Special circumstances funding provides financial assistance to eligible non-government schools when unexpected circumstances or events cause severe and temporary financial difficultly.
Assistance under special circumstances funding provides funding to eligible schools that have exhausted all other sources of financial assistance. Eligible schools are required to be capable of resuming operations in a manner satisfactory to the Department of Education within two years of the financial assistance being provided.
Special circumstances funding is managed through the Choice and Affordability Fund (CAF). For information visit: What is the Choice and Affordability Fund?
How has special circumstances funding assisted schools?
School hygiene assistance fund
On 14 May 2020, the then Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced that the Australian Government would provide $10 million of special circumstances funding to improve COVID-19 hygiene measures in non-government schools that planned to have 50 per cent of their students back in the classroom by 1 June 2020. Funding assisted schools to cover the cost of hygiene items; including soap, hand sanitiser and classroom cleaning products to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The payments made under the fund were calculated automatically taking into account school size and the response to the early access to recurrent funding process that closed on 2 May 2020.
This additional funding complemented a range of initiatives that were available to support non-government schools in their response to COVID-19.
Payments for eligible schools were made to state and territory treasuries in June 2020.
2019-20 Drought Relief
On 7 November 2019, the then Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced that the Australian Government will provide $10 million in special circumstances funding for non-government schools impacted by ongoing drought conditions in 2019-20. Subsequently, the amount of funding was increased by $10 million, bringing the total amount of funding to $20 million.
The funding round targeted eligible schools with students from 128 local government areas as at November 2019. This funding complemented a range of initiatives in a package announced by the Australian Government for drought affected farmers, small businesses and rural towns.
The funding was fully expended with payments made to eligible schools in February 2020.
2019 Queensland floods
On 26 March 2019, the then Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced that the Australian Government would provide up to $4 million in special circumstances funding for non-government schools impacted by floods in 2019 across parts of northern Queensland.
The funding round targeted schools with students from the 15 local government areas eligible for Disaster Assistance (Primary Producer) Loans in response to damage caused by the 25 January 2019 far north Queensland monsoon trough.
On 6 June 2019, Minister Tehan announced that funding support was approved for the following 14 school approved authorities:
- ASSG School Incorporated
- Anglican Schools Queensland
- Blackheath and Thornburgh College
- Board of Trustees of the Ipswich Grammar School
- Calvary Temple Christian Colleges Limited
- Gulf Christian College Limited
- Nambour Christian College Limited
- Seventh-day Adventist Schools (Northern Australia) Limited
- Silver Lining Foundation Australia Limited
- St Margaret's School Council Limited
- Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC)
- Tec-NQ Limited
- Townsville Christian College Limited
- Townsville Christian Education Association Limited
Affected schools across Queensland provided ongoing support to students, their families and teachers. The cost of this assistance adversely affected many schools' finances. Special circumstances funding helped these schools to maintain their financial viability and assisted them to stay open.
Payments were made to approved authorities in June 2019.