NSW Budget provides welcome support for Independent schools

The Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AISNSW) acknowledges the contribution the NSW Government has made to the non-government schools sector in the 2017-18 NSW State Budget.

Of particular note is the increased funding to support the continuation of the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan, funding to support the education of students with disability in independent special schools, replacing the Supervisor Subsidy, and an increase in funding for the development of new non-government school infrastructure.

The NSW 2017-18 Budget papers state that an additional 164,000 students are expected to enrol in government schools by 2031. This increase is supported by a 2017 report prepared by highly-regarded social demographers, McCrindle, which predicts that more than 50,000 additional students will be enrolled in NSW independent schools over the same period to 2031.

The above enrolment figures are in keeping with the trends in NSW schools in the period 2015 to 2017, reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Schools Australia, 2017. During this period, enrolments in government schools increased by 19,062 students, in independent schools by almost 8,000 students, and declined by 132 students in Catholic systemic schools.

The additional $32m allocated in the budget for non-government schools for future educational infrastructure is earmarked to help fund new classrooms and other facilities required to accommodate these new students.

As parents of independent school students currently contribute more than 90 per cent of the costs of schooling infrastructure, this additional funding will be welcomed. Many independent schools in NSW are currently planning major new infrastructure projects to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for new enrolments, including a significant number located in lower socio-economic areas.

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