Public school funding is allocated to schools based on the learning needs of students and school characteristics.
The student-centred funding model, introduced in 2015, and one line budgets is a fair, responsive, flexible and transparent way of resourcing public schools across Western Australia. This mechanism delivers funding to schools for each student enrolled and additional funding for students needing extra support.
For example, additional funding is provided for small and isolated schools, Aboriginal children, children facing social disadvantage, children with English as a second language and children with disability.
Evaluation of the student-centred funding model
The Department is currently undertaking an evaluation of its student-centred funding model. Introduced in 2015, the model is the mechanism by which funding is allocated to public schools for each student enrolled and additional funding for students needing extra support.
The objectives of the funding model are to:
- allocate resources based on the learning needs of students
- ensure funding is responsive to of the needs of individual schools and their students
- increase flexibility for principals in relation to financial and workforce management decisions
- provide a simple and transparent funding mechanism.
The Nous Group, an organisation with experience and expertise in school funding models, has been engaged by the Department to undertake the evaluation.
The evaluation will assess the extent to which the objectives are being met. It is also considering where the model, processes and governance structures could be refined to better support schools and students.
The evaluation is reviewing the extent to which:
- the model adequately identifies and targets disadvantage
- the model recognises differences of schools
- budget processes support schools and the Department more generally to be responsive to the needs of students and address disadvantage
- information and tools support principals to manage their budget allocations.
To ensure the evaluation is consultative:
- a sample of principals are participating in one of 11 focus groups in March
- all principals are being asked to complete a survey in March/April 2018
- a sample of schools is providing more detailed information about their student needs and current approach to allocating their funding.
The evaluation is due to be completed by July and the Department’s executive will review the findings. Any recommendations to further refine and strengthen the model will be considered for feasibility and timing of implementation.
Professor Richard Teese from The University of Melbourne's Centre for Research on Education Systems talks about the in-depth review he undertook of Western Australia's public school funding mechanism.