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Education and Training Reform Amendment (Funding of Non-Government Schools) Bill 2014

         Education and Training Reform
          Amendment (Funding of Non-
         Government Schools) Bill 2014

                        Introduction Print


              EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM


                                 General
The Bill proposes amendments to the Education and Training Reform Act
2006 (referred to as the "Principal Act" in this explanatory memorandum) to
provide a transparent approach to funding across the education system, with
the primary goal of meeting student needs. The Bill secures recurrent
funding for non-Government schools.

                              Clause Notes
Clause 1   sets out the purpose of the Bill, which is to amend the Principal
           Act to establish a transparent mechanism for State funding of
           non-Government schools.

Clause 2   is the commencement provision, which provides for the Bill to
           come into operation on a day or days to be proclaimed, or on
           23 December 2015 if not proclaimed before that date.

Clause 3   sets out definitions of ISV and School Policy and Funding
           Advisory Council for inclusion in section 1.1.3(1) of the
           Principal Act.
           ISV is defined for the purposes of new sections 2.7.5 and 2.7.11
           which are inserted by clause 4 of the Bill.
           School Policy and Funding Advisory Council is defined to mean
           the advisory council established by section 2.7.9 as inserted by
           clause 4.




581010                               1     BILL LA INTRODUCTION 22/12/2014

 


 

Clause 4 inserts new Part 2.7 into the Principal Act, which contains new sections 2.7.1 to 2.7.13. New section 2.7.1 of the Principal Act provides that the intent of new Part 2.7 is to establish a transparent mechanism for State funding of non-Government schools for the purposes of meeting student needs. The note to new section 2.7.1 clarifies that non-Government schools are required to be registered under Part 4.3 of the Principal Act and must meet the prescribed minimum standards for registration, including that a school is a not-for-profit school. New section 2.7.2 of the Principal Act provides the meaning of Government school recurrent funding for the purposes of new Part 2.7. Subsection (1) provides Government school recurrent funding means funding provided by the State out of money appropriated by Parliament that directly supports the teaching, learning and welfare of students attending Government schools. The funding for non-Government schools is derived from, and linked to, the funding provided to Government schools. Therefore this definition sets out the broad principle that will be applied when determining the categories of funding that will comprise the Government school recurrent funding amount. The reference to "teaching, learning and welfare of students attending Government schools" encapsulates those components of State funding which support the cost of educating a government school student "in the classroom". Consequently, due to the definition, non-classroom costs such as head office and regional administration costs are excluded from the Government school recurrent funding. Subsection (2) provides, without limiting subsection (1), that Government school recurrent funding includes-- any funding specified in regulations to be Government school recurrent funding for the purposes of Part 2.7; and any funding specified by the Minister to be Government school recurrent funding for the purposes of Part 2.7, after taking into account any advice of the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council. Subsection (3) provides that various categories of funding are excluded from the "Government school recurrent funding" amount. For example, early childhood development funding, higher education funding, capital property items, and funding from the Commonwealth passed onto Government schools by the State. In addition, subsection (3) specifies that funding provided to schools referred to in Schedule 10 is excluded. These schools are 2

 


 

special and specialist schools such as the Distance Education Centre of Victoria, language schools and deaf facilities attached to Government schools. Specifically, subsection (3) provides that Government school recurrent funding does not include-- funding for programs or initiatives provided to both Government and non-Government schools--an example of this is funding for camps, excursions, and conveyance allowance; early childhood development funding; higher education funding; funding provided to schools referred to in new Schedule 10 to the Principal Act (inserted by clause 5); payroll tax; capital property items--this refers to items that could be funded separately, such as capital asset charges and depreciation; any funding from the Commonwealth passed on to Government schools by the State; any funding specified in the regulations not to be Government school recurrent funding for the purposes of Part 2.7; any funding specified by the Minister not to be Government school recurrent funding for the purposes of new Part 2.7, after taking into account any advice of the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council. New section 2.7.3 of the Principal Act provides that the Minister may provide funding to non-Government schools. New section 2.7.4 of the Principal Act sets out the formula to enable calculation of the funding for non-Government schools, which is derived from the Government school recurrent funding. It also clearly establishes that the total amount of funding provided under new Part 2.7 for non-Government schools must not be less than 25% of the Government school recurrent funding (that is, the funding allocated by the State to the cost of educating Government school students, in accordance with new section 2.7.2(1)). 3

 


 

