• publications_03
  • Recent trends in funding for Catholic and government schools

    In recent years government funding for Catholic schools has grown faster than government funding for government schools. In 2009, for example, Catholic schools in Victoria received 21% less government funding than government schools but in 2014 this differential had narrowed to 9%.

    This has occurred for two main reasons, which are widely ignored or overlooked by those who criticise this pattern of funding growth.

    First, more students with additional needs are enrolling in Catholic schools. From 2009 to 2013, for example, in Victoria the number of students with disability grew by 37% in Catholic schools but only 10% in government schools. Similarly, the number of Indigenous students grew by 59% in Catholic schools in Victoria but only 27% in government schools.

    Under the needs-based funding models used by governments, this means that Catholic schools attract a higher rate of funding growth. It is entirely appropriate that strong growth in enrolments of these students in Catholic schools has brought additional government funding to Catholic schools.

     Increases students extra needs 

    The second reason is that some state governments have not pulled their weight in funding schooling. This mostly impacts government schools because they receive the vast majority of their funding from state governments. In Victoria, for example, from 2009 to 2014, state government funding for government schools decreased by 1.4% in per-student terms. Meanwhile, over that period, Australian Government funding for government schools in Victoria increased by 17.9%.

    The Victorian Government is significantly increasing funding for government schools and this increase is welcome. It is the state governments that have primary funding responsibility for government schools – not the Australian Government. Those who criticise how the Australian Government funds schools, in isolation of state government funding, conveniently overlook this simple fact.

     Government funding split