Government funding for Catholic schools rising fast

An Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows that government funding for both independent and Catholic schools is growing at three times the rate of spending on public schools.

The Bureau's report on Australia's social trends shows that funding for non-government schools rose an average 6per cent a year between 1999 and 2004 while government school funding rose only 2 per cent a year in that time, The Australian reports.

The funding increase follows a surge in students attending independent schools and an expansion of the sector.

Over the past decade, independent schools enrolled 45 per cent more students, about 135,300 students, and the number of independent schools increased by 20 per cent.

In the same period, Catholic schools enrolled 11 per cent or 65,200 more students, while the number of students attending a government school rose 2 per cent, about 38,200 students.

But government school students still receive almost twice the amount of public monies, about $10,000 a student on average compared with $5600 for students at non-government schools.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics report also notes there has been an improvement in the academic performance of Indigenous students, although they still fall well behind other students.

Between 2001 and 2004, the gap between the number of Indigenous students in Year 7 reaching the reading benchmark and all students had fallen from 28 percentage points to 20 points.

For the numeracy benchmark, the difference in the number of Indigenous and all Australian students reaching the benchmark had fallen three percentage points to 30 percentage points.

In 2004, 71 per cent of Year 7 indigenous students reached the reading benchmark, compared with 60 per cent in 2001, while the proportion reaching the numeracy benchmark remained steady at 50 per cent.

Private school funds growing much faster (The Australian 21/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Participation in Education (Australian Bureau of Statistics Social Trends 2006)

Low birth rate to slow Catholic school sector growth (CathNews, 20/7/06)

21 Jul 2006