Schools data backs funding claims: union

Katina Curtis
(Australian Associated Press)

Government funding to private schools continues to increase at a much faster rate than to public schools, a new analysis shows.

The examination of the latest data published on the MySchool website, done by schools funding expert Bernie Shepherd for the Australian Education Union, shows that between 2009 and 2015, government money to private schools grew more than twice as quickly.

And in the years since the Gonski money started flowing, the combined spending from commonwealth and state governments has increased nearly three times as much to the independent sector and twice as much to Catholic schools than public ones.

Public schools still received between $1900 and $3600 more per student from governments than private schools.

The union says the latest analysis, based on 2015 figures, adds to its argument the Gonski funding plan needs to continue for at least two more years.

It says the gap between sectors has widened so much private schools now have more resources than public schools despite educating fewer disadvantaged students.

The analysis found that in 2015 the average funding – including government money, fees, investments and parent contributions – was $13,321 per Catholic school student and $13,140 per public student.

Independent school students attracted more than $5000 extra, at an average $18,444.

The six-year funding deal, signed with most states under the federal Labor government, began in 2014 but when the coalition won power it decided a new deal would start in 2018.

AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said that after two years, less than 10 per cent of the promised funding increase had been delivered to schools.

“While this funding has made a difference to disadvantaged students, and has been used to lift results, it is simply not enough to overcome years of flawed, sector-based funding,” she said on releasing the analysis on Wednesday.

Most of the big funding boost that had been planned for 2018-19 would have gone to public schools.

Education ministers are due to meet on Friday for the next round of negotiations on a new funding deal.

However, Fairfax reported a decision may not be made for another two months, with federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham writing to his state counterparts to request another meeting in June.

The nation’s leaders are expected to sign the new funding agreement in late June.

SCHOOL FUNDING PICTURE IN 2015:

All government funding

* Public schools – $12,416 (up 4.6 per cent from 2013)

* Catholic – $10,479 (up 9.8 per cent)

* Independent – $8743 (up 12.1 per cent)

Total funding from all sources

* Public schools – $13,140 (up 18.1 per cent from 2009)

* Catholic $13,321 (up 36.9 per cent)

* Independent – $18,444 (up 34.5 per cent)

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