A new report revealing that 85 percent of private schools around Australia in 2016 received more public funding than public schools is yet more evidence of the deep inequalities in school funding in Australia.
According to the report, more than 4,400 public schools — over 70 per cent of the sector — received less public funding than at least one similar private school in 2016. Students at a public primary school in regional Victoria, for example, are each $5,500 worse off than than students at an equivalent private school.
Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that these figures showed that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had abandoned Australia’s 2.5 million public school students.
“These findings demonstrate a deep historical inequity for school funding in Australia, which have been exacerbated recently by the Morrison government’s billion-dollar private school special funding deals,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“How can anyone look at these school funding figures and describe the current arrangements as fair? On any reckoning, they are completely unfair. Under current Morrison government funding arrangements, nearly nine in 10 public schools in Australia will not have enough funding to meet the needs of each student by 2023.
“This is why nine out of 10 public school teachers are spending their own money, in many cases thousands of dollars, just to ensure their public school students have basic school supplies. Something has very clearly gone wrong with how the federal government is funding public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.
According to the report, in situations where private schools receive more public funding than similar public schools, the median gap has grown by 76 per cent between 2009 and 2016 to $970 per student. Where public schools are ahead, the median gap has shrunk by 16 per cent, to $1,730 per student.
“It is clear evidence that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has completely abandoned Australia’s 2.5 million public school students. These children deserve the same funding and the same opportunity as all other students,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“The Morrison government’s approach to school funding is not based on any kind of notion of fairness. The vast majority of students attend a public school but with a funding system that does not meet their needs.
“This story highlights the urgent need for public school funding to be brought up to 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard as soon as possible.
“We need a federal government which puts public schools first, which serve two thirds of Australian school students.”