What is the Quality Schools package and what does it mean for my school?

Download What is the Quality Schools package and what does it mean for my school? fact sheet

The Australian Government is delivering record and growing funding for schools

On 23 June 2017, amendments to the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) successfully passed through the Federal Parliament to give effect to the Australian Government's Quality Schools package.

The Government will deliver a record $310.3 billion in total school recurrent funding from 2018 to 2029. Recurrent funding for schools will grow from a record $17.5 billion in 2017 to $32.4 billion in 2029.

Funding will grow faster than broader economic growth, with total Commonwealth recurrent funding growing at 84.8 per cent to 2029 and funding per student growing at an average of 4.1 per cent each year.

At the national level, funding per student for all sectors will continue to increase in real terms.

While maintaining the historic role of the Australian Government as the majority funder of non-government schools, the new needs-based funding model will see the Commonwealth continue to increase its share of funding for government schools. To 2029:

  • funding for government schools will grow by an average of 102.8 per cent, with total Commonwealth recurrent funding for government schools of $128.8 billion from 2018 to 2029 (from a 2017 base)
  • funding for non-government schools will grow by an average of 73.4 per cent, with total Commonwealth recurrent funding for non-government schools of $181.6 billion from 2018 to 2029 (from a 2017 base).

This funding growth means schools will be able to continue and expand successful programs such as specialist teachers or targeted interventions for children falling behind.

Funding will be consistent, transparent, and needs-based

For the first time, Commonwealth school funding will be truly needs-based. Commonwealth funding will be based on the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) that provides a base amount per student and additional funding for disadvantage as recommended by Mr David Gonski AC's 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling. Students with the same need within the same sector will attract the same support from the Commonwealth, regardless of the state where they live. Students with greater needs will attract higher levels of funding from the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth will contribute a consistent share of the SRS for each school. The Commonwealth's share will increase to 80 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) for non-government schools and 20 per cent for government schools by 2029.

A majority of schools currently attract less than the new Commonwealth shares – to ensure they receive their new share of Commonwealth funding sooner, these schools will transition to the new shares by 2023.

Schools that are currently funded above the new Commonwealth shares will transition to them by 2029.  

States and territories will be required to contribute their share

Alongside the Commonwealth's increased investment, state and territory governments are also required to deliver their share of total public funding. Further information about state funding requirements is available at How are schools funded in Australia?

Indexation will grow faster than real costs

To give education authorities certainty, the Government will honour its 2016 Budget commitment to grow the SRS at 3.56 per cent from 2018 to 2020, which is higher than real cost growth.

From 2021, the SRS will grow at whichever is the higher of three per cent or a floating indexation rate based on economy wide measures of 75 per cent Wage Price Index and 25 per cent Consumer Price Index. The current Treasury projections used to calculate this measure are available in the Australian Government 2018-19 Budget, Budget Paper No. 1, Statement 1: Budget Overview, Table 2. This approach will provide a minimum base and certainty for schools while ensuring that funding reflects real changes in wages and inflation costs.

Accountability and transparency will be strengthened

The Government has established the National School Resourcing Board to provide greater independent oversight of funding arrangements, in line with the recommendations of the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling.

The Board will review elements of the funding model under the Act and the Australian Education Regulation 2013 (the Regulation), and assess compliance of approved authorities with the requirements of the Act.

The Board's first priority was to undertake a review of the socio-economic status (SES) score methodology and current capacity to contribute arrangements for non-government schools. The Board presented their report in June 2018. The Board's future work includes examining the students with disability loading, the needs based funding arrangements under section 78 of the Act, state and territory funding contributions under section 22A of the Act and SRS indexation arrangements.

The Minister for Education and Training will consult with states via the Council of Australian Governments' Education Council, and with national representative bodies for Catholic systemic schools and independent schools, on the work of the Board.

Funding will be tied to reforms

From 2018, the Australian Government is delivering a funding model which is simple, transparent and based on need and which will tie funding to reforms that will boost education outcomes.

Working together, all Australian governments developed the National School Reform Agreement that came into effect from 1 January 2019. The National Agreement is a joint commitment between the Commonwealth, states and territories to lift student outcomes across Australian schools. The overarching aim of the National Agreement is that Australian schooling provides a high quality and equitable education for all students.

The National Agreement has been informed by the findings and recommendations of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, the Independent Review of Regional, Rural and Remote Educationand the final report of the STEM Partnerships Forum.

The National Agreement sets out eight national policy initiatives in areas where national collaboration will have the greatest impact.

Direct Income Measure of Capacity to Contribute

The Government strongly supports parents' right to choose the best school for their child and provides funding for each child, regardless of the school system their parents choose. Where parents choose non-government schools, taxpayer funding is discounted by the school community's capacity to contribute.

The Government is working towards implementation of a new direct income measure of capacity to contribute from 2020, as recommended by the National School Resourcing Board. This will ensure the measure is the fairest most accurate and transparent available.

This new more targeted measure, in combination with the broader Quality Schools package is anticipated to deliver record funding levels.

 

Avg. annual per student increase 2018-2029 (from 2017 base)

2018 per student funding ($)

2029 per student funding ($)

2018-2029 per student increases (from 2017 base) ($)

Avg. 2018 CW share of needs based funding

Government

4.8%

$2,913

$4,765

$2,041

17.5%

Catholic

3.8%

$9,269

$13,852

$4,998

78.5%

Independent

3.8%

$7,736

$11,463

$4,128

74.7%

Further details on the impact for each state and territory is detailed in: What is the impact of funding arrangements for each state and territory?

Through the Quality Schools package and other announced changes the Australian Government is moving to a consistent, needs-based school funding model that reflects the true needs of all Australian students.