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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 6069

Mr Pyne asked the Minister for Education, in writing, on 12 May 2009:

In respect of the Government’s Building the Education Revolution Program and guidelines, and the application by Sunrise Christian Schools (SCS) for separate funding for each of its campuses under the initiative—(1) Is she aware that the SCS has sought special consideration in relation to its application under the Program. (2) Did her office receive a phone call from SCS regarding the guidelines for 2009; if so, (a) what advice was given to the school, particularly in respect of the guidelines, and (b) was there further communication between her department and SCS. (3) If there was further communication: (a) on what date/s did it occur; (b) what further advice was given by her department to the SCS; (c) is she aware that the SCS has five distinct schools that operate under the one administrative umbrella; and (d) will she consider the SCS’s case; if not, why not. (4) Why are multi-campus schools collectively treated as a single school under the guidelines for the Program, when previous program guidelines (Investing in Our Schools, for example) treated each campus as a single school. (5) How many (a) multi-campus schools, and (b) campuses, exist in Australia.

Ms Gillard (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

For the purpose of funding under the Building the Education Revolution (BER), schools with multiple campuses will be treated as a single school. For non-government schools, this is defined by whether the school is recognised separately under the Schools Assistance Act 2008

(i.e. with a separate Socio Economic Status (SES) score and entitlement to General Recurrent Grants).

Sunrise Christian School (covering the five campuses) has a single SES score and receives only one payment in relation to the General Recurrent Grants and is, therefore, classified as a single school for the purposes of BER. The notional allocation of funding for the school has been based on the combined full time equivalent (FTE) enrolments for all its campuses.

On 3 April 2009, I wrote to Sunrise Christian School advising them of the BER Guidelines as they relate to multi-purpose schools. I am advised that my Department wrote to the school in a similar fashion on 23 March 2009.

The treatment of multi-campus schools under the BER is consistent with other Federal Government funding programs, such as the National Secondary School Computer Fund and Local Schools Working Together program.

According to my Department’s records, there are 274 multi-campus schools in Australia.