The total minimum amount of funding for non-Government schools is the amount calculated in accordance with the formula set out in subsection (1). The formula allows funding for a calendar year to be determined based on the amount of Government school recurrent funding for the financial year commencing on 1 July in the previous calendar year (Item A). Subsection (2) defines expressions for the purposes of Item B and Item C of the formula in subsection (1). Item B of the formula represents the enrolment numbers for Government school students counted in the Government school census (defined in subsection (2)). The census is taken at a point in time (February), and reflects the enrolments at that point in time. Item C of the formula represents the enrolment numbers for non-Government school students counted in the non-Government school census (defined in subsection (2)). The census is taken at a point in time (August), and reflects the enrolments at that point in time. An example of how the formula operates is set out below. The total funding for non-Government schools for 2015 is based on the Government school recurrent funding determined in the financial year commencing on 1 July (of 2014-2015) (Item A). Student enrolments in Government (Item B) and non-Government schools (Item C) are based on-- the census figures for Government schools which are compiled in February 2014, and those census figures are used to determine the funding for 2015; and the census figures for non-Government schools are compiled in August 2014, and those census figures are used to determine the funding for 2015. New section 2.7.5 of the Principal Act provides that any funding under new Part 2.7 of the Principal Act may be paid directly to the non-Government school or to an organisation (such as the Catholic Education Commission or ISV) for the benefit of the non-Government school. If funding is paid to an organisation, such as the Catholic Education Commission or ISV, the Bill does not prevent the organisation from distributing the funding in any manner in which it sees fit for the benefit of the relevant non-Government schools. New section 2.7.6 of the Principal Act ensures that funding can be allocated to individual non-Government schools and students based on need. 4

 


 

Subsection (1) provides that the Minister may have regard to the needs of non-Government schools and students attending non-Government schools when providing funding under new Part 2.7 of the Principal Act. Subsection (2) ensures that, in having regard to the needs of non-Government schools, and students attending those schools, the Minister must consult with, and take into account any advice of, the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council. Subsection (3) provides that nothing in new Part 2.7 of the Principal Act requires the Minister to provide the same amount of funding to each non- Government school on a per student basis, or to calculate the amount of funding based on the same percentage per student for each non-Government school. New section 2.7.7 of the Principal Act provides for conditions on funding. Subsection (1) provides that the Minister may impose any reasonable conditions on the provision of funding under new Part 2.7 of the Principal Act and may require a non-Government school or an organisation referred to in new section 2.7.5 (see above) to enter an agreement under section 5.2.11 of the Principal Act. Existing section 5.2.11 provides the Minister with power to require any person or body that receives or will receive any grant of money from the State for educational purposes to enter into an agreement setting out the terms and conditions of receiving that money. In determining whether to impose a condition, subsection (2) ensures that the Minister must consult with the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council, and take into account any advice provided by it. New section 2.7.8 of the Principal Act provides for accounting and reporting. Subsection (1) provides that the Minister may require a non-Government school or organisation referred to in new section 2.7.5 (see above) to which funding has been provided under new Part 2.7 of the Principal Act to give the Minister a report as to the application of the funding. In determining whether to require a report under subsection (1), subsection (2) ensures that the Minister must consult with the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council, and take into account any advice provided by it. New section 2.7.9 of the Principal Act establishes the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council. 5

 


 

New section 2.7.10 of the Principal Act provides the function of the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council is to advise the Minister about regulatory, policy and funding issues that affect Government schools and non-Government schools. The Council has an advisory role only, not a decision-making role. New section 2.7.11 of the Principal Act sets out the membership of the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council. Under subsection (1), membership of the Council is to be appointed by the Minister and consist of-- the Secretary of the Department, who is to be the Chairperson of the Council; a representative of the Catholic Education Commission; a representative of ISV; and a representative of Government schools who is employed in the Department. Subsection (2) provides that the Minister, from time to time, may appoint any other person as a member of the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council who, in the Minister's opinion, has the necessary expertise to contribute to its function. New section 2.7.12 of the Principal Act provides the Minister may, by Order, make any further provisions in relation to the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council. New section 2.7.13 of the Principal Act requires the Minister, in consultation with the School Policy and Funding Advisory Council, to review the operation of new Part 2.7 of the Principal Act in the year 2018. Clause 5 inserts new Schedule 10 into the Principal Act. Schedule 10 is inserted for the purposes of the definition of Government school recurrent funding in section 2.7.2, as inserted by clause 4. New Schedule 10 prescribes the schools, and facilities within schools, excluded from calculation of Government school recurrent funding. Schedule 10 includes definitions necessary for interpreting the Schedule. 6

 


 

Clause 6 Provides for the automatic repeal of this amending Act on 23 December 2016. The repeal of this Act does not affect in any way the continuing operation of the amendments made by this Act (see section 15(1) of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984). 7

 


 

 


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