Catholic Schools NSW (CSNSW) today welcomed the appointments made to the new National School Resourcing Board (NSRB), describing them as a good assembly of skilled Australians.
The new Board, whose members were announced this week by Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, will provide independent oversight of school spending by Australia’s Federal, State and Territory governments.
CSNSW Chief Executive Officer Dallas McInerney said he looked forward to engaging with the NSRB on the important issue of school funding, particularly the Board’s first task – a review of the Socio Economic Status (SES) score methodology and arrangements that determine the capacity of non-government school communities to contribute to the costs of their school.
“The Government has assembled a skilled group of education and finance experts to review and recommend improvements to the way Commonwealth funding is distributed to Australian schools,” Mr McInerney said.
“While the members were nominated by all school sector representative bodies – government, Catholic and independent – I am confident they will work in the best interests of all students.
“I wish Dr Michael Chaney and his new team the best in their work ahead, including their first task of reviewing the SES score methodology.”
Mr McInerney said Catholic school parents have a major stake in the outcome of the SES review.
“The Commonwealth is the major funder of Catholic system schools and therefore the main reason our schools are able to provide quality, affordable education for most families.
“The 2011 report by the Gonski panel highlighted the shortcomings of the SES methodology as a basis for determining a school community’s capacity to contribute to its operational cost – and therefore how much government funding it should receive.
“The Catholic sector has made it clear to successive governments that the SES background of students varies considerably within schools.
“As the architect of the SES funding model, Professor Stephen Farish, has said – the current system is not working and needs to be improved to ensure greater fairness for all schools.
“Other bodies such as the Grattan Institute and the Centre for Independent Studies have also been calling for a review.
“We need a better measure that reflects the capacity of parents and families to pay in all school contexts – a measure that will support affordable and accessible Catholic schools.
“I am confident the NSRB will do its best to make the school funding model fairer,” Mr McInerney said.
With thanks to NSWCEC.