Private schools continue to benefit from special deal

New details have emerged confirming the NSW Government has been spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars helping private schools pay off loans as part of a subsidy scheme that was supposed to have been shut down more than a decade ago.

Details obtained by Federation under NSW freedom of information laws and covered recently by the Sydney Morning Herald show those benefiting in recent years include some of the state’s wealthiest private schools.

Schools such as Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore), the King’s School, Scots College, Ravenswood, Trinity Grammar and Wenona — already spending unprecedented amounts on luxury facilities — have continued to benefit from a scheme that was supposed to have closed to all private schools in 2008 and in some cases will continue to benefit until 2031.

The subsidies come in addition to NSW private schools already receiving $500 million over the next four years in capital works funding from the Berejiklian Government and at a time when capital funding for private schools has increased tenfold from $11.7 million a year in 2014/15 to $125 million a year on average now.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the scheme was another example of governments deliberately favouring private schools at the expense of our public schools.

“Again, we see the Berejiklian Government prioritising the needs of private schools while, according to Infrastructure NSW, public schools are anticipating enrolments to increase from 800,000 to almost 1 million in the next 20 years.”

“There is no plan to ensure NSW public schools are fully resourced to meet the growing needs of students.”

“NSW public school students and their parents deserve better. It is public school funding and infrastructure that must be a priority, not special deals and private school cafes, orchestra pits and luxurious privilege.”

“It’s time the Berejiklian Government ended these special deals and focussed on the needs of all students, rather than just a few in privileged private schools.”

Public schools urgently require more capital investment

Public school enrolments are at an all-time high, a reflection of the confidence and trust the community has in public education.

Due to a chronic lack of government investment in permanent classrooms, demountable classrooms have increased 45 per cent between 2014 and 2020.

The NSW Government’s School Assets Strategic Plan notes that less than one quarter of the additional learning spaces required to accommodate student growth to 2036 are currently funded.

The Morrison Government continues to ignore the needs of public schools and has committed an additional $1.9 billion in capital works funding to private schools over the next decade while giving zero capital funding to public schools.