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Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) advocates for the right of every child to receive a level of government funding support for their education. Children with the greatest need, regardless of what state they live in or the school they attend, deserve the most support.

How independent Schools are Funded

Families who choose to send their child to an independent school, on average, meet the majority of operating costs through tuition and other fees (48%). The remainder is met by the Australian (40%) and Queensland Governments (12%). When it comes to school facilities, parents pay the lion’s share of costs. This contrasts with families who choose a Queensland state school, whose running and infrastructure costs, are fully funded by governments, primarily the Queensland Government. As a sector, independent schools, on average, receive the lowest levels of government funding per student in Australia.  

Commonwealth Funding: New Funding Model

Queensland independent schools are transitioning to a new federal funding model that is now based on parental income. This will come into effect for the majority of independent schools, except those classified as Special, Special Assistance or Majority Indigenous, from 2022.

ISQ has been working with independent schools on the change, including through the administration of the Australian Government’s Choice and Affordability Fund, and is continuing to advocate for improvements to the model.

State Funding

The Queensland State Government has a long history of supporting non-government schooling. Under the current bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth, the State Government contributes 20% recurrent funding (minimum) of the total government funding. Schools can also access capital funds.

Government Funded Programs

ISQ, like its counterpart statewide bodies in the state and Catholic sectors, also administers a range of professional learning programs and services that meet agreed national and state education policy priorities and are funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments.

ISQ provides advice and assistance to schools on accessing and using government support. ISQ is also the Approved Authority to administer funding under the following Australian and Queensland Government programs: 

  • Chaplaincy
  • Children in Out of Home Care
  • Students with Disability & Education Adjustment Program
  • Student Welfare Workers
  • Student Transport
  • Choice and Affordability Fund
  • Non-Government Reform Support.


Choice and Affordability Fund

Of the $1.2 billion 10-year national fund, $104.2 million has been notionally allocated to the Queensland independent schooling sector to be distributed in line with the agreement. As part of the Choice and Affordability Fund (CAF) Agreement 2020-2029 with the Commonwealth, ISQ has committed to supporting the following national priority areas:

  • transition funding assistance, including for regional independent schools adversely impacted by the new funding methodology
  • special circumstances support, including for schools impacted by the record-breaking drought and other natural disasters
  • school choice and affordability projects that contribute to a school’s future sustainability under the new funding arrangements.

ISQ has taken important steps to ensure the integrity, transparency and equity of the process to allocate taxpayer funds. 

Choice and Affordability Fund Annual Report: 202220212020

Choice and Affordability Fund Work Plan: 2023-2025


Non-Government Reform Support Fund

The Non-Government Reform Support Fund (NGRSF) ensures ISQ can support independent schools to implement reform priorities. The NGRSF, through the annual ISQ Action Plan, will support schools to implement the following three reform directions, as outlined in the National School Reform Agreement (NSRA). Namely, to:

  • support students, student learning and student achievement
  • support teaching, school leadership and school improvement
  • enhance the national evidence base.

The NGRSF also supports the implementation of state-specific actions included in the bilateral agreement between Queensland and the Commonwealth on the implementation of school education reform and priorities identified by the Federal Minister for Education and Training.

Non-Government Reform Support Strategic Plan: 2019-2022

Non-Government Reform Support Annual Report:  2018 | 2019

Non-Government Reform Support Workplan: 2018 | 20192020 | 2021  

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