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A summary and discussion of the recommendations relating to non-government schools made by the Interim Committee of the Australian Schools Commission (the Karmel Report)

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The Parliamentary Library


Research Request Received:

A Summary and Discussion of the Recommendations

Relating to Non-Government Schools made by the Interim Comm-i ttee of the kustralian Schools Commission (the Karmel Report).

Bassoc PaReis -This Paper prepared by: Education and "elfare Group

Date: 14/8/73

A Summary and Discussion of the Recommendations Relatinn: . to Non-Government Schools made by the Interim Committee of the Australian Schools Commission (the -Karmel Report)

Appointment and Terms of Reference

-The Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission was appointed on 12 December, 1972 by the Hon. E.G. Whitlam, Q.C. The terms of reference of the Committee were:

Pending the establishment under statute of the Australian Schools Commission which will make continuing arrangements, the Interim Committee will:

(a) examine the position of both government and non-government primary and secondary schools

in all States and in the A.C.T. and the N.T.;

(b) make recommendations to the Minister for Education and Science as to the immediate financial needs of schools, priorities within those needs, and appropriate measures to assist

in meeting those needs, including -

(i) -grants-from the Commonwealth to the States in re c± of

non-government schools;

(ii) funds for government schools and grants to non-government schools in the A.C.T.

and the N.T.;

(iii) the conditions under which those grants are to be made available.

2. In carrying out its task the Interim Committee will:

(a) work towards establishing acceptable standards for those schools, government and non-government

alike, which fall short of those standards;

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(i,) : 6-11-.e. into . : 7,A .

(i) where necessary, both the expansion of existing schools and the establishment

of new ones;

(ii) the particular needs of schools for the handicapped, whether mental, physical or

social, and of isolated children;

(iii) the diversity of curricula to meet differing aptitudes and interests of


(iv) plans for development of particular areas;

(c) promote the economic use of resources;

(d) consult with the States and representatives of non-government schools and with appropriate authorities

in the A.C.T. and N.T.

3. The grants recommended by the Interim Committee will be:

(a) for the period 1 January, 1974 to 31 December, 1975;

(t) in addition to existing Commonwealth commitments;

(c) directed towards increased expenditure on schools

and not in substitution for continuing efforts by 1. the States and non-government school authorities.

The Report was tabled in Parliament on 30 May, 1973 and in a Press Release on 13 June, 1973 the Minister for Education, Mr. Kim E.

Beazley, announced that the recommendations in the Rep ort had been accepted by the Australian Government with one exception. The exception is that grants to independent secondary schools which already exceed the standards target set for 1979 should cease from this year

(1973) and not be phased out over 1974 and 1975 as reco=ended by the

Report. Consideration of Administration proposals in Chapter 13 has

been deferred.

1. Para. 1.1 p.p. 1-2

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Summary of Policy and Recommendations relating to non-Government Schools

Go. n . 77 7 )-0-+ nC i 7): 1 eS

The Ciammittee recognises that the grants which it recommends

should atm at improving the standard of-education by increased

expenditure and should not be a substitute for continuing efforts by the States and by non-government school authorities.

The "continuing efforts" required of these bodies would be met by non-government schools if the income from their awn resources (fees collected, funds raised by parents and services contributed by

teachers, particularly religious teachers in Catholic schools) rises at the same rate as the average Australian income. As the biggest increase in expenditure is likely to be rises in salaries, particularly

in Catholic schools as the proportion of religious teachers declines, there is likely to be no significant increase in the standard of educational services through such an increase in private resources..

It is assumed that the contribution of State Governments to non-government schools will continue on the same basis as at present and the extent of Commonwealth assistance will depend. on this. The desirability of Commonwealth - State co-ordination is stressed.

Equality and Divers it

The Committee has favoured eauality of standard of education (whether government or non-government) above diversity in its approach to high standard non-government schools. It values the degree of diversity represented in the existence of non-government schools.

