Media release – Focus on education, not division

20 November 2023

The national peak body for Independent schools is calling for a focus on education and collaboration following recent publicity about school funding.

Independent Schools Australia (ISA) Chief Executive Officer, Graham Catt said, “We support the Government’s objective of full implementation of the current funding model to ensure that all schools are funded to 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard.”

“ISA is committed to collaborating with all stakeholders in the education sector to get the best outcomes for every Australian school student, regardless of sector.

“Non-government schools are an integral part of Australia’s education system and educate more than a third of Australia’s four million students.

“Independent schools support more than one hundred thousand educationally-disadvantaged students and their families, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, people with disability and those at risk of disengaging from education altogether. For some communities an Independent school is the only education option available.”

“Public commentary that misrepresents these schools, educators, and families as wealthy and overfunded is misleading.”

“The $3 billion figure quoted in a new report represents the total reduction over five years of Commonwealth funding to those non-government schools that are still in the process of moving down to their Schooling Resource Standard. By 2029 all non-government schools will have completed this transition process.

“Yet this five-year figure has been used in a comparison with an annual $6 billion shortfall in funding from the States and the NT. School funding is highly complex, and this commentary misrepresents the real issue and is generally unhelpful.

“There are 688,638 students, their families, and 115,090 passionate educators in our sector.

“They want to see a focus on ensuring all Australian children receive the best education our nation can deliver, but they don’t understand why their schools seem to be constantly under attack,” Mr Catt said.