On 23 June 2017, amendments to the Australian Education Act 2013 passed through Parliament to give effect to the Australian Government's Quality Schools package. The Australian Government will deliver around $250 billion in total school recurrent funding from 2018 to 2027.
The Quality Schools reforms will deliver Commonwealth schools funding that is needs-based, transparent and equitable so students with the same need in the same sector will attract the same level of support from the Commonwealth.
As the majority funder of non-government schools, the Government is committed to supporting parental choice and diversity in the schooling system.
Commonwealth funding to non-government schools takes into account the capacity of parents and school communities to contribute to their school's operating costs, for example the ability of parents to pay school fees. This is called the ‘capacity to contribute’ assessment and is based on the SES score of the school.
SES scores provide a relative ranking of all non-government schools based on the income, education and occupation characteristics of the areas in which students at each school reside. This information is used to generate a number representing the socio-economic status of one student cohort relative to other cohorts, with 100 being the Australian ‘average’ SES score.
The Board is calling for written submissions to inform their consideration of the SES score methodology and seeks comments on issues and concerns, and potential alternatives or improvements, to the ‘capacity to contribute’ assessment.
The submission process is open to all interested parties. The Board invites you to put forward your ideas and provide the evidence and insights that underpin them.
This issues paper is focussed on three key questions. Submissions are not limited to these questions alone and may address any issue relating to the appropriateness of the current SES score methodology and any suggested alternatives.
To inform the work of the Board, the Department of Education and Training commissioned Victoria University’s Centre for International Research on Education Systems to undertake a desktop review of development activities since the SES score was conceived in 1996 and to summarise known stakeholder issues and views on the SES score methodology.
The report can be accessed here