The right of parents to educate their children outside government schools and the high standards reached by some non-government schools are appreciated by the Committee. Ideally all schools should be raised to these high standards and all would then be equally eligible for

support. The Report states.however:

" In accordance both with its terms of reference and with its own convictions, the COmmittee•has given priority in the use of public funds to schools whose standards are below certain desirable levels, thereby deferring the eligibility for extensive sup rort of schools

presently having very high standards until-others have

been raised nearer to them. It _accepts the right of

parents to choose schooling above the level to which the Committee's recommendations are designed to raise government schools and non-government schools which are at

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present below them; it does not accept their right to pUblic assistance to facilitate this choice,"

In. the future it. is envisaged that with an increase of public

aid to non-government schools a change in the relationship between government and non-government schools will become inevitable. The role of fees in the financing of schools, an increase in the

independence of government schools, joint planning and operation of facilities within an area,are some of the developments which will.

need to be examined.

Present Position Equality of Opportunity

Until recent years this concept was applied only to those schools fully supported by tax money and non-government schools were disregarded. The range of inequality of resources in these schools is very wide, however, some having three times as many resources as schools in the public sector and many considerably fewer.

Retention Rates

Proportion of students entering Secondary School who remained to Final Year of Secondary Schooling August 1972.

Government Schools 27.6% Catholic Schools 35.2%

Non-Catholic ) Non-Government) Schools 86.5%

The indications are that children from higher status backgrounds tend to have a higher academic performance and therefore stay at school longer and proceed to tertiary education. The Committee examines the possible causes and the role the schools should play

in both equality of opportunity and equality of outcome but stresses

that there are different interpretations of the aims of education. 2.

1. Para. 2.12, p. 12 2: Para. 3.27 p.p. 26, 27

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Enrolment Trends

Enrolment trends indicate that there is a slower rate of expansion in the non-government school sector in both Primary and

Secondary Schools.

Administration of Non-Government Schools

Non-Catholic schools generally function as independent units though in some cases several schools may be administered in a loosely federated form by one board of governors.

There is a clear division between Catholic, schools which are

owned and operated by religious orders and diocesan schools which

include parochial primary schools and diocesan and regional high schools. The diocesan schools form a loose system not unlike the

government school system.

The sizes of non-government schools are significantly smaller

than those of government schools.

Teaching Staff

The pupil - teacher ratio in non-Catholic non-government schools

is the lowest and in Catholic diocesan schools the highest, with government schools in between.

The qualifications of teachers in non-government schools? however, are significantly poorer on average and this is particularly so in the teaching of the severely handicapped of whom non-government schools

contain a higher proportien than government schools.

Public Expenditure on non-Government Schools

State expenditure on non-government schools has shown a marked _increase in the past five years, the main factor being the per capita


Commonwealth expenditure has been through science, library and

general building grants, together with recurrent grants to non-government schools, Aboriginal advancement grants,child migrant

education'grants and isolated children grants. In addition, the

Commonwealth makes special provisions for non-government schools in the A.C.T. and N.T.


Private Expenditure on Non-Government Schools


A total of $237 m. (excluding boarding expenses) was spent on

non-government schools in 1972. This included $30 m. f om. the State Governments, $47 m. from the Commonwealth Government wi h the balance of $160 m. coming from fees, contributions, loans etc.


In both government and non-government schools the Committee found there were some schools

"where the quality of personnel, buildings aid equipment reflects an attitude towards children which, whether it arises from public indifference or ignorance, is iaie-nipatible with the manifest values of our society". 1.

The Committee feels that many of these schools, att?.nded as they are by children of relatively poor homes, compound rather than redress the socio-eConomic disadvantages of the children's background.

The Committee takes four approaches to the concept of need.

1. The need for minimum quantity and quality of resources in schools. 2. The need for a p articular level and kind of outcome from schools.

3.. The need for resources of varying types and amounts having regard

to their effectiveness in moving towards desired goals. 4. The need as defined by the extent of the cognitive, p hysical, social

or economic disadvantage of individual pupils.

The recurrent needs of non-government schools have been judged in terns of the operating resources available within them. Whether the school has been running at a surplus or deficit has not been taken into account. Where debt charges have to be covered by fees, standards, not the debts, have been taken into account.

