In my last post, I looked at a relatively wealthy enclave in Sydney, and how the local primary state and Catholic schools compared. I've now run the numbers on 17 primary schools in the Fairfield-Cabramatta area. This is a region in Western Sydney with lots and lots of migrants and it's got pockets of nasty.
First cab off the rank - there is a special school in the area. I didn't look into it too closely, but it gets funding of $82,908 per head.
The breakdown of the 17 schools is as follows - one special, one Independent, 4 Catholic and 11 State. The average ICSEA score for the area is 946. Over my way, it's 1117 - a significant difference in average family incomes.
Over my way, the State schools have higher ICSEA scores than the Catholic schools. It's very much the reverse in Fairfield - the average state school score is 924, compared to 990 for the Catholics.
As far as speaking English (or not speaking English) is concerned, the average of the two systems is almost exactly the same - around 92%. Note that the Independent school is nearly 100% - it's an Assyrian school.
Then we have income per head - the Catholics are clearly lagging here. The Catholics get an average of $8,134 per head compared to $9,415 for the state schools (and I took the special school out to stop it skewing the numbers). That's about 16% more per head for the state schools.
I've redrawn the income per head graph to show the income of each school in this area as a multiple of the school with the lowest income. Interesting to note how much more some of the state schools are getting than their Catholic brethren. The state school in the area with the highest income per head gets 50% more than the poorest Catholic school - a massive gulf.
This graph shows the income quartiles. This is almost the opposite of our area - out this way, 40-60% of families are in the top quartile, and only 8-10% are in the bottom one. In Fairfield, most families are in the bottom quartiles. The state schools clearly have a bigger share of the bottom quartile, but the Catholic share is still very significant.
So in a high income area, the difference in funding between Catholic and state schools is negligible - a few hundred bucks per student. However, in low income areas, the state schools streak ahead by 15% - even though they are drawing students in general from the same LBOTE and bottom quartile populations.
One last graph, and then I'm calling it a night. The graph above shows income per student for state schools, with the low income Fairfield area in red, and the high income area in blue. What I would have expected is that the DET would be pouring lots of money into schools in low income areas, and less money into high income areas. That's largely true - but there are some outliers. For instance, the state school with the lowest average income per student is also in the poor area. The state school with the fifth highest income per student is in the rich area. How does that work out?