Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) has welcomed the record allocation of $98.4m to support capital works in non-state schools in the 2018-19 Queensland Budget handed down today.
However, the sector also expressed its disappointment at the reduction in overall recurrent funding earmarked for non-state schools, with Budget Papers showing a $5 million drop in comparison to 2017-18.
The 2018-19 Queensland Budget includes an overall allocation of $676.4 million for general recurrent grants to non-state schools in 2018-19.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the record capital commitment to non-state schools delivered the first year of the government’s 2017 election commitment to make an extra $52.6 million capital injection over three years in independent schools.
“This extra infrastructure funding will make a valuable contribution towards the significant costs associated with building new classrooms and upgrading existing facilities in independent schools across the state,” Mr Robertson said.
“A recent ISQ-commissioned research study estimated the sector would need to raise $1.2 billion to accommodate the additional 46,600 students projected to enrol in Queensland independent schools between now and 2036,” he said.
“This price tag is for growth and doesn’t address the cost of refurbishing and upgrading existing classrooms and other facilities in independent schools.”
“On average, the parents of Queensland independent school children meet the costs of 75 percent of the infrastructure and maintenance costs in independent schools. This additional government capital support is therefore good news for families of independent school children, many of whom make significant financial sacrifices for their children’s education.”
Mr Robertson said the good news on capital funding had been counteracted to an extent by the sector’s reduced recurrent funding allocation which is the result of the discontinuation of the Teaching and School Leadership program.
“This is disappointing, particularly at a time when the national spotlight is centred firmly on policy reforms to enhance teaching and learning and to lift student outcomes,” he said.
"The replacement program, the previously announced Advancing Teaching and Learning initiative that will commence in July 2018, has lower funding than what had previously been made available to non-state schools.”
“There was a strong uptake by independent schools of the previous program and the implementation of initiatives that enhanced the quality of teaching in classrooms for the benefit of students.”
“ISQ will examine the Budget in greater detail in coming days and will work with the Queensland Government to ensure the best outcomes for independent schools.”