Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Determinations/Other as made
This determination sets the SES scores for schools of specified approved authorities under the Act.
Administered by: Education and Training
Registered 17 Dec 2013
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR11-Feb-2014
Tabled Senate11-Feb-2014
Date of repeal 01 Jan 2018
Repealed by Other
Repealing Comments Enabling provision repealed by Schedule 1, Part 1, item 30 of the Australian Education Amendment Act 2017.

Explanatory Statement

Australian Education (SES Scores) Determination 2013

Summary

The Australian Education (SES Scores) Determination 2013 (Determination) is made by the Minister for Education under subsection 52(2) of the Australian Education Act 2013 (Act).

The purpose of the Determination is to set the SES scores for schools of specified approved authorities under the Act.

Background

The SES score of a school affects the amount of Commonwealth funding that is payable under the Act to the approved authority for the school. (SES is an acronym for “socio-economic status”).  A school’s SES score determines its “capacity to contribute percentage”, in accordance with a table set out in section 54 of the Act.  In turn, that capacity to contribute percentage is a factor in the formula that determines the “base amount” of Commonwealth funding payable to an approved authority for a school, as set out in section 33 of the Act.

The lower a school’s SES score, the lower its capacity to contribute percentage, and the greater the base amount of Commonwealth funding to the school (on a per-student basis). Conversely, the higher a school’s SES score, the higher its capacity to contribute percentage, and the lower the base amount of Commonwealth funding to the school (on a per-student basis).

The Act provides that certain schools have a capacity to contribute percentage of 0%, and hence have no SES score: government schools; special schools and special assistance schools for students with disability and other high-needs students; schools with a majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; and schools in remote areas that are not serviced by government schools (see subsections 52(6) and 54(1) of the Act).

For all other schools eligible for Commonwealth funding, an SES score needs to be determined. There are two methods by which a school’s SES score can be determined under the Act. First, it can be determined by the Minister by legislative instrument under subsection 52(2). Second, it can be determined by the Minister by administrative decision under subsection 52(3).

The second method is the same method used to determine a school’s SES score under the Schools Assistance Act 2008 (former Act), and will be used to determine an individual school’s SES score. The method for determining an individual school’s SES score is set out in Subdivision B, Division 2, Part 3 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013 (Regulation).  It essentially uses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics about the income, education and occupation characteristics of the Statistical Areas in which the students of the school reside to generate a number representing the socio-economic status of the student cohort, with 100 being the Australian “average” SES score.

Determination of a school’s SES score by legislative instrument under subsection 52(2) is done when all schools of a particular approved authority will have the same SES score.  In determining the SES score of a school of an approved authority under subsection 52(2), the Minister must have regard to the “relevant arrangement” of the approved authority, if it has one (see section 20 of the Regulation).  A “relevant arrangement” is a written arrangement between the Commonwealth and an approved authority relating to grants of financial assistance provided in accordance with the Act to the authority for the school (section 6 of the Act).  There are currently no relevant arrangements with approved authorities whose schools need SES scores.

Nevertheless, the basis for negotiation with the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) was that the SES scores for all Catholic systemic schools would be calculated on a student-weighted system-wide average. The student weighted average SES for a system is calculated by multiplying the SES score of each individual school in that system by the number of enrolments at each individual school, then summing this calculation and dividing the total by the total number of enrolments in that system.

A slightly different method is used to calculate the SES score for each school of the Catholic Education Office of the Australian Capital Territory. That SES score is the average SES score for all Catholic systemic schools across Australia.

During negotiations it was also agreed to extend the option of a student-weighted system‑wide average method of determining SES scores to approved system authorities in the independent sector. Eleven of the 18 independent school systems have agreed to use that method to determine the SES scores for all of their schools. The remaining seven independent school systems will have the SES scores for their schools determined administratively on an individual school basis under subsection 52(3) of the Act.