. The Committee recognises that school needs are relative and must be considered in relation to other schools and other community needs. There are also physical limits in the Committee's two year proposals (e.g. the number of teachers available).

1. • Para. 5,1, p. 61

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Greater autonomy and flexibility in the schools are regarded as desirable and the Committee opposes the Australian Government

subjecting the schools to remote control. -. Based on an assessment of need the Committee propos s to assist at differential rates all schools that are below target tandards and

it .is . hoped that equal standards would be achieved in .al schools by the end of the 1970's. aapnlementary grants would be ma e to schools

with a high proportion of children with s p ecial needs.

Index of Need

For the purposes of assessment of need an index has been formed by which the quantity (but not necessarily quality) of recurrent

resources within a school are measured. Recurrent resourCes are defined as services of teacherf-, : administrators, support staff, consumables and equipment.

8,700 schools are assessed as forming part of systems - "systemic" schools. These include the Government school system and the Catholic parochial school system. The remaining 800 Catholic and non-Catholic non-gbvernment schools are assessed individually.

In assessing the needs of non-government schools the Committee

relies mainly on the real resources currently employed in a school.

Although there is a considerable variation (17%) in the distribution of resources in the Catholic parochial schools the index of quantum

of recurrent resource use is calculated in aggregate form for these schools on data provided to the Committee on a diocesan basis. The assessment is made on primary schools standards but other non-government schools are assessed individually on secondary school standards.

Grants to Catholic Systemic Schools

The recommendations of the Committee aim (as with government schools) at bringing the schools one-third of the way toward the 1979 target standards by the end of 1975. The Committee recognises

that the decline in enrolments which has been occurring in non.

government schools may be reversed by increased assistance and

believes it is fair and equitable to base its recommendations on this

assumption. The establishment by Catholic authorities of Boards of

Trustees of Catholic Systemic schools is recommended.

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The policy of the Committee with regard to the sizr of non-government schoolsis, in general, that it should not be taken into

account as non-government schools are not legally obligrd to aceept non-economic enrolments. The. aim of the general recurrent

grants to Catholic systemic schools is to raise the quality of schooling for a total number of children equivalent to he 1972

enrolment figures. 1.

Tho grants recommended by the Committee are intende1 to replace

the grants made under the States Grants (Schools) Act 191 2 and represent an estimated increase of 86,230,000 in 1974 an 816,200,000

in 1975. These increases indicate the generally poor standards in these schools.

Other Non-Government Schools

In the non-systemic non-government schools there is also a high

degree of inequality. The Committee feels that uniform ier capita

grants would be an expensive way of bringing about acceptable standards. Its recommendations are aimed

"at raising the standards of all schools that are below the target and at phasing out the financial sureort of the Australian Government for those

schools above that target. In recommending this action the Committee does so not because it disapproves of. high standards -'quite the reverse -but because it believes that government aid cannot

be justified in maintaining or raising standards beyond those which publicly suptorted schools can

hope to achieve by the end of the decade". 2'

3. These independent schools have been classified into 8 categories A to H, A,being those schools least in need, H. those most in need. A.

category schools already have resources well in excess of 1979 targets 4. and aid to them should be phased out by the end of 1975.

The total cost to the Australian Government will be about the same as under the States Grants (Schools) Act 1972 if the per capita grants

had been calculated in line with the increased expenditure on Government schools. Under the recommended arrangement there will be a significant

re-distribution of Australian Government aid within this non-government

school sector.

1. For disbursal of grants to Catholic Systemic Schools see p. 83. 2. Para. 6.46. p. 86 3. The list was published on 6 August, 1973. 4. For tables see p.p. 87-8

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A problem which the Committee suggests the Schools Commission will need to examine is that although the level of private contributions to non-government schools is expected to rise in propertion to

increases in average income, fees and salaries within the schools will

rise at the same rate (salary rises will be highest in Catholic schools with the decline in the number of religious teachers.) The

volume of resources in a-school. will not therefore be raised by increased private contributions and by the end of the decade many non-government schools will need very high government assistance.

