National School Resourcing Board
20 February 2018

Review of the SES Score Methodology

The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the National School Resourcing Board’s review of the socio-economic status score methodology (‘the Review’).

In its submission to the Review, AHISA noted its support for the submission of the Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA), and affirming ISCA’s description of key characteristics of the current SES score methodology and its application to the SES model:

  • It is widely accepted by independent schools

  • It provides stability in federal funding arrangements

  • The administrative burden on schools is manageable

  • It encourages private contribution to Australian school education

  • It is ‘fit for purpose’.

AHISA expressed the view that the independent sector’s support for the SES model reflects an understanding that the SES score is, first and foremost, a ranking mechanism for determining per student general recurrent grants. Although it is the ‘capacity to contribute’ of schools’ parent communities that informs the calculation of SES scores, the focus of the SES score remains on the school’s eligibility for a given per student recurrent funding grant relative to the eligibility of other schools, not on identifiable parents.

The SES score methodology is seen as balancing the need for data about individual students’ backgrounds against a range of other factors such as families’ privacy, the administrative burden on schools in collecting data, shifts in accuracy of the score over time as student cohorts change, and stability in funding arrangements for the purposes of schools’ (and families’) forward planning.

The opportunity for schools to appeal their SES score if there has been a dramatic change in their operating environment has also served to maintain confidence in the use of the SES score for ranking purposes.

AHISA agreed with ISCA that ‘the fundamentals of the SES methodology remain the most appropriate methodology to determine capacity to contribute’ for the purpose of allocating federal general recurrent grants to non-government schools.

AHISA also raised in its submission general issues and concerns relating to defining and describing the intent of models for allocating Commonwealth general recurrent grants for schools and to the nature of public discourse on the funding of non-government schools.

  Submission on review of the SES score methodology - full version