Analysts say private school funding has increased at five times the rate of public schools.

Advocacy group Save Our Schools says government funding for private schools in Australia has increased at a much greater rate than public school funding over the past 10 years. 

According to its analysis, Australia is on track to have a $74 billion shortfall in money for public schools this decade, despite adopting a needs-based scheme.

Combined commonwealth and state government funding for schools in 2009-10 to 2019-20, based on figures from the Productivity Commission shows that funding for private schools – including Catholic and independent institutions – increased by $3,338 per student, adjusted for inflation, compared with $703 per student for public schools.

Commonwealth funding of state school students increased by $1,181 over the decade, but state spending dropped by $478 per student during that time, the analysis finds. 

Reforms in 2017 now mean that funding is based on the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) - an estimate of how much total public funding a school would need to meet its students’ educational needs. 

The reforms should have seen overfunded independent schools brought down to the SRS benchmark by 2029, while underfunded public schools had their funding increased.

But Save Our Schools says there is still an average annual shortfall in public school funding of $6.7 billion per year.

While failing to adjust funding according to their own fairness metric, successive Coalition governments have also found ways to increase funding to private schools, including through its $1.2 billion “choice and affordability fund” – a fund set up to protect non government schools from financial impacts during the transition to a new funding model.

More details are accessible here.