Submission to Review of the SES score methodology

CSA today provided a submission to the The National School Resourcing Board (NSRB)  Review of the SES Score methodology.

In the review we noted that incorporation of the capacity of the school community to contribute to the resourcing of the school, rather than actual contribution is consistent with broader policy approaches, often expressed in terms of ‘mutual obligation’ or similar.  It has been a long-standing feature of school funding.

We pointed out though that since a proxy is being used it is essential that it be accurate, reflective as far as possible of genuine capacity rather than some artificial imputed capacity.  It is recognised though this desire for accuracy must, in practice, be mitigated by the need to limit additional administrative burdens on schools.  It was also acknowledged that any nationally consistent model will inevitably produce some analogous results.  An appropriate appeals mechanism is essential to deal with these types of results on a case by case basis.

Our submission agreed that the Principles outlined in the Issues Paper provide a sound framework for the assessment of a capacity to contribute measure.  One factor not perhaps sufficiently reflected is the value of retaining a measure with a long history which is well understood and has been the subject of extensive review and critique. The SES methodology has a degree of acceptance and understanding simply because of its longevity which we indicated should be acknowledged.

We pointed out to the Board that, arising from the acceptance and longevity of the SES, any refinements or improvements will be closely scrutinised.  This will especially be the case if these refinements result in significant changes to current scores which impact funding.

The validation of any of the proposed ‘improvements’ will need to be robust and clearly communicated and explained to affected stakeholders.  As part of the analysis of any proposals direct engagement with schools is also essential to get a ‘reality check’ which simply cannot be obtained from high level data alone. If there are refinements or improvements which result in changed funding outcomes it will be essential that appropriate transitional arrangements are put in place.

A full copy of our submission can be downloaded from the link below.