(02) 9287 1514

School Funding

School Funding

Catholic schools have provided quality education for Australian children since 1806. 

Australian Government funding support for Catholic schools is bipartisan. Similarly there
is wide political and community support today for parents to exercise their right to choose
the schooling they believe is best for their children. It has long been 
recognised by each
successive Australian government that Catholic schools deliver 
value for the taxpayer's
dollar and contribute to the common good

According to the latest data provided by the Australian Government’s My School website - even with parental contributions included, Catholic schools operate at 90% of the recurrent resources of government schools:

  • Catholic school students receive, on average, 20 per cent less government funding
    than students in government schools;
  • Students with disability in Catholic schools receive less funding from government
    than if they were going to a government school.

Funding Figures: Report on Government Services Productivity Commission (2016)

Read NCEC response to latest figures (up to 2014) outlined below released by Productivity Commission Feb 2016 

Government Expenditure per student - Government and Non-Government:

        Source: Report on Government Services, Productivity Commission

Government expenditure per student in non-government school as % of student in government school

Source: Report on Government Services, Productivity Commission

Changes in Catholic school enrollments (2009-2014)

*Full-time equivalents. Source: Commonwealth Department of Education and Training

Funding in NSW

NSW Catholic school parents paid more than $1.1 billion in school fees and capital funding in 2012.

In NSW there are:

  • 583 Catholic schools, 
  • educating more than 251,000 students (or one in five NSW school students).

NSW Catholic schools are funded by:

  • Commonwealth (57.5%);
  • State Governments (19.7%);
  • parental fees and other private fundraising (22.8%).

Source: ACARA , MySchool data 2012

Catholic schools therefore receive much less public funding than government schools Unlike state schools who receive the bulk of their funding from the state government, Catholic schools receive the greatest proportion of their funding from the Commonwealth government. After that the next largest chunk of funding is from fees from parents, followed by state government funding followed by private funding from other sources. This may include fundraising activities, donations etc.

Based on our Catholic ethos, Catholic schools strive to keep fees low so that schools remain accessible.
No child is ever denied a Catholic education because of their family’s financial situation.

For more information on funding including fact sheets for school communities click here.

Funding Challenges

Catholic school students receive, on average, 20 per cent less combined government funding than students in government schools. Students with disability in Catholic schools receive less funding from government than if
they were going to a government school. If government funding for Catholic schools does not keep pace with annual cost increases in schools, it is the same as a funding freeze. A funding freeze is a funding cut, and school fees will rapidly have to rise.

Funding Policy

Students First

November 2013
Installation of the Abbot government with plans for education reform in
funding and curriculum were announced;

December 2013
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced the Senate Select
Committee on School Funding to inquire into & report on the development
and implementation of the new national school funding arrangements;

May 2014
Report by the Senate Select Committee released Equity and excellence in
Australian schools;   

October 2014
Australian Government response to the Senate Select Committee on
School Funding Report.               

Better Schools Plan

The Australian government under Gillard devised the Better Schools Plan as part of the National Plan for School Improvement to improve educational outcomes for all Australian students. The main platform of the plan was for school funding to be calculated according to the needs of each individual student enrolled in a school which had been a recommendation of the Gonski Report. 

Per student funding was to be based on a benchmark amount augmented by loadings for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, indigenous students, students with limited English skills and students with disability as well as extra funding for small schools and schools in regional, rural and remote areas. The loadings plus the base amount were referred to as the School Resource Standard. Individual states and school systems were invited to sign up to the Better Schools Plan at the end of 2012 for a six-year period.        

Senate Select Committee
on School
Funding Report

(4.4 Mb pdf)

Australian Government Response
(1 Mb pdf)











The Gonski Report                       

April 2010
Former Minister for Education, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, announced that a comprehensive review of school funding arrangements. 
The aim of the review was to have a new national system for funding of all schools, government, Catholic and independent which was to take effect
from 2014;

2010 - 2011 
Chaired by David Gonski, the panel received more than 7000 submissions, 
visited 39 schools and consulted 71 key education groups across Australia;

December 2011
The panel for the Review of Funding for Schooling delivered its final report
to the Minister for School Education;

February 2012
The Government released the report, along with its initial response                                                      


   (3.94Mb pdf)