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Funding certainty for independent schools

Queensland independent schools and their families have been assured of their federal funding entitlements for 2019.

The Australian Government has announced an extra $170.8 million in 2019 as an interim support measure for non-government schools while work is undertaken to validate and test a new method of calculating non-government school funding from 2020.

According to the media statement released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, future Commonwealth funding for non-government schools would be linked to parental income from 2020, replacing the current method of using area-based socio-economic status (SES) scores.

The government will provide an additional $3.2 billion to support non-government schools transition to the new funding arrangements between 2020 to 2029 . In addition, a  $1.2 billion fund will be established to support non-government schools facing challenges and hardship, such as schools in drought-affected areas.

According to a media statement issued by the peak body representing independent schools in Queensland, Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ), the funding package would now enable “Queensland independent schools to make time-critical decisions about 2019 school arrangements”.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the 10-year phased introduction of a new model for calculating government funding for non-government schools provided the foundation for future Australian Government funding for independent schools.

Mr Robertson said the new funding package gave schools more time to transition to their funding entitlements.

“Schools that are transitioning up to their Commonwealth share of funding will do so by 2023, while those that are coming down will have until 2029. This will give those schools and their communities more time to adjust, which will ensure their sustainability. These transition arrangements will also be supported by an independent school sector support fund,” he said.

“ISQ thanks new Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan for his open and constructive approach to resolving future school funding arrangements for non-government schools.”

Mr Robertson said ISQ would work closely with the Australian Government and its national representative body, the Independent Schools Council of Australia, on the technical detail of the new model.

“A number of issues need to be ironed out before the model can be fully implemented. These include accurately matching parental income data, particularly for regional and boarding families, to ensure schools are not unintentionally disadvantaged,” he said.

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