Better funded public schools would lure half of private parents – survey

Better funded public schools would lure half of private parents – survey

Half of parents of private school students say they would consider moving their child to the public system if it was resourced properly, new survey data shows.

The Lonergan Research poll of 1,003 Australian parents of public and private school children, commissioned by the Greens, found that 48% of parents of private school students, and 61% of parents with children in both public and private schools, would look to move their child out of the private system if government schools were better funded.

The survey also found nearly two-thirds of all parents, including 46% of private school parents, think that public schools are underfunded and that seven in 10 parents agree that public school teachers are overworked.

Other data from the poll revealed 81% of all parents believe that pay and conditions should be improved to attract and retain public school teachers, while almost three-quarters of parents said teachers are not given enough respect.

The survey’s findings suggest declining public school enrolments could be reversed if funding was more equitably distributed between the sectors.

Student enrolment figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in February found that public schools experienced a drop in student enrolments for a second successive year, while Independent schools recorded a 3.3% rise in student numbers.

Greens spokesperson on Schools, Senator Penny Allman-Payne said the new survey “explodes the myth that private schools are providing choice for parents”.

“If parents of kids in private schools could genuinely choose where to send their kids, we now know what would happen – half of them would move their kids to the public system,” Allman-Payne said.

“Australian parents – both public and private – know that the system is rigged against public schools. They know that they’re under-resourced, that teachers are overworked, and that more has to be done to support public school teachers to do their jobs, and to make our public schools inclusive and engaging for all kids.”

Allman-Payne called on the Albanese Government to deliver 100% SRS funding to all public schools at the start of the next National School Reform Agreement in January 2025.

“If the only way that can happen is by taking public money from the overfunded, fee-charging private system, then so be it.”