School funding failure for Tassie’s most disadvantaged students

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services has confirmed public school students are being left behind as private school funding continues to outstrip public school investment.

The new data shows the Rockliff Government’s per student funding for public schools grew 13.4 per cent over the eight years to 2021, while State Government private school investment grew 31.4 per cent over the same period.

Meanwhile Federal Government per-student funding also favoured private schools, growing 33.6 per cent over the eight years to 2021, while public school per-student investment changed 28.2 per cent.

Australian Education Union State Manager Brian Wightman said unfair government funding models were magnifying the inequities in Tasmania’s education system.

“It’s appalling that Tasmanian students from the highest socioeconomic backgrounds have a year 12 equivalent attainment rate of 75 percent while those in the lower socioeconomic group have attainment rates of 50 percent.”

“This is the biggest gap between rich and poor of any State and it’s growing year on year in Tasmania.

“How can the Rockliff Government conclude from these figures that it is private students that need a greater increase in funding than their public school counterparts?

“We must address this injustice and level the playing field so no student, regardless of their background, gets left behind.”

The new government figures also show Tasmania’s public schools have a higher proportion of students with low Socio-Economic Advantage than private schools, jumping 0.9 of a percentage point to 43.6 per cent over the year to 2021.

Private schools in Tasmania enrolled just 20 per cent of their students from the same category.

Mr Wightman said Tasmania’s public education system had reached crisis point, with students missing out on quality education due a lack of investment causing ballooned teacher workloads.

“Governments can’t keep relying on the unsustainable workloads of public educators who are going over and above day-in, day-out,” he said.

“Tasmania’s public schools need more teachers, more professional support staff, additional in-class support and more individual learning time for students.

“It is our educators in public schools and colleges that are doing the heavy lifting and it is unacceptable that their efforts aren’t being matched with the adequate resources. 

“We are seeing a growing teacher exodus in Tasmania and we cannot afford to lose any more quality teachers to a system that is failing them and their students.”

Per student funding in Tasmania favours private schools over public schools

Change in Government spending per Tasmanian student (2014-15 to 2020-21)
Public SchoolsNon-Government Schools
Australian Government28.2%33.6%
Tasmanian Government13.4%31.4%
All Governments15.8%33.1%