However, the methodology used in the report has been called into question by non-government education bodies.

Using My School data, the ABC analysed funding gaps between schools of similar “socio-educational advantage, size, location and type”.

The results show that many private schools receive more public funding than equivalent public schools.

In 2016, 35 per cent of private schools received more government funding than the typical similar public school, according to the ABC.

This number is up from just five per cent in 2009.

When looking at the percentage of private schools receiving more funding than any similar public school, the ABC put the figure at 85 per cent.

In 2009, it was 58 per cent.

The ABC also looked at the median level of 'socio-educational advantage' across all schooling sectors, and found that inequality is rising.

Students at public schools have become more disadvantaged since 2009, while the opposite has happened at Catholic and independent schools.

This index of socio-educational advantage is based on the education and occupation of students’ parents, the Indigenous status of students and the remoteness of the school – factors the ABC says have the strongest influence on how students perform.

The story notes that income and wealth are not considered in this index.

The Catholic and independent sectors have strongly rebutted the ABC’s findings, arguing that they are based on flawed methodology.

“Comparing schools with similar socio-economic characteristics using ‘per-student’ funding data is fraught with problems because it ignores variables such as school size and teacher salaries,” Ray Collins, acting executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC), said.

“The data on the My School website does not represent the funding governments provide to system schools, but the funding that school systems allocate to meet schools’ needs, based on size and student disadvantage.

"Systems must reallocate funding from their larger schools to their smaller schools to address student need and cover costs.

“The key point here is ‘do government schools attract more public funding (state and federal combined) than Catholic schools?’ and the answer is ‘yes, they do’.

"That has always been the case and remains the case today.”

The Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA) was similarly dismissive of the report, labelling it ‘selective’ in a statement.

“The ABC’s recent analysis of school funding fails to understand the complexities of how schools are funded across sectors, both at Commonwealth and state level, and the unique characteristics of schools that contributes to their funding.

“ISCA does not agree with the methodology used by the ABC.

"It lacks balance comparing median government school funding to individual independent school funding and fails to understand that individual schools will receive different levels of funding for many reasons, including school and student characteristics and which state the school is in.

“The schools shown by the ABC are also clearly used to portray an image that many independent schools are receiving more than a ‘typical’ government school.

“ISCA’s own analysis shows that these schools were already poorly funded schools within their own government sector, with 65 per cent or more of ‘typical’ government schools also receiving more public funding than these schools.”

EducationHQ recently published a feature story outlining key events in the history of Australian school funding.