Building, Grants

It is recommended that after June 1974 general building grants to non-government schools should be administered by the Schools


Although the Committee expects some self help from non-government schools in building projects it does not suggest matching grants. In

recommending grants those resp onsible should take into consideration State government contributions and the ability of the School to raise funds. ..

The need for provision of new p laces in non-government schools is estimated at 15,000 over 1974-75 and in addition, the Committee feels that new Schools should be assisted with both building and recurrent grants. There is recognised also to be a need of substantial funds for replacement and upgrading of buildings. In addition, there

is an outstanding comtitment for science facilities estimated at $1,680,000. The total grant recommended for nn-government Schools

for the period .1974 to 1975 is $31,680,000 to be distributed as decided by the Commission. on the advice of Regional Boards. Building

grants for non-government schools in A.C.T. and N.T. should also be decided by the Commission from July 1974 and such expenditure should be in addition to State grants.

It is further recommended that not more than half the grants in

each stata should be available for new student places. A Building

Standards Committee should be established, to 7, ,rovide guidelines for both government and non-government school construction.



The Committee stresses the value of Libraries in both secondary and primary schools and favours the extension of the existing

secondary schools library scheme to primary schools and recommends that provision be made for training courses for adeauate numbers of

Teacher Librarians for schools- in both public and private sectors.

The present legislation for Library grants expires at the end of 1974 and by that time non-government secondary schools will have in general, substantially better facilities than government schools.

Additional grants for schools in both sectors are therefore proposed

to be administered by the Schools Commission with additional funds available for the A.C.T. and N.T.

The library facilities in Primary Schools vary greatly but are generally inadequate and in Catholic parochial schools are almost completely absent. The Committee recommends a Primary Libraries

Committee to advise the Schools Commission and the expenditure of 316,000,000 on Government Schools and 34,000,000 on non-Government schools in the period 1974-1975. The funds for A.C.T. and N.T.

should be in addition to these amounts.

Disadvantaged Schools

A high proportion of these schools are Catholic parochial schools

in major urban areas which have a large intake of migrant children.

It is recomMended that grants be made to these schools for specific

purposes and that special building grants be made to improve the environment of inner city disadvantaged-schools.

Special Education


Only 8% of the teachers in the non-government sector of special education have special training in addition to their basic training and 40% have no teacher training at all. 85% of these teachers work with moderately to severely mentally handicapp ed children. Teacher training

and the provision of increased number of student places are the two

most urgent needs.

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The Committee recommends that the Government should offer to take over all special education but non-government special schools which elect to continue should be eligible for government support if approved.

Teacher Training

In Service Courses Grants amounting to $7,650,000 for 1974 to 1975 are recommended for courses to be organised by Committees composed of representatives of State and Catholic education • authorities and other non-government schools, such courseS to be open to teachers in all types of schools.

The Schools Commission It is recommended that Australian

Government grants. should be available only to schools approved by the Commission. The Commission operating through Regional Boards which would have on them, representatives of both government and non-government schools.


Recurrent Resources Grants

These grants under the previous scheme were made by across-the-board payments on a per capita basis and this system has received general support in the non-government school sector.

The Central Commission of the Australian Catholic Bishops in

a policy statement issued prior to the tabling of the Karmel Report

stated that:

"The method by which aid is:disbursed shall not involve unequal treatment in respect of different children

in the independent system."(1)

As the Central Commission regarded per capita payments by definition as payments made by the government towards each indiVidual

child with the schools acting as trustees, it'was "unequivocably in favour of the per capita system and opposes the system of lump sums."

The-recommendations of the Interim Committee sets aside the per capita basis for recurrent expenditure grants and substitutes the

payment of lump sums to systemic schools on the basis of resource needs.

SinCe then the Central Commission has not made a detailed statement and has merely noted that the Karmel Rep ort requires careful study".


(1) Catholic Weekly, 7 June 1.973.

