National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Funding Australia’s schools

8.6 Overview of My School financial information

Important note: As indicated below there are key differences between My School finance data and National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Finance) and other finance data reported in Parts 8.1–8.5 of this report. The income-based finance data from My School should not be compared to the expenditure-based finance data quoted in previous subsections.
My School financial reporting
In 2010 Education Ministers approved the publication of school financial information on a school by school basis on the My School website. This section of the report provides high-level profiles of recurrent funding information for the 2009 calendar year based on school financial details published on the My School website in March 2011.
My School financial reporting is designed to provide parents, teachers and governments with a clear picture of the resources provided to schools to support the education of their students.
The key financial measure reported on My School is school Net Recurrent Income and Net Recurrent Income per Student (NRIPS). Government and non-government schools and systems that allocate some of their gross income to capital purposes have these amounts shown and deducted from their gross income. Gross income that is allocated to capital expenses in the reporting year is included in the school’s capital expenditure report.
The methodology and other associated material related to My School finance data classification may be obtained from the My School website.
My School finance data were developed to show the income available to a school, over a calendar year (not financial year), to deliver education services to students. My School income data includes private funding that supports a school but excludes user cost of capital (a notional opportunity cost), payroll tax and the cost of transporting students to and from school.
In addition, it should be noted that private funding, as reported on My School for the government sector, is excluded from the NSSC (Finance) collection whereas payroll tax, student transport and user cost of capital are included in NSSC expenditure information.  Also, the NSSC data are reported on a financial year basis. Therefore recurrent income information contained within this section and recurrent expenditure in the preceding sections are not directly comparable.
For government and system schools, where a parent organisation other than the school itself (such as a district, region or state office) incurs expenditure and manages finances for the school, each school’s income is composed of all such funds used for and on behalf of the school plus any cash income received at the school level, as if each school were accounted for as a stand-alone entity. This approach is consistent with the principles of Australian Accounting Standard AASB 1004 – Contributions.
It also is important to note that the definitions and counting rules for schools and enrolments used for the My School website differ, in some respects, to those of the MCEECDYA National Schools Statistics Collection (Non-Finance)¹ used for the reporting of school and student data elsewhere in this report.
This section provides summarised NRIPS information based on school size, school location and school sector derived from My School individual school level information.
Net recurrent income per student and school size
My School financial information indicates that generally, the larger the size of the school, the lower is its NRIPS. This is to be expected, due to economies of scale in larger schools where fixed and less variable funding components are spread over a larger student base, reducing NRIPS. There are also demonstrated relationships between remoteness and smaller school size, meaning that smaller schools are more likely to be in non-metropolitan areas and have access to needs-based funding support.
The graphs at Figure 8.7 below show that school size exerts a determining influence on a school’s recurrent income. Generally, the lower a school’s enrolment, the higher its NRIPS.
The national median school NRIPS in 2009 was roundly $10,800 and the median school full-time equivalent (FTE) funded enrolment was 271, based on 2009 FTE funded enrolments reported on My School.
As school size progressively increases above the median school size the impact of key factors such as economies of scale and location mean that NRIPS decreases. As school size decreases below the median school size, per student income rises markedly.
Figure 8.7             Distribution of school net recurrent income per student by school size, school type and school location
                               (FTE funded enrolments), 2009
Figure 8.7 Distribution of school net recurrent in
Figure 8.7 Distribution Second
Source: ACARA (unpublished)
Net recurrent income per student and school location
Table 8.11            Median net recurrent income per student by school location, 2009







Very Remote


2009 median NRIPS ($)






2009 median FTE funded enrolments






Source: ACARA (unpublished)

Table 8.11 above, and Figure 8.8 below, outline median school size across metropolitan, provincial, remote and very remote locations. School size is smallest in very remote and remote locations.

Based on individual school data reported on My School, median school size is 60 in very remote and 72 in remote locations while being highest at 374 in metropolitan schools. Median NRIPS is correspondingly high for smaller size schools, at $23,782 in very remote and $18,268 in remote locations. Median NRIPS is lowest at $9,942 in metropolitan schools.
Figure 8.8             Distribution of school net recurrent income per student by school size, 2009

Figure 8.8 Distribution of school net recurrent in

Source: ACARA (unpublished) 

Net recurrent income per student and school type

Table 8.12             Median net recurrent income per student by school type, 2009






All school types

2009 median NRIPS ($)






2009 median FTE funded enrolments






ACARA (unpublished)
Figure 8.7 and Table 8.12 above also reveal the layered nature of NRIPS according to school type, with primary schools having the lowest levels of NRIPS, followed by secondary, then combined and finally special schools. Table 8.12 provides details of the number and median NRIPS of schools by type.

Net recurrent income per student and school sector 

Figure 8.9             Distribution of school net recurrent income per student for school sectors by school location and type, 2009
Figure 8.9 Distribution of school net recurrent in
Figure 8.9 Distribution Second
Source: ACARA (unpublished)
The charts at Figure 8.9 highlight the relatively high costs of operating remote and very remote schools, special schools and government combined schools. However, it should be noted that, within the government sector, combined schools are mainly established only in remote or sparsely populated areas and that their high cost of operation is related to their size and location.
Across locations, the government sector has the highest NRIPS except in metropolitan locations, where schools in the independent sector have a higher mean NRIPS than the government sector. The Catholic system has the lowest median NRIPS for all school types.

¹ The MCEECDYA National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Non-Finance) is published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia and is the source of school number and student enrolment data reported elsewhere in this report, including in the Additional Statistics, and in previous editions of the National Report on Schooling in Australia. Data included in this section on a per school or per student basis cannot be directly compared to data reported elsewhere in this or previous reports. Further information on the NSSC is included in the Glossary of this report.