Boom in enrolments unmatched by funding

A Productivity Commission report shows total government funding to NSW private schools increased by 32 per cent while equivalent funding for public schools increased by only 11.8 per cent between 2008-09 and 2017-18; almost three times as much.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said it was unacceptable that such increases in funding go to the non-government sector when 99 per cent of public schools nationally continue to be funded at less than the School Resource Standard (SRS).

He condemned the appalling levels of funding the Morrison Government is directing to public schools in NSW.

“This is a question of fairness and equity. Scott Morrison has turned his back on the majority of school children in this state,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

Also, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows continuing strong growth in public school enrolments and exposes the ideologically driven school funding policies of state and Federal governments.

The Schools Australia 2019 report shows student enrolments at NSW public schools grew by 7651 students in 2019. Over the past five years enrolments at NSW public schools have increased by 33,694 students.

“While enrolments in public schools in NSW are booming and parents are showing enormous support for their local public schools, Mr Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan are failing in their responsibility to fund public schools,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“Our children deserve better. The case for a needs-based funding system for education has never been stronger. And yet the Liberals and the Nationals continue to ignore the need for fair funding for our public schools.”

The figures coincide with the findings of a research paper by the Save Our Schools (SOS) lobby that shows that Commonwealth and state funding increases massively favoured private schools over public schools between 2009-10 and 2017-18.

Government funding for private schools increased by $1779 per student, adjusted for inflation, while funding for public schools was cut by $49 per student. Also, government funding of private schools increased by 18.9 per cent while funding for public schools was cut by 0.4 per cent.

SOS National Convenor Trevor Cobbold said the chronic underfunding of public schools threatens huge costs to individuals, society and the national economy.

“It means continuing failure to address disadvantage in education,” Mr Cobbold said. “More than 80 per cent of disadvantaged students are enrolled in public schools and more than 90 per cent of disadvantaged schools are public schools.”