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Minister defends private school funding

Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson has said the Government has increased funding for Catholic and independent schools because enrolments in the private system are "increasing at a rate 15 times higher than those in Government schools".

The NSW Government is saying disadvantaged schools are being punished by Dr Nelson's education reforms, but he says all governments have had to increase spending to keep pace with the added demand for private education.

Dr Nelson says three quarters of the total federal and state funding still goes to public schools.

But he says the NSW Government has not kept pace with the Commonwealth's 5.7% increase for public and private schools.

"The NSW Government this year increased its funding to NSW Government schools by 0.8%," Dr Nelson said.

"It also increased its funding to Catholic and independent schools by 4.5% for the same reason as the Commonwealth increases.

"Enrolments for Catholic and independent schools are increasing at a rate 15 times higher than those in Government schools."

Meanwhile Dr Nelson yesterday announced the launch of an important national report, and a further $316,000 commitment from the Australian Government, to help support values education.

The Values Education Study involved 69 schools and features a Draft National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools to guide debate.

The additional funding will enable us to enhance values education through increased website support for all schools and a national forum to be held in early 2004 to consider the study's findings and to build on existing school practices.

Schools participating in the $580,000 Values Education Study received grants of up to $7,000 to study and document their values education methods and identify best practice approaches.

Projects cited in yesterday's Ministerial media release includes a strategy prepared by Whitefriars Catholic School in South Australia for students to achieve personal goals while maintaining positive relationships with their peers.

Minister defends private school funding (ABC 18/11/03)
$316,000 boost for values education in our schools (Ministerial Media Release 18/11/03)

Threat to schools: perform or be shut down (Sydney Morning Herald 14/11/03)
Department of Education, Science and Training
Values Education Study: Final Report | Executive Summary

19 Nov 2003