What EXACTLY Does ‘Private’ Mean to You?

18 March 2008

I learnt from the news last night that for every $1 that comes out of the Government coffers to public (ie Government schools), $5 is provided by those same coffers to private (ie fee-paying, non-Government schools). 

Over the 11 years of the Howard Government in Australia,  money provided to private schools by the Government increased by $2.7 billion, whereas money finding its way to the Government schools increased by only $680 million. 

The Kings School in Sydney received something in the region of $5 million last year from State and Federal Government funding, thereby helping the school keep its swimming pool, shooting range and over 20 playing fields in tip-top condition.  Unfortunately some of the Government schools in this city have no air-conditioning, leaking roofs from storm damage about 2 months ago, temporary classrooms (well, they were supposed to be temporary when they were erected sometimes years ago) and a very limited supply of properly working toilets for teachers and students. 

‘Private’ schools should not be funded by the Public Purse.

Immoral, obscene and fraudulent.


  1. I completely agree with you – public schools shouldn’t be getting less than the private ones. And I hate the argument that private school kids shouldn’t be ‘deprived’ of funding that the public schools get….

    In victoria schools were ‘relabeled’ – public schools are now called ‘state schools’ and the private schools are called ‘public schools’ – because anyone can attend (provided they can afford the fees). Sophistry, anyone???

  2. That’s how they’re classed in England. ‘Free’ schools fully funded by the state are called State Schools. Schools that demand payment are called Public Schools. I think it’s because there used to be only one kind of school – Church schools. When schools opened to take anyone (provided, as you say, that they could pay), they became Public Schools. Someone (Judith?) will correct me if I’m wrong!

  3. Private means some bastard is making money out of it. It grates this socialist no end…

  4. OK, Sally, I’ll post – so long as we’re agreed it’s to congratulate you on managing a daily post, not to win a prize!

    The info on the fee-paying/free schools and what they get form the government – gobsmacking. And grates on me too, Lara.

  5. I can’t correct you, because I think you’re right. Like the Mathematical School in Rochester, Kent, (which still exists, though now as a state school, and was founded to produce navigators for the exploration of the new world) there were others which were open free of charge to almost anyone and were funded by those with a vested interest – the shipping lines, the goldsmiths’ livery company and so on. I, too, am appalled by this state of affairs in your schols. “To them that have shall be given…”.

  6. I only have access to the 2006 auditor general’s figures for funding (2004-5 financial year). For NSW they run as follows:
    Federal Government 68% Non Government, 32% Government
    NSW Government 8% Non Government, 92% Government

    In dollars, the total funding from both tiers of Goverment combined was $9040 per government school student and $6353 per non-government school student.

    So I don’t know where the 5:1 figure came from, because it’s not correct.

  7. I took the figures from ABC’s Lateline and checked with the transcript online at http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2007/s2192308.htm

    I did thinkthe figure was rather odd but it came from the ABC, so I’ve taken it as true.

  8. Over the 2005 to 2008 funding period, an estimated $790 million in capital and infrastructure funding will be provided for Catholic and Independent schools. This includes an additional $354 million that was allocated by the previous Government under the Investing in Our Schools Programme.

    Initially, $700 million was provided to state government schools and $300 million to non-government schools over the life of the Programme. The funding available to schools was increased by $181 million early in 2007 ($827 million for government schools and $354 million for non-government schools) totalling $1.181 billion. These additional funds were targeted at schools that had received little or no funding.

    All that is from http://www.investinginourschools.dest.gov.au/government/

    It doesn’t match with the Lateline info, but I suppose you can fiddle figures either way.

  9. As someone who’s wife is very very very keen for our kids to go to a private school, i must admit, i’m pretty happy for money to go to private schools. Most people who can afford to send their kids to private schools are paying fairly significant amounts of tax. I’d like to think that at least some of that tax goes towards the education of my children, even if i choose for them to be educated outside of the state system. I absolutely agree that it should be equal amounts (ie. private schools shouldn’t get any more than government schools) but think the basic premise has merit. If society endorses, and the government authorises, a variety of education systems, then the government should fund these all in equal measure.

  10. This had me spitting chips… not that anything Howard’s regime did should have the power to shock us any more :/

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