The urgent need for fairer funding arrangements for public schools has been highlighted by new figures which show large resource gaps between public and private schools in the Robertson electorate.
According to an Australian Education Union (AEU) analysis of the latest ACARA ‘My School’ data, independent schools in Robertson receive 34.8% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools while Catholic schools in Robertson receive 2.7% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools.
In real terms this means there is an income gap of $336 per student between public schools and Catholic schools in Robertson, and a gap of $4414 between public schools and independent schools in the electorate.
Net Recurrent Income is income received by a school that is available for expenditure relating to the ongoing operating costs of schools (e.g. teaching and non-teaching staff salaries, school operating costs).
In terms of the amount of federal and state government recurrent funding received, some Catholic and independent primary schools in Robertson receive substantially more per student than similarly socio-educational advantaged (ICSEA)public schools in the electorate. For example, The Coast Christian School(ICSEA score of 1095) received $10,399 per student, more than 11 individual government primary schools in Robertson and $773 more per student than Umina Beach Public School(ICSEA 986) which received $9,626 in government funds in 2017.
NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said recently-released My School data shows that public schools in NSW were amongst the lowest-funded in the country.
“When private and Catholic schools in Robertson are receiving that much more funding than public schools you know how unfair the system has become,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Despite growing enrolments in public schools in Robertson compared to private schools, the Morrison Government has handed billions of dollars of extra funding to private schools while cutting $14 billion from public school funding.”
“The only way to start levelling the playing field is to restore the federal funding that public schools should have received this year and last year. Thankfully, Labor has made a commitment to do exactly that if it is elected to government in the federal election, and will boost funding to public schools in Robertson by additional $18.8 million in the first three years. This works out to over $550,000 for every school,” Mr Mulheron said.
An AEU analysis of the My School data also revealed:
· Public schools in Robertson educate 72.5% of students but receive 69.9% of Total Net Recurrent Income
· Total Net Recurrent Income per student is significantly higher in Catholic schools inRobertson ($13,024 per student) and in independent schools in Robertson ($17,102 per student) than in public schools ($12,668 per student).
· This means that there is a gap in Total Net Recurrent Income of $336 per student between public schools and Catholic schools in Robertsonand a gap of $4414 per student between public schools and independent schools in Robertson
· In percentage terms this gap means that Catholic schools in Robertsonreceive 2.7% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools and independent schools in Robertsonreceive 34.8% more income per student
· In 2017 independent schools in Robertson had higher capital expenditure than public schools. Independent schools spent $992 per student, $356 per student more than the $539 per student spent by public schools.
· Over the three years from 2015-2017 capital expenditure has been significantly higher in independent schools in Robertson than it has in public schools. Public schools spent $1,465 per student on capital works over three years, whilst independent schools spent more than twice as much, $3,416 per student
Mr Mulheron said the figures showed how important it was to restore the $14 billion that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had cut from public schools.
“Without that investment the resources gaps between public and private schools inRobertson are only going to increase,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Public schools in Robertson educate the vast majority of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and yet they are operating with thousands of dollars less per student than private schools.”
“These figures don’t even take into account the $4.6 billion Mr Morrison handed to private schools last year,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Public schools are also the fastest-growing schools in Robertson and yet the Commonwealth has stopped providing any funding for capital works.
“Because they get so much recurrent funding, Independent schools able to spend up to five times as much on buildings and facilities as public schools,” Mr Mulheron said.
“If this is the Morrison Government’s idea of a fair go for public schools, then the Morrison Government needs to go.”