No Such Thing as a Private School

This semester at Uni I have been doing some research into the funding of Public and Private Schools.

Through this research I have come to believe that (in terms of funding), there is no such thing as a Private school in Australia.

On the right is a breakdown of funding in Australian schools from 2008. As can be clearly seen, both private and public schools receive government funding. Of this, Public schools receive far more State funding and Private schools receive more Federal funding.

Government (Public) schools receive $1022 per student from the Federal government and $10222 per student from the State government, for a total of $11244 per student from government funding.

Non-government (Private) schools receive $4713 per student from the Federal government and $1664 per student from the State government, for a total of $6377 per student from government funding.

How can we can non-government schools “Private” when they clearly receive government funding. Sure, they may have policies that are not dictated by the government. But why cant we have a system where every student goes to the local comprehensive government school? I understand that there are reasons for this (I will detail these reasons in a future post), however surely a single system of education would benefit the education of all.

Australia has a history of a split system of education (mainly based on religion), which is where a lot of these issues come from. Other countries such as Canada and England have a more mainstream system of education, where there are Private schools, but they are for the VERY rich only. I wonder if there is any possibility of a single mainstream system of education in Australia?

What do you think?

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5 Responses to “No Such Thing as a Private School”


  1. 1 Gary Hill December 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I think there is no chance. No government would advocate a closing of private schools and a shift to all public schools as they couldn’t afford it. There would be over 3,000,000 school students in Australia and currently about 1/3 of these attend private schools. Based on your numbers, for every child who switches from the private to the public sector there would be a need to increase funding by $5,000. This represents an increased annual government spend of $15b. And the recurrent annual budget is just part of the total spend. In other words, the government is very happy that parents carry a significant part of the cost of educating students in private schools.

  2. 2 Calum Henderson December 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that it will probably never happen. I think that there is a polarisation of education to some extent, however, I don’t see how this could be ramified.

    Thanks again for your input!


  1. 1 A Week has 5 Days #3 « Calum Henderson Trackback on December 5, 2009 at 11:38 am
  2. 2 Public vs Private #7 | Other Teachers « Calum Henderson Trackback on December 12, 2009 at 10:19 am
  3. 3 Public vs Private #7 | Other Teachers | Calum Henderson Trackback on February 25, 2010 at 7:56 pm

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