More than 1,000 private schools across Australia will be overfunded by billions of dollars, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The internal Department of Education figures, included in a departmental briefing prepared for witnesses appearing before Senate Estimates, show 1,152 private schools will net $3.2bn over and above their public funding entitlement under the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS).
Correna Haythorpe, Australian Education Union federal president, said the overfunding contributes to the overall inequity of school funding.
“More than 98 per cent of private schools are funded by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments above the SRS, and over 98 per cent of public schools are funded below the SRS – the education funding standard agreed to by all Australian governments in 2012,” Haythorpe said.
“We cannot continue to accept the deep inequity in school funding in this country, where private schools are overfunded by billions, and public schools are underfunded by billions.”
Haythorpe said the unfairness of the overfunding is further illustrated by the fact public schools enrol the vast majority of Australian students and have disproportionately higher rates of students with additional needs, disadvantage and disability.
“If the Commonwealth and state and territory governments can afford to overfund private schools, they can afford to fully fund public schools. If all Australian public schools had 100 per cent of the SRS, then students from all backgrounds would benefit from smaller class sizes, additional teachers and more resources,” she said.
“The Albanese Government must deliver on their election promise and deliver the pathway to full and fair funding for public schools as soon as possible.”
The original version of this article appeared as a media release from the Australian Education Union.