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Private schools “arms race”

Fairfax Media    |  26 June 2016

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Private schools are outspending Victorian public schools by four to one, splurging on rowing tanks, pilates studios, sky decks and imaginariums.

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Some top private schools have spent up to $70 million on capital projects over the past few years as part of a facilities “arms race” to lure students.

The state’s biggest spender, Carey Baptist Grammar School, shelled out about $11.4 million in 2014 on a new “learning and innovation” centre at its Kew campus.

The $23 million building features an “audiovisual Imaginarium” with 3D technology and a “United Nations Room” with a sky deck with sweeping views the city.

Principal Philip Grutzner said the centre had replaced 1950s classrooms that were “as bad as some of the worst facilities I’ve seen in many independent and state schools”.

He said all Victorian students deserved quality teachers and “welcoming, supportive and innovative” facilities had a major impact on morale and learning.

 

Cap Ex

An analysis of the most recent My School data by the Centre for Policy Development’s Bernie Shepherd and Chris Bonnor revealed the capital expenditure per Victorian private school student was $2011 in 2014.  This is compared to $469 per state school student.

Shepherd said government funding for capital works should not be provided to well-off private schools.

Where there are large amounts being spent already, more money does not make much difference to educational outcomes.

The evidence shows that funding disadvantaged schools and students leads to greater educational outcomes.

The analysis showed the federal government spent $141 on capital expenditure per private school student, compared to $238 for public school students. The state government also spent $184 per state school student.

It follows a recent analysis showing the average government funding of some of Victoria’s most elite private schools increased eight times times the rate of the neediest public schools.

Meanwhile, the current federal has refused to commit to Gonski funding.

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