Consultation

There was extensive consultation with representatives of non-government schools (the only schools affected by the Determination) as part of the discussions that led to the preparation of the Act. That consultation included significant negotiation on funding matters, including specifically on the methodology for calculating SES scores for schools. The Determination gives effect to the outcome of that consultation.

Regulatory Impact Statement

This Determination does not require a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) or a Business Cost Calculator Figure.

The Determination directly and materially affects the financial interests of the not-for-profit sector, in that it is a key instrument determining a factor that calculates the Commonwealth funding for non-government schools. However, the Determination gives effect to a policy already enacted through the Act, and is simply the mechanism to give effect to that policy.  The Act itself will be the subject of a post-implementation RIS.

Authority

The Determination is made under subsection 52(2) of the Act.  Although the Act does not commence until 1 January 2014, the Minister can make the Determination before that date in reliance on section 4 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

In determining the SES score of a school of an approved authority under subsection 52(2), the Minister must have regard to the relevant arrangement of the approved authority, if it has one (see section 20 of the Regulation).  There are currently no relevant arrangements with approved authorities whose schools need SES scores, although as noted above, the Determination is consistent with agreements reached by the former Government with representatives of non-government schools.

Explanation of Provisions

Sections 1 and 2

Sections 1 and 2 of the Determination are formal provisions setting out the name and date of commencement of the Determination.

Section 3

Section 3 of the Determination sets out the SES scores for the schools of the 19 approved authorities mentioned in the table in the section, being the eight State and Territory Catholic school systems, and eleven school systems in the independent sector.


 

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Australian Education (SES Scores) Determination 2013

 

This legislative instrument is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Legislative Instrument

The socioeconomic status (SES) score of a school affects the amount of funding that is payable under the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) to the approved authority for a school. A school’s SES score determines its “capacity to contribute percentage”, in accordance with a table set out in section 54 of the Act. In turn, that “capacity to contribute percentage” is a factor in the formula that determines the “base amount” of funding payable to an approved authority for a school.

 

The Act provides that certain schools have a “capacity to contribute percentage” of 0%, and hence have no SES score: government schools; special schools and special assistance schools for students with disability and other high-needs students; schools with a majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; and schools in remote areas that are not serviced by government schools.

 

The determination of a school’s SES score by legislative instrument under subsection 52(2) of the Act is done when all schools of a particular approved authority will have the same SES score.

 

This legislative instrument determines the SES scores for the approved authorities listed in the instrument.

 

Human rights implications

 

The instrument engages the following human rights:

 

Right to Education

 

The instrument engages the right to education which is set out in Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The right to education recognises the important personal, societal, economic and intellectual benefits of education. It requires education be available, safe, and appropriately resourced, dependent on the needs of the child.

This legislative instrument engages the right to education by giving effect to the “capacity to contribute” mechanism in the Act. The instrument operates to differentiate the base amount of funding provided for the education of students by reference to the school communities’ socio-economic status. In doing so, it assists in allocating funding to schools in greater need of that funding, thereby increasing access to, and improving the outcomes of, school education.

 

This legislative instrument is compatible with the right to education.

 

Right to Equality and Non-Discrimination

The instrument also engages the right to equality and non-discrimination which is found throughout the international human rights treaties, including Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 2(2) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The right to equality and non-discrimination confirms that all people are equal and deserving of the same respect. It recognises that people may need to be treated differently in order to achieve equality, for example, by targeting disadvantage.

The right to equality and non-discrimination is engaged and promoted by the instrument which gives effect to the “capacity to contribute” mechanism in the Act. This mechanism enables the base amount of funding provided for the education of students to be differentiated, on a needs basis, by reference to the school communities’ socio-economic status. In doing so, it assists in allocating funding to schools in greater need of that funding, thereby increasing equity in access to, and improving the outcomes of, school education. The instrument therefore promotes the right to equality and non-discrimination. This legislative instrument is compatible with the right to equality and non-discrimination.

 

Conclusion

This legislative instrument is compatible with human rights because it is part of the mechanisms in the Act that promote the human rights of equity and education.

 

 

Christopher Pyne

Minister for Education