MECS Blog

The Guts of Gonski 2.0 School Funding

The Guts of Gonski 2.0 School Funding

Thursday, 3 August 2017  | Gerry - Administration Manager
You will no doubt have heard of a new model of school funding now commonly being referred to as Gonski 2.0. When it was passed into law, Martin, former MECS Principal, now CEO of the Australian Association of Christian Schools said, “We applaud the implementation of what is now a consistent and fair funding arrangement for all sectors – founded on the basic Christian principle of ‘according to need’.” Martin had been particularly active in lobbying for a new fair funding model on behalf of Christian schools.

The details of what this new funding arrangement means for us at MECS and Ranges TEC are now available and so I hope to be able to give you some insight into the new model. The system starts with what is called the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). This is the amount of money said to be needed to provide good quality schooling for a typical student in a standard setting.

The SRS amounts for 2017 had been calculated on an analysis done in 2013. Our first change is that the SRS for 2018 has been recalculated based on more current data. See the table below for a comparison of the old and new SRS amounts. After 2018, the SRS amount will be indexed for inflation by around 3.5% annually.

2017    
Primary SRS       $10,310
Secondary SRS  $13,559
2018
Primary SRS        $10,953
Secondary SRS    $13,764

You need to know that we do not receive all of this SRS for each of our students. Right now we receive 70% of SRS per student (only government schools receive 100%). From 2023 on we will receive 80% of SRS per student. The gradual change from 70% to 80% (the maximum) is referred to as transition (different schools have different transition paths).

Remember I said that the SRS is the starting point. Additional amounts of funding are provided for things such as isolation, indigenous students, students from a non-English speaking background, small size of school, and students with disabilities. The main aspect to consider for MECS / Ranges TEC is the funding for students with disabilities.
From 2014 – 2017 funding for students with disabilities was based on the number of these students reported, according to strict criteria, in the census of students which happens in August each year. The big change in the new model is a more comprehensive approach to funding students with disabilities. From 2018, funding will be based on a national data collection process. This data collection requires us to report on the number of students that have a disability that impacts their learning. There are four categories for supporting the needs of the student with a disability. These are: 1. Quality differentiated teaching practice; 2. Supplementary adjustments; 3. Substantial adjustments; 4. Extensive adjustments. If you’d like to learn more about this data collection I recommend you view a short video at http://www.schooldisabilitydatapl.edu.au/home.

Coming back to the SRS. We will receive additional funding for the number of students supported in the supplementary, substantial and extensive categories. The funding is determined as various percentages of SRS for each category – I won’t bore you with the details.

With this new model I am expecting our level of funding to improve and so we expect to be able to strengthen our educational support program. This will benefit both the students that need the support directly and all other students as their teachers will be better enabled to teach everyone.

Are you still with me?

In the future there will be an independent body, to be called the National Schools Resourcing Board. This will monitor funding distribution, review the SRS and assess whether the various additional funding elements are being calculated appropriately.

Finally, the system still relies on socio-economic scores (SES). Each school has an SES score; scores range from 80 to 130. Schools with lower scores get more funding as they are said to have educational disadvantage. The average school has a score of 100. MECS / Ranges TEC’s SES score is 97. All SES scores across Australia are being revised this year. An analyst at Independent Schools Victoria believes that due to the down turn in the Western Australian economy since scores were last calculated, SES scores in Melbourne and Sydney are expected to rise. This is where the SES system is problematic, our circumstances in terms of educational disadvantage have not changed, but if our SES score rises the system will determine that we do not need as much funding to operate the school. In broad terms, every 1 point increase in the SES will cause a loss of Commonwealth funding of approx. $60,000 for MECS / Ranges TEC. Let’s hope and pray our SES remains the same. Even so, we can be very thankful that our school is well supported in terms of government funding arrangements.
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