Revealed: Where Australia's most expensive schools are located

Revealed: Where Australia

Sydney is home to Australia’s most expensive public and private education, with Brisbane boasting the nation’s most expensive Catholic schools.

The Futurity Investment Group’s ‘Planning for Education Index’, released today, found that Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city for a public and private education, while Brisbane is the most affordable city for a public education. However, it is the most expensive for parents choosing a Catholic education for their child.

Adelaide was found to be one of Australia’s most expensive cities for a public education, yet one of Australia’s most affordable cities for parents sending their kids to private schools. Perth was named Australia’s most affordable city for a private education.

The index identified Melbourne as one of Australia’s most expensive cities for an education, irrespective of the school type.

Futurity Investment Group also discovered educating a child at home during the COVID-19 pandemic last year cost parents an extra $1,856, with 33% of parents experiencing either ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ financial pressure as a result of the pandemic. Thirty-six per cent reported taking annual leave or unpaid leave to help home school a child.

One in three (31%) parents who took annual leave or unpaid leave to help home school a child during the COVID-19 pandemic earned substantially less than the previous year, with 51% of those reporting their earnings fell by more than $10,000.

The research also found 39% of schools are likely to increase school fees this year as inflation starts to put increasing pressure on the economy.

A recent study from Finder revealed that Australian parents are expected to shell out a hefty national spend of $20.3bn on school expenses this year.

Essential supplies like textbooks, stationery and uniforms alone will cost parents $570 for primary school and $780 for secondary school, amounting to a total of $2.5bn across the country.

Tuition and other hidden costs such as school excursions and transport add another $3,621 for a child in primary school. This figure doubles to $6,957 for a child in high school – with tuition remaining the highest expense ranging from $175 for primary schools to $23,269 for private high schools.

Inflation a key factor

The release of the ‘Planning for Education Index’ follows an analysis released last week by education payment provider EdStart which found that private school fees have increased back to pre-pandemic levels amid rising cost pressures.

According to the analysis, private school fees rose by an average of 2.9% this year, up from 1.05% in 2021.

Edstart CEO, Jack Stevens, said inflation will be a major factor on the minds of schools during 2022 and 2023.

“It is driving up cost inputs for schools, as well as putting pressure on household budgets,” Stevens told The Educator.

“Schools are continuing to try to strike the right balance between covering the ever-increasing cost of education delivery without dramatic increases to parent fees.”

Stevens said that while fees are on the rise, enrolments continue to remain strong throughout the independent school sector.

“While fees will continue to be a factor under consideration by families, the pandemic has allowed many independent schools to demonstrate their value to families through their ability to be agile and parent and student-centric, for example with remote learning implementations and other COVID-19 responses.”