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Commonwealth Recurrent Funding for Non-Government Schools
Needs-based funding arrangements 2024

Ecumenical Schools Australia (the Approved Authority) receives recurrent school funding on behalf of its member schools as the approved system authority for those schools. In 2024 there are 18 full members of Ecumenical Schools Australia which receive recurrent funding through the Approved Authority from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments for a total of 20,585.7 funded full-time equivalent students.

In accordance with section 78(5) of the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act), the Approved Authority may redistribute this funding using its own needs-based funding model. Any such needs-based funding arrangement must be fair, transparent and equitable, and provide students with the same need the same level of funding support from the Commonwealth.

The Act calculates a Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) which is an estimate of the total public funding (Commonwealth and State) a school needs to meet its students’ educational needs. For the Commonwealth’s component of independent school funding, base funding for the SRS is allocated to schools according to a Capacity to Contribute (CTC) score, which takes into consideration a school’s parents’ ability to contribute to the cost of their children’s education. This is calculated using parental income data and is therefore specific to each school.

Ecumenical Schools Australia received Commonwealth funding using a system weighted average CTC score between 2014 and 2017, and while this average score no longer applies, the Commonwealth’s annual allocations to the System still carry some effects of this period.

Ecumenical Schools Australia supports the needs basis of the Commonwealth’s recurrent funding model, and as a result, Commonwealth funding received by the System is redistributed to schools to align with this model. This applies a base rate per student which reflects each school’s CTC score in relation to the SRS, plus additional funding per student if the school is in an outer regional location or has enrolments of fewer than 300 primary students or 700 secondary students. Loadings are also applied for English language proficiency of school families, the socio-economic profile of school parents, Indigenous students, and students with disabilities requiring supplementary or higher adjustments by the school, in accordance with how the Commonwealth would allocate funding if member schools were not part of the Approved Authority.

The System retains a small component of Commonwealth funding (less than 0.2%) to help cover the cost of services provided to its member schools, which include professional learning, advocacy, support with compliance, strategic guidance and securing group contracts for key services.

Any leftover funding, after providing each school with its stand-alone entitlement from the Commonwealth, and after retaining funding for administrative use as applicable, is allocated to schools using enrolment numbers weighted by CTC score.

As noted above, this applies to the 18 full members of Ecumenical Schools Australia. There are four associate members in 2024; these schools receive their recurrent funding directly from the Commonwealth.

The Australian Education Act 2013 requires that approved authorities for more than one school have an implementation plan which sets out how they intend to implement the education reforms agreed. Ecumenical Schools Australia’s Implementation Plan effective January 2024 can be found here.