Surge in government spending on private schools fails millions of public school kids


The Greens say Australian governments are continuing to fail millions of public school students with new data showing that government funding to fee-charging private schools is growing at a faster rate than public schools.

The Productivity Commission's latest Report on Government Services shows that real per student government spending on private schools grew by 3.7% a year in the decade to 2022 – a growth rate 60% higher than public schools, which only saw a 2.3% annual increase.

The report also showed that 31.4% of public school students had low Socio-Educational Advantage (SEA) status, compared to only 13.2% of students in private schools.

Only 1.3% of public schools in Australia receive 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), while 98% of private schools are overfunded. The SRS is the funding a school requires to get 80% of its students above the minimum NAPLAN standard.

Comments attributable to Greens spokesperson on Primary & Secondary Education, Senator Penny Allman-Payne:

“The school funding model is catastrophically broken.

“Australia’s school system is meant to be a great driver of equity and upward mobility, but it’s increasingly just another way the private sector extracts public money to enrich a privileged few.

“The promise of Gonski was a needs-based, sector-blind funding model that would direct spending to the kids that needed it most.

“But it’s clear the opposite has happened. The private sector is favoured above the public system, and poorer, regional and remote and First Nations kids are the ones who suffer.

“It is now beyond debate that public schools need to be funded to 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard as a matter of urgency.

“Labor says it will introduce legislation to lock in new school funding deals, which is likely to put Greens in the balance of power on any future bills.

“We’ll use our numbers in the Senate to fight for 100% SRS funding to all public schools by January 2025, an end to the public overfunding of wealthy private schools and ongoing capital investment in public schools from the Commonwealth.”