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Non-Systemic, Non-Government -Schools

The division of non-systemic Catholic and other non-government schools into categories with the recommendation that aid to Category

A. schools be phased out over two years has been criticised as "discrimination against excellence" by independent school authorities.

It is pointed out that although the best equipped non-government schools are to be denied assistance with recurrent expenditure, the

best equipp ed government schools are not. This highlights one of the problems and the possible inequity of using the same index for schools which are part of a system (systemic schools) and individual schools. In the disbursal of funds to systemicschools the Report

"hopes that effort will be made to ensure that schools are treated

on an equitable, although not necessarily uniform basis". 1 ' The same decision about distribution is not left to the non-systemic


The submissions of the independent schools to the Committee favoured a uniform basic per capita grant with allowances for cases

of disadvantage on the grounds that children in government schools were provided with "free" education regardless of parental income

and families choosing independent schools should also be treated equally. Resources in independent schools are largely dependent on

parental income and although the Committee states that the fiscal capacity of parents to contribute to the education has not been taken into account, it is felt that )

in effect, it becomes a major factor

in the determining of "need".

The Committee, however, stresses that its first aim is to achieve equality of standards by the end of the 1970's. Therefore, if a school has resources already in excess of those standards, it should

not be considered in need' of assistance. Once equal standards are attained all schools in the Committee's view would then be eligible for assistance.

. The criticism that "higher fees" schools are automatically Penalized is not altogether fair. - Only recurrent resol.rces are taken into account. If, therefore, high fees are charged and used for payments on loans or for capital expenditure and not on high equality'

equipment and staff, the school might not be in the higher categories

according to the standards index.

1. para. 6.26, p.78.

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Criticism has been made of the statement that the Committee does not accept theright of parents to public assistance to facilitate their choice of schooling for their children. 1.

This criticism

overlooks the qualification that it is the right of parents "to choose schooling above the level to which the Committee's recommendations are designed to raise government and non-government schools which

are at present below them" which is not to receive public assistance.

.It is also -maintained that a fees. subsidy would enable an increasing rather than a diminishing proportion of Australian children to attend independent schools as it would make these schools

less financially exclusive. The loss of Government subsidy will make these schools even more elitist than they arenow and confine their patronage to the "super rich".2 ' Although rises in fees in line with salary increases are inevitable the fees of the schools which will no

longer receive per caPita grants will need to rise at a higher rate to

=Ter the9-1W p oftotal annual recurrent expenditure.which the Australian Government is currently providing. The estimated increases which will be necessary range from 15% - 20A.

It is not known whether the per capita assistance received since 1969 has altered to any significant extent the availability of higher fee schools to the children of lower income parents. No figures are available on the number of free or assisted Places available in

independent schools, partly because this is regarded as a highly confidential area both from the point of view of the child and of other parents whomight object to high fees if a substantial amount of the

annual budget was set aside each year for free places and scholarships. However, two schools have indicated that 403,000 and e35,coo are used annually. in this way and some schools have indicated that roughly

the amount of the per capita grant is so used. Some assistance may still be available to these schools from the States but no information on State aid policy is as yet available.

Government Polley

Liberal Party spokesmen have joined with the representatives of independent schools in accusing the Government of breaking election promises by agreeing to the Phasing out of per capita grants to schools

in Category A. and later by announcing the cessation of such aid after

1. Alan Scott Executive' Officer of National Council of Independent Schools. The Age, 19/6/73. 2. .Mr. J.R. Rundle, Chairman Independent Schools of S.A. The Advertiser, July:4th, 1973.

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1973. , This decision, taken by Cabinet, was announced by the Minister for Education, Mr. K.E. Beazley on. 13 June, 1973.

When the Report was tabled in the House on 30 May, 1973, Mr.

Beasley indicated in a personal explanation that he belived

" every school in the country, including the Geelong Grammar School, should receive a basib grant from the 0o=on•ealth and that the Commonwealth should have an 'identity with the education of every child". 1.

Government policy prior to the adoption of the Karmel Report was that new forms of aid should be in addition to existing grants.

