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School Funding

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 (50%). The remainder is met by the Australian (35%) and Queensland Governments (15%)*. 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

Queensland independent schools use a federal funding model that is based on parental income, the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). This came into effect for the majority of independent schools, except those classified as Special, Special Assistance or Majority Indigenous, from 2022.

ISQ continues to work with independent schools on funding model changes, 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.

* Sources: AEC Group, (2020 update), Economic Significance of Independent Schools to the Queensland Economy | 2022 Non-State School Census (State) February Collection I Department of Education Non-Government Schools Financial Questionnaire.

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School Funding made simple

Independent schools form a key part of the education landscape in Australia and sit alongside State and Catholic schools in contributing to Australian society and the safety, learning and wellbeing of Australian children.

Funding for Independent schools relies on partnerships between governments, parents and school communities.

More than half the income that the average Independent school receives for recurrent spending comes from parents and other private sources.

When it comes to income for capital expenditure, the vast majority comes from private sources.

Queensland independent schools cater for families from a variety of social and economic backgrounds and income levels, offering a wide range of choice for families including faith-based and secular schools, boarding and day schools, and schools for children with special needs.

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