Richest private schools receiving payments from secret $7 million government ‘slash fund’

13 April 2018

Many of the country’s wealthiest and overfunded private schools are receiving bonus payments from a secret $7 million government ‘slash fund’.

Last year, Education Minister Simon Birmingham agreed to a secret deal to boost the funding for elite private schools, while at the same time slashing $1.9 billion in funding from public schools, leaving 87 per cent of public schools under the minimum resources standard.

The private schools listed as receiving the special deals are among the most overfunded in the nation, with some getting two to three times their funding entitlement once state and territory funding is taken into consideration.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) application by the union, the Department of Education released the list of the 102 schools that are receiving special deals, however refused to divulge how much the schools are individually receiving.

The Australian Education Union holds serious concerns over how the money is being distributed and who is making decisions about how much each individual school receives.

AEU President, Correna Haythorpe, said:

“Simon Birmingham said there would be no special deals at the same time he was negotiating over one hundred of them in secret.

“Instead of the self-proclaimed great reformer he is turning out to be the Minister for special deals. The more we learn the more it is clear that the Turnbull plan is the best deal that rich Independent schools have ever had.

“The reality is special deals and the decision to fund all private schools to 80% of the national resource standard, regardless of state funding, means that the proportion of overfunded Independent schools is expected to rise to 65% by 2023 unless state government’s cut their private school funding.

“The tiny number of rich schools that appear to be going backwards will be propped up with special deals and still land at well over 100% of the national resource standard while almost nine out of ten public schools will be left below the standard.

“It defies belief that the department can inform the Senate that the government is providing additional funding in 2018 to individual independent schools and then not be able to say how much the schools are getting.

“Senator Birmingham needs to come clean on why he did these 102 special deals, why he is hiding the details and how much these schools are getting.”

Media Contact: Bronte Kerr, 0411 676 269