Programme 2.2 Non-government Schools National Support

The Non-government Schools National Support programme also contributes to boosting participation and productivity in Australia, providing funding to support non-government schools to achieve the same outcomes as Programme 2.1. The Government provides the majority of funds for non-government schools, supplemented by state and territory governments and funding from other sources, including school communities.

Schools Assistance Act 2008

Until 31 December 2013, support for non-government schools was delivered through the Schools Assistance Act 2008, under which the Government provided approximately $37 billion for non-government schooling from 2009 to 2013. Funding appropriated under this legislation was used to support the operating and capital costs of non-government primary and secondary schools.

Recurrent grants

The Government provides grants to assist non-government schools with the recurrent costs of school education, allowing them to offer students educational programmes that are consistent with the identified outcomes for school education.

During 2013, $7.71 billion in recurrent assistance was paid on a per student basis to non-government schools.

To support the delivery of educational services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in 2013, $86.3 million was provided for the Indigenous Supplementary Assistance programme, $0.1 million for the Indigenous Funding Guarantee and $2.04 million for increased Indigenous Supplementary Assistance to non-remote, non-government boarding schools.

A remoteness loading was provided to eligible non-government schools to cover the higher cost of delivering services in regional and remote areas. In 2013 this amounted to $37.4 million. Non-government schools also received $5.6 million for the provision of distance education.

Capital Grants Programme

The Government provides grants for new and upgraded capital infrastructure to non-government schools that would otherwise be unable to access sufficient capital resources. The number of schools assisted fluctuates over time as the programme is subject to projects being varied, withdrawn or merged as school circumstances change. Funds returned as a result of withdrawn or varied projects are reallocated to existing and new eligible projects.

In 2013, non-government schools received $133.8 million under the Capital Grants

Short Term Emergency Assistance

Under the Schools Assistance Act 2008, the Government provided funding through the Short Term Emergency Assistance programme to assist non-government schools in the event of an unexpected circumstance causing severe and temporary financial difficulty.

In 2013, $866,500 was provided to one school as short term assistance under this initiative.

From 1 January 2014, funding assistance for non-government schools is provided in accordance with Special Circumstances Funding provisions under the Australian Education Act 2013.

English as a Second Language—New Arrivals

The English as a Second Language—New Arrivals programme provided funding to non-government schools to deliver intensive English instruction to eligible humanitarian and non-humanitarian newly arrived students.

During 2013, grants totalling $6.15 million were paid to non-government schools under the programme.

From 2014, this funding will be delivered through the funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013, which provides extra funding for students who need extra support, including those who have low English proficiency.

School Languages Programme

The Government provided funding of around $15 million under the School Languages Programme in 2013 to non-government education authorities to help improve the learning outcomes of students from Prep to Year 12 who are learning languages other than English. The programme has now ceased and from 2014 this support is being delivered through the funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013.

Literacy, Numeracy and Special Learning Needs Programme

The Literacy, Numeracy and Special Learning Needs Programme provided funding to non-government schools to improve the learning outcomes of educationally disadvantaged students, including students with disability, by contributing funding for additional teaching and learning assistance.

In 2013, grants totalling $45.2 million for students with disability and $180.9 million for educationally disadvantaged students were paid to non-government schools.

The programme has now ceased and from 2014 this support is being delivered through the funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013.

Country Areas Programme

The Country Areas Programme aimed to improve the access of non-government school students in rural and geographically isolated areas to quality education. Funding was paid directly to non-government education authorities in the states and the Northern Territory. While student outcomes were not recorded, education authorities had the flexibility to allocate funds according to identified priorities based on assessment of local need.

In 2013, $6.7 million was provided to eligible non-government schools under the programme.

Funding for this programme under the Schools Assistance Act 2008 ceased on 31 December 2013 and was replaced by the needs-based funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013.

Australian Education Act 2013

The Australian Education Act 2013 sets out the arrangements for recurrent, capital and special circumstances funding for non-government schools from 2014 onwards. Under this legislation, funding for all schools, both government and non-government, is determined on a per student base amount plus extra funding to target disadvantage, such as for students from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, students with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students in regional and remote areas.

The first payments under the Australian Education Act 2013 to approved authorities for non-government schools were made on 6 January 2014, including 50 per cent of their annual entitlement. A total of approximately $4.3 billion had been paid to non-government schools by the end of June 2014.

Performance information

Table 8: Programme 2.2 Non-government Schools National Support performance information

Recurrent grants—non-government
Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of full-time equivalent students funded (enrolment projections) 1,260,000 1,260,011
Capital grants—non-government
Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of schools assisted with capital support 253 234
Enrolment trends—non-government schools
Key performance indicators 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Full-time student enrolments in Australian schools:    
Primary 659,839 659,835
Secondary 609,054 609,055
Trend in the number of Indigenous students at school 28,573 28,571
Apparent retention rate of full-time students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 81% 81.60%
Enrolment trends—combined
Key performance indicators 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Full-time enrolments in Australian schools:    
Primary 2,128,000 2,122,036
Secondary 1,496,000 1,502,569
Number of Indigenous students at school 181,000 182,636