Go to top of page

Case Study 4: New data insights provide more accurate information for school funding model (Target 1.2, Measure 1.2.2)

The ABS is working with the Department of Education on new data insights to provide more accurate funding arrangements for non-government schools.

Using different government information combined through the Multi-Data Agency Integration Project (MADIP), the ABS and the Department of Education are developing data that will give a more accurate analysis of parents’ capacity to contribute to school funding and will inform the distribution of over $170 billion in funding to non-government schools over the period 2019 to 2029.

The research is supporting one of the priorities of the National School Resourcing Board (the Board), which was established in 2017 to provide independent oversight of Commonwealth school funding. The Board wanted to review current arrangements related to one of the key inputs to funding arrangements, notably the capacity of non-government school communities to contribute to the operational costs of their school.

Historically, this capacity to contribute had been determined using an area-based Socio‑Economic Status (SES) score, which was based on the best available data when it was implemented in 2001. These scores take into account the income, education and occupation of residents of small geographic areas. Although accurate in many cases, these scores can overstate the SES of some schools and understate that of others.

The data obtained through MADIP measures the school community’s capacity to contribute based on the income of parents or guardians based on the safe, anonymised linking of personal income tax data and residential address information.

Through research undertaken within the secure ABS DataLab facility, the Department of Education is continuing work to refine the direct income measure. The new funding arrangements will use this new direct income measure utilising data provided by the ABS, to ensure funding flow to the schools that need it the most.

“In keeping with recommendations from the 2011 Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling, utilising data available through MADIP will be significant in transforming historical ways that schools have been funded and will provide confidence to non-government schools that the new measure is fairer and backed up by data and evidence.” (Department of Education)

Image of children in school classroom