This was stated by the present Prime Minister in a policy speech on 20 June, 1972, in a letter tc'the Chairman of Independent Schools on 13/12/1972 and is also.implied in the term of reference 3b of the Interim Committee. A change of policy ap pears to have tdken place.

Phrases in the Report may indicate that the Government g4ve further directions to the Committee which have not been published. 2'


The Administration proposals in Chapter 13 have been the subject of considerable criticism, mainly on the grounds that they would be cumbersome in practice and provide for an unnecessary duplication of

committees. Major conflicts of attitudes in the prop osed representation on the regional boards with resultant deadlocks are also envisaged.

The auditing procedures reeommended by the Committee also pose many problems and acceptance of this section of the Report has been deferred by the Government. Some private schools feel that they should be accountable only to their Boards and to their clientele. If these

are satisfied no further accountability should be necessary.

1. Hansard 30 May, 1973 p. 2844 2. Para. 1.14, p.5; para. 1.19, p.6; p ara. 6-47, p.86.

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Implications of a Needs Basis for Government Aid to Non-government Schools

One of the implications of a needs basis for governMent aid

to independent schools is that a substantinl portion of Ouch aid will

be directed to the Catholic sector of education. The other denominations will attract far less aid and this could i*volve allegations of religious bias on the part of the governmfint and possible charges of being unconstitutional.

The non-Catholic non-government schools are faced with the following choices. They can:

1. lower standards and thus be eligible for governmnt aid but risk losing clientele;

2. go out of existence becL,use no longer economic;

3. charge such high fees that only a few of the wealthiest p arents are able to afford them.

An area whichthe Committee did not examine but which should be of concern to the Schools Commission is the financial structure of independent schools. To look only at the resource usage is to have a superficial picture of the actual conditions in the schools.

Schools.with debts, schools running at a loss, small schools, the

place of administrative costs and superannuation will all need to be considered. Whether the independent schoolswould wish to give this typ e of information is not known.

A combination of across-the-board per ca p ita grants and per capita grants on a "needs" basis is operating in South Austrnlia.

In addition to the flat rate grant of $20 for each student, $110,000 was given to independent schools-in 1971, $330,000in 1972 and $550,000 in 1973, to be distributed on the basis of need. The Cook

Committee was appointed to make recommendations on disbursal and has found that all South Australian private schools have a need for additional State grants although the needs vary greatly. The needs are primarily financial and all schools are budgeting for a deficit

this year despite the present State and Commonwealth Grants.

The Cook Committee found that the problem facing most of the least "needy" schools was that of keeping their fee structure at a level which parents could afford and of servicing the capital debts acquired in providing good Quality education. (1)

(1) For a further discussion of the-Cook Committee Report see Add endum,

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Long Term Policy TAth eRegard to Independent Schools

Some critics assert that the Karmel Report heralds the end

of State aid to independent schools. A careful reading of the Report does not support this view although a change in the relationship

between the public and private Sector is perhaps envisaged.

The principle is clearly stated (1) that independence is no bar

to government aid but the determining factor is equality of standards.

The policy for the future is suggested in the following paragraph and once more there is no suggestion that government aid

to the private sector will cease, though some adjustment in organisation is envisaged:

"The unco-ordinated expansion of the private sector could lead to a wasteful duplication of resources, although

a smaller average size of schools in big cities mi2ht be

a positive gain. As public aid for non-government schools rises, the possibility and even the inevitability of a Changed relationship between government and non-government schooling presents itself. The level- of resources in all

schools having access to public funds would be determined

on essentially common criteria. Moreover, as an aspect of the accountability which must be a feature of aid, the standards of non-government schools will come under public scrutiny and the levels of aid related to those standards will bring about a position where the role of .fees in the

financing of schools will have to be re-examined."(2)

ASsessment and Summary

Some Effects of the Karmel Re- port on non-Government Schools.

Catholic Parochial (systemic) Schools

Government aid promised to these schools recognises:

(a) the principle of government assistance to independent schools;

(b) the generally poor resources available in these Schools;

(1) e.g. Four Corners, 14.7.1973, where the Headmaster of a Queensland Independent School averred: "I would sayquite definitely that the long term plans include the phasing out of all forms of aid to non-government schools." (2) Para. 2.13, p.12.

