Media release: Budget provides certainty for Independent schools

9 May 2023

Independent Schools Australia (ISA) welcomes the Federal Budget released tonight, which confirms commitments already made by the Australian Government that support continuity of funding for Independent schools.  

ISA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Graham Catt said, “The Budget affirms our understanding of the Government’s commitment to provide funding certainty.

“This certainty is vital to the ongoing, viable operation of a diverse Independent school sector that delivers education to around seventeen per cent of Australia’s students.

ISA welcomes additional funding to support the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan and other measures to address the current teacher shortage in Australia’s schools,” he said.

ISA also welcomes additional funding to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, including $21.6 million to extend the Indigenous Boarding Providers Grants Program in 2024 and a review of funding mechanisms to enable boarding providers to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and provide quality, culturally-safe boarding environments for students completing secondary school. Independent schools are the largest provider of boarding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

“It is disappointing, however, that the support that helps non-government schools implement programs that deliver the Government’s national educational reform priorities won’t continue beyond the end of this calendar year.

“Those reform programs include implementing NAPLAN online, supporting the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability and providing additional training to school boards that enhance governance and accountability.

“These national reforms are important and make a real difference, particularly to smaller schools and the communities they support,” Mr Catt said.

The Government has also announced a new plan to save $1.9 million over four years and  $1.1 million annually ongoing by improving funding integrity in non-government schools, but with no detail of how this will be achieved. Independent schools are already highly accountable to multiple regulatory bodies, as well as to their school communities.

“Overall, we welcome the new initiatives for school education in this Budget and the reassurance it brings of funding continuity for Independent schools, and we urge the Government to commit to ensuing support for the implementation of national reform priorities in 2024 and beyond,” said Mr Catt.

ISA is the national peak body representing 1,209 Independent schools with 688,638 enrolled students (full time equivalent), accounting for approximately 17 per cent of Australian school enrolments.