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Government urged not to seek quick fixes in school funding changes

Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) today urged the Australian Government not to succumb to political pressure by seeking a ‘quick fix’ to funding arrangements for non-government schools.

ISV Chief Executive, Ms Michelle Green, was commenting on the release of the report by the
National School Resourcing Board (NSRB), which recommended significant changes to the
way funding is calculated.

‘Any government decision to implement the recommendations should be based on the needs
of students, rather than appeasing one non-government school sector,’ Ms Green said.

‘The interests of students are best met by good policy, not a quick fix based on partisan
political calculations.’

The NSRB recommended that Australian Government funding for non-government schools
should be calculated based on parents’ tax returns.

Ms Green welcomed the NSRB’s decision to reject pressure to assess government funding
based on the level of fees schools charge.

She welcomed the board’s acknowledgement that changes be implemented only after further
analysis and consultation.

‘Even so, its suggestion the changes could be implemented from 2020 appear to be
optimistic,’ Ms Green said.

‘We are confident the NSRB has gone about its work with a degree of independent rigour,
rather than working towards a preconceived outcome. As a result, its report won’t please

‘It’s now up to the government to apply similar independent rigour as it considers whether to
implement the recommendations.’

She welcomed Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s commitment to consult
representatives of non-government schools before responding to the NSRB’s report.

‘The aim should be to ensure any new funding method is transparent and based on student
need, rather than being designed to unfairly favour the administrators of one school sector.’

Ms Green said that the government’s challenge was to ensure it can overcome substantial
practical impediments in implementing any new funding model.

Among other things, this will require:

  • Rigorous assessment, testing and validation of any new funding model – before it is
  • Pending introduction of any new model, reassurance to parents and schools that the
    current model will be retained in the interim and transition arrangements are introduced
    to ensure parents and schools are not subjected to disruptive uncertainty, which will
    have a negative impact on students.
  • Firm guarantees – not vague assurances – that parents’ private tax information is
    protected and not subjected to intrusion by government officials.