before Senate Estimates, publicly released through freedom of information.

The briefing states that 1,152 private schools will be overfunded to the tune of $3.2 billion over and above their public funding entitlement under the Schooling Resource Standard.

This overfunding contributes to the overall inequity of school funding which sees more than 98 per cent of private schools funded by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments above the SRS and over 98 per cent of public schools funded below the SRS, the education funding standard agreed to by all Australian governments in 2012.

The following comments are attributable to Correna Haythorpe, Australian Education Union Federal President:

We cannot continue to accept the deep inequity in school funding in this country, where private schools are overfunded by billions, and public schools are underfunded by billions.

It is public schools that enrol the vast majority of Australian students, and it is public schools that enrol disproportionately higher rates of students with additional needs, students that experience disadvantage and students with disability.

If the Commonwealth and state and territory governments can afford to overfund private schools, they can afford to fully fund public schools.

If all Australian public schools had 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard then students from all backgrounds would benefit from smaller class sizes, additional teachers and more resources.

The Albanese Government must deliver on their election promise and deliver the pathway to full and fair funding for public schools as soon as possible.

Correna Haythorpe is available for interview.

The Senate Estimates briefing can be accessed through the Deparment of Education's FOI disclosure log, see page 186.

Media contact: Alys Gagnon, 0438 379 977, [email protected]

22 June 2023