Accessing existing funding models for schooling in Australia
A myriad of factors interact to determine the performance of schooling systems. Among these factors is government funding. There are two aspects to funding. One is the overall level of funding. The second is the means and mechanisms by which it is allocated across and within schools – that is, funding model design.
Adequate, appropriately allocated funding underwrites the capacity of school systems to deliver high quality education programs. Well crafted funding models can support – and indeed shape – the system toward optimal operation. At the same time, poorly designed funding models can compromise the education system’s capacity to deliver high quality education, particularly to students with greatest need (such as students from an indigenous background, students in remote locations and students from a low SES background)
Currently across Australia schools are funded under 18 different models, with overlapping programs resulting in poorly co-ordinated and haphazard spending with little assessment of effectiveness. This report analyses funding arrangements for the Review of Funding for Schooling, chaired by David Gonski, Chancellor of the University of NSW which has been tasked by the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to provide recommendations on future funding arrangements for schooling for the period beyond 2013. It is one of four research reports commissioned by the Review Panel seeking feedback from the Australian public.
This report is structured as follows:
- Section 2 provides an overview of schooling in Australia – including its structure and delivery – as background and context to the assessment of current funding models
- Section 3 examines the relationship between funding model design and educational outcomes
- Section 4 details the funding model assessment framework that has been developed specifically for this study
- Section 5 describes the key characteristics of the various funding models for schooling in Australia and consolidates them into several broad types for the purpose of the assessment
- Section 6 presents the findings of the funding model assessment, incorporating examples of funding models that are particularly strong or limited in relation to each principle
- Section 7 identifies some key lessons for future funding architecture that can be drawn from the assessment.