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Greens push to improve transparency in private schools

25 January 2024

Private schools will be required to publicly disclose how they spend Government funds and data on student attendance, behaviour and parent complaints, under a Greens’ bill to be introduced into Parliament next month. 

Private schools currently receive $290 million dollars in State Government funding each year, but unlike public schools there is no requirement for private schools to report on how the money is being spent or to disclose information about student behaviour and complaints against staff. 

“Private schools in SA are receiving significant public funds, and they should have a responsibility to report on how that money is being spent. Many private schools run significant fundraising and advertising operations. Surely, the public has a right to know if taxpayer money is being used to subsidise this kind of activity,” said Greens Education Spokesperson, Robert Simms MLC. 

“While some of SA’s elite private schools are building luxury facilities like new swimming pools, other public schools are crying out for basic infrastructure. That’s not fair, particularly in the middle of an economic crisis.” 

“South Australian taxpayers have a right to this information, and parents will no doubt welcome this transparency so that they can make informed choices about their child’s education.” 

The bill will require private schools to publicly report on the following on an annual basis: 

  • Audited financial statements, including income from all sources and expenditure on all purposes 
  • Attendance rates for each year level and whole school 
  • Number of complaints made, including complaints about student behavior and professional behavior 
  • Workforce information, including staff qualifications, numbers of casual, contract and permanent staff, and proportion of teaching staff vs non-teaching staff 
  • Number of Work Health and Safety and student related incidents 
  • Fee structure

The requirements will only apply to schools that provide Reception to Year 12 education. 

Public schools are currently required to provide the Department of Education with information on student behavior and complaints. The Greens are proposing that private schools now be required to provide this information in their annual reports.