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(c) that these schools cater for a large proportion of migrant and disadvantaged children;

(d) the need for substantial government assistance if these schools are to improve their standards.

The aid promised is aimed at raising these schools to the target standards by 1979. The Committee has recognised that an increase in enrolments will Probably take .place as a result and has allowed for this in its calculations.

Another result of the implementation of the Committee's recommendations will be that one religious denomination will be singled out to receive increasingly substantial government assistance.

The consequent religious discrimination may be incidental but will

be none the less evident.

The Catholic parochial education system, which hasbeen

criticized as a wrong use of limited parish resources by a number

of Catholic educationists and, parents, will be reinforced and reaffirmed by Government support.

Effect on Non-Systemic, Non-government Schools.

By recommending the phasing out of governMent aid to non-Government schools in category A, the Committee accepts the principle of aid being given not on a per capita basis to all students but as a grant related to the resource needs of schools.

It is possible that such a p olicy could influence these schools

to reduce standards in order to be eligible for government assistance.

Certainly if only resources within the school are considered there

could be an incentive to use funds to service loans and reduce debts

rather than to improve resources.

If the schools in Category A and the other high categories which are to have reduced aid do not lower their standards their fees

will have to increase and the number of free places and scholarships reduced. This will mean that some p arents will no longer be able to send their children to these schools which will then serve only the

wealthy few who can afford them. Thus the freedom of choice for some

parents to choose the type of schooling they want for their child will no longer in' fact exist.

Budgeting may be very difficult for non-government schools without a clear statement Of intention with regard to future policy.

Final Rote

The Karmel Report was produced in just over five months and inevitably many asp ects require clarification.

Among them are:

1. The failure to publish the index used means that no real examination of its ap7)lication is possible.

2. Linked with (1) is the question of whether the same index can be used for systems and individual schools.

3. The lack of examination of the total financial structure of non-government schools could mean that vitally relevant facts were not considered.

4. The effect of the phasing out of government aid on Category A schools is not examined.

5. Whether there was a change of direction from the Government is not made clear.

6. The administration and auditing p roposals have profound

implications in respect of independence and decentralization.

7. The situation of independent schools in the A.C.T. and N.T.

is obscure as they are entirely dependent on the Australian Government for aid, having no additional State grants. .

Unlike the Deeble Report (Health), no time has been given for public discussion of the Karmel Report before its acceptance by

Cabinet (with the exceptions already mentioned).

Some of the far-reaching im p lication s of the Report of the

Interim Committee will need to be examined in more detail by the Schools Commission.

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Subsequent Developments

On August 6th 1973 the list , of gen.eral recurrent grants

to non-systemic, non-government schools was released.


In the accompanying press statement the Minister for

Education, Mr. Kim E. Beazley pointed out that although the original

estimate for the number of Category A Schools had been about 140, in

fact this number had been reduced to 105 as the position of a number

of small schools had been reconsidered. The total number of schools classed

as non-systemic, non-government had been reduced from the original

estimate of .800 to 734 as further checking had caused some schools

to be reassessed as systemic.

The amount saved byeliminating aid to category A schools

after 1973 is assessed at $5m. The total amount to be spent on schools

in categories B to II will be $66m in 1974 and 1975, the total amount

to be spent on all non-government schools over the same period being

about $193m.

In the foreword to the list of schools according to

categories compiled by the Interim Committee an explanation is given

of. how the assessments were made. The national average running cost

per pupil in government schools in 1972 ($511 per year for secondary

and 8293 per year for primary pupils) was used as a base with which

all other schools were compared. A standardized basis was derived

for teachers salaries by taking the average of salaries paid in all

government systems. Where salaries exceeded the Government average, the

actual rather than the.standard salary was used. Expenditure on

equipment, ancillary staff and other operating items was added to

expenditure on teacher salaries and this, was expressed on a per pupil

basis which could be compared with the average spent per pupil in

the government sector. It is stated that

"Fees charged were not taken into account,

nor were debt charges or. thevalue of

assets whether in building equipment.or

investments. Boarding fees and extra

expenses attributable to boarding were

excluded." (1)

Although the Committee had originally intended not to

take school size into account in the non-government sector (2) it

(1) Foreword, paragraph 4.

