26 September 2023

Education tested over school funding

Start the conversation

The NSW Auditor-General has released a report into the Department of Education’s support of school planning, finding it had inadequate oversight of how schools were using needs-based funding to improve student outcomes.

In her report Local Schools, Local Decisions: Needs-based equity funding, Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford said the Department had not had adequate oversight of how schools were using the funding to improve student outcomes since the Local Schools, Local Decisions reform was introduced in 2014.

“The Department had not set measures or targets for needs-based equity funding,” Ms Crawford said.

“It had also not been clear enough in how it expected schools to report on the outcomes of additional funding,” she said.

“This means it has not been able to effectively demonstrate the impact of funding at a school, or state-wide level.”

Ms Crawford made eight recommendations for implementation in the next 12 months aimed at clarifying requirements of schools, better coordinating support and strengthening oversight of the use of needs-based equity funding.

“The Department has recently developed a consistent set of school-level targets to be implemented from 2020,” she said.

“This may help it to better hold schools accountable for progress towards its strategic goal of reducing the impact of disadvantage.”

Ms Crawford said school annual reports reviewed in the audit did not fully account for the equity funding received, nor adequately describe the impact of funding on student outcomes.

She said the Department should clarify the objective of equity funding and update guidance material and reporting requirements for schools to reflect the objective more consistently.

The Auditor-Generals 34-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.