A new study has found 40% of private school parents are ‘very satisfied’ with their children’s schooling – eight per cent above the national average (32%) for all school types.
This is significantly above the 27% of ‘very satisfied’ parents who send their children to public schools.
The Parents Report Card, released by Futurity, surveyed more than 1,800 parents (Government, Catholic and Independent) on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic to capture perceptions about the state of education in Australia.
The research discovered parents across each sector type reported similar levels of satisfaction with 85% of parents who send their children to Independent schools being either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their children’s schooling.
This was just ahead of parents who send their children to Catholic schools (84%), while 77% of parents who send their children to public schools are either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their children’s schooling.
The research also found 82% of parents in regional Australia are either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their children’s schooling, just ahead of parents located in Australia’s major cities (80%).
The 2020 survey shows that parents who have children in independent schools generally consider their spending on tuition costs to be good value for money.
Seventy per cent of parents who send their children to Independent schools feel either a little or some financial pressure to meet the costs associated with education (including school fees), eight per cent above the national average (62%).
“Our research was conducted on the eve of the pandemic and it shows that parents with household incomes of more than $180,000 were already experiencing financial strain associated with the costs of educating children, with 56 per cent are feeling financial pressure to pay school fees,” Kate Hill – Futurity group executive, financial products, marketing and digital, told The Educator.
“Worryingly, the research also found the financial pressure to pay school fees is negatively impacting the household’s quality of life for 11 per cent of parents who send their children to Independent schools”.
Despite the pressures they’re facing, Hill said schools continue to “go above and beyond” to help parents during this period.
“We have heard schools are freezing 2021 tuition fees, offering parents who are experiencing financial hardship payment plans and older independent schools with established past pupil alumni are reaