Independent Schools and Government Funding
The Federal Coalition Government would do well to consider the extraordinary financial commitment that Haileybury parents make to the education of their children as it considers the recommendations of the National School Resourcing Board (NSRB), which has reviewed the national school funding model.
Schools such as Haileybury could potentially lose a significant proportion (up to 50 per cent) of their government funding if the NSRB’s recommendations relating to the socioeconomic status (SES) model of funding are accepted by the Federal Coalition Government.
The Catholic sector has waged a campaign to have the SES funding model, in place since 2001, changed. This campaign included targeted anti-government ‘robo-calling’ in recent byelections. The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) claims that it wants a transparent funding model. There is some irony in this when the $2.1 billion in funds delivered to the CECV last year were passed on to the Catholic schools in an opaque manner which has been criticised by the Victorian Auditor General.
At the moment there is a minimum funding rate for all non-government schools of 20 per cent of the recurrent annual cost of educating a student. In its submission to the NSRB, the CECV suggested that even this amount might be reduced and went on to argue: “This could be reduced if necessary. Catholic education does not believe that this rate should be zero. One reason is that government requirements for schools to participate in national testing and data collections (e.g. NAPLAN and the ACARA MySchool data collections) impose compliance costs on schools—so they should be compensated for this.”
In other words, the Catholic sector should receive an increase on its $2.1 billion but hard-working families contributing to the education of their children in some independent schools should receive ‘compliance costs’!
We do not dispute that many Catholic schools do an excellent job of providing education to young people with committed teachers and they deserve to be appropriately funded. This should not, however, come at the expense of independent schools such as Haileybury.
Federal Coalition governments for the past 30 years have promoted their commitment to ‘school choice’ as an important component of their philosophy and commitment to all non-government schools—Catholic and independent.
It is particularly important at this time that Haileybury families remind their Federal Coalition representatives of this commitment and of the commitment that was made less than a year ago by Canberra to maintain the current funding model. If the Government decides instead to implement the NSRB's recommendations, substantive fee increases at Haileybury and other affected schools are inevitable.
Congratulations to the Haileybury International School, Tianjin Year 12 graduates who have received their Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATARs) following the completion of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) on the Northern Hemisphere Timetable (NHT). The results are covered in the China section of Insight but the highlight was to have 20 per cent of all students with an ATAR of 90 or above. A wonderful achievement for some hard-working graduates.
Most of the students will now come out to Australia for post-School study. I have no doubt that they will make a strong contribution in the future to the bilateral Australia-China relationship. It is wonderful to be a part of a School community that can build relationships across national boundaries for the benefit of all.
The introduction of the NHT has also benefitted Haileybury Melbourne students with excellent results from the 28 Year 12s who completed Further Mathematics Units 3 and 4 with a June exam. They achieved a remarkable average Study Score of 42—and 80 per cent obtained a score at 40 or above.
CEO | Principal