(2) See :Report pars. 6..39 p. 67' -• n n ••-

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that "the special problems associated with some small schools required

particular consideration ) The Committee recommends that the SChools

Commission investigate the viability of small schools stating that "it '2)

does not wish to encourage the uneconomic use of resources".;"

. As the assessments were made on 1972 data any school for

which that year was atypical can apply for a reassessment by the

Schools Commission.

Non Svstemié non-government schools arranged in catefrories of need

The publication of the list of general recurrent grants

to non-systemic scheols has raised questions about the criteria of

need used to decide the categories.

The chief criticisms have been

1. The full index of recurrent resource usage has still not been


2. As teachers' salaries are the largest single item -in a school's.

recurrent expenditure undue emphasis has been placed on pupil-teacher

ratio. The Karmel Report itself states that it is anxious not to

exaggerate the importance of this. (3)

3. Boarding facilities are an important feature of many independent

schools and are particularly important for country children who

are being educated in the city. These have not been considered. 4. Of the 105 schools in Category A only 2 were Catholic increasing

the proportion of aid toC n.tholic schools in relation to other

independent schools.

5. A Needs Committee (the Cook Committee) for non-government schools

in South Australia found that all non-government schools were in (4 )

need of additional state grants although the needs varied greatly.

All schools were budgeting for a deficit in 1973 despite present

State and Commonwealth per Capita grants.lis mentioned earlier°

the least needy schools were faced with the problem of keeping their

fees at a level . parents could afford. and already high . fees had

-caused .a decline in enrolments. The schools were incurring huge cap ital debts to provide good education. The point is made that

most schools show up well on pupil-teacher ratio. The list of schools

arranged according to need differs in many instances from the

) Foreword p aragraph 6 idea ) See para 6-22 p.63 (4) Report issued 19 July 1973 (5) See p, 15

- 21 -

•Interim Committee's placing,


indicating that the use of different.

criteria yields widely divergent results.

The nine criteria in assessing need used by the Cook

Committee were :-

. Number of religious and lay staff, and

salaries paid.

. Nunber of para-professional staff in

relation to student numbers, and salaries

paid. •

. Number and size of classes, and pupil-teacher ratio.

• Income lost through granting of concessions

such as free books and part remission of fees.

. Expenditure on teaching aids, audio-visual

equipment, library books and sporting equipment.

. Sources of income including fees; capital debt,

and the fee increases needed to remove the debt.

. The number of boarders, the boarding deficit

and the increase in day fees needed to reduce

this to zero.

• Funds raised by parents and friends organisations.

The Schools were arranged in categories A to D, A being (1)

those most in need, D those least in need. Of the Schools in Cook

Category. A, the Interim Committee placed 4 in F, 6 in G, 2 in H; of Cook Category B .the Interim Committee placed 1 in A; 2 in D, 1 in E,

5 in P, 4 in G and 4 in 14 of Cook Category C, 5 were in A, 2 in B,

2 in C, 1 each in D, F, G, and H; and in Cook Category D there were

2 in A, 2 in H, 2 in C and 1 in D.

In a comment on the 'Carmel Report the Chairman of the

Cook Committee the Rev. R.A. Cook, said

"The Karmel Committee's work demonstrates the

danger of any formula which does not take into sufficiently careful account the almost infinite

diversity of independent schools.

This diversity, of course', is based on values which 2)

are at the root of the whole independent s7stem". (

Education and T.qelfare Croun LEGISLATIVE 13. 7-SEARCH SEKVICE

. (D,B.) 14/8/73

(1) The Interim Committee's.categories are in reverse order from A to Hip

.A being, those least in need, H those most in need:

(2) The Advertiser, 9 August, 1973.