Saturday, 2 April 2016

What the Brack's Report says about small school funding

Recommendation 51

DET should consolidate the enrolment linked base and small school base formulae and introduce a new ‘School size’ loading that recognises the higher level of resource needs for smaller and isolated schools to operate effectively. To increase curriculum breadth and the diversity of school experiences for students, and to improve school efficiencies, small schools should be supported to explore governance or partnering arrangements with proximal schools, including through network collaboration and funding incentives.

6.6.4 Meeting the needs of students who learn in small schools

In relation to the current funding methodology for small schools, both the Enrolment Linked Base (ELB) and Small School Base (SSB) serve the same purpose - to meet the higher resource needs for smaller schools to operate effectively. It is therefore proposed that the ELB and SSB are consolidated into a single loading based on school size.

Implementation of this change should also seek to address funding threshold anomalies, including the funding differential between primary and secondary schools, and inconsistent funding thresholds across the ELB, SSB and RSAF.

It should also be acknowledged that small schools are expensive to run and that opportunities to increase efficiency at small schools can lead both to significant cost savings and better teaching and learning opportunities for students. These efficiencies can be realised through school collaboration, federations, forming multi-campus schools, consolidating campuses onto a single campus or closure. This Review has offered a number of proposals that could seek to explore these opportunities, including Collaboration Hubs, executive principal arrangements, federated governance, and incentivising collaboration through problem based funding. 

I always worry about sentences that start with 'small schools are expensive to run'....Looks like we need to get ready for a new round of Kennett style rural school closures. There's only one form of efficiency that DET will countenance from Brack's recommendation. 

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