Category Archives: Australian School Funding

Australian School Funding and Finance (Part 2)

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Now that we have gone over who is responsible for the Australian schools and how they are funded. If you missed that blog you can visit Australian School Funding and Finance (Part 1) again.

Next, we will go over this in some numbers at a high level, so we will have a better understanding of funding amount and source. I have compiled the recurrent income for all Australian schools for the year of 2016, then further broken it down to government and non-government schools. I have broken down basically alone the line of major funding sources for the school, also added the capital spending coming out of the recurrent income as well. One thing to note is that state and territories also spend additional funds on capital projects for both public and private schools, these are things like complete new school, additional classrooms and other capital improvements.

 Number of SchoolsNumber Of StudentsTotal Gross IncomeFederal GovState GovFee ChargedOther Private SourceIncome allocated for capital project from 2014 to 2016
All Schools94803818362$57.8 Billion$16.3 Billion$29.5 Billion$10.1 Billion$1.8 Billion$2.8 Billion
Per School403$15131$4275$7728$2657$471$734
Government School66842488900$34.2 Billion$6.1 Billion$26.3 Billion$1 Billion$772 Million$140 Million
Per School (Government)371$13744$2452$10566$414$310$56
Non-Government School27961329463$23.6 Billion$10.2 Billion$3.2 Billion$9.1 Billion$1.03 Billion$2.66 Billion
Per School (Non-Government)475$17729$7685$2416$6855$772$2003

There are some very interesting data for government school average $13,744 per student with 18 per cent of that coming from the federal government, 77 per cent from state governments and 5 per cent from private sources. The private schools average $17,729 per student with 43 per cent of the income from the federal government, 14 per cent from state governments and 43 per cent from private sources. As you can see 57 per cent of private schools recurrent funding coming from public sources, the majority of the private schools would not be able to operate at all without public funds.

I will also do another follow up to analyse the additional capital funding various of state and territory governments are spending on the capital projects where it is possible to break down on how much of it is spent on public or private schools. Once the additional capital spending is taken into account there is not likely big difference in terms of per-student spending between private and public schools. However, there is a large difference in what each school receives, for example, an inner-city primary school in the Sydney north shore area may get less than ten thousand per student, but another school in remote area NSW can receive five or six times that amount. This is also something I am interested to further exploit to found out how the funding is distributed and where they go to as well.

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Australian School Funding and Finance (Part 1)

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As someone who has a great interest in education, particularly public education. School funding and finance is one topic you cannot avoid to be involved with. How the funding is distributed also reflects how the Australian political landscape move and shifts as well. It also gives the public an insight into the priority of funding and underlying political philosophy as well. How the funding works is also a practical maze as well with different formulas and multiple sources as well.

To start with this topic first I need to go over the composition and makeup of the Australia schooling system. Australian primary and secondary schools are run by either the public or private sector. Public schools in Australia is run and operated by each State and territories, not the federal government. The private schools are divided into two categories, independent and Catholic schools. School funding also derives from different sources that being federal government and state government grant, plus private sources. Within the private sources, there is also a difference in the type of private funding sources, it is made up fee, charges, parental contribution and other private sources.

On top of the what listed already, state and territories also fund capital project outside the school’s recurrent income, this includes both public and private schools. Public school’s capital projects are pretty much exclusively funded by this. Private school’s capital projects are funded in a mix of private and public funds.

As you can see already there are a lot of complexities in how the Australian schools are funded and where those funds are coming from. Typically the public schools derive most of their funding from federal and state government and with the private schools it is as straightforward, some get most of their funding from private sources where the others actually mostly funded by the public.

I will try to go into more detail and provide more data on this topic in the follow-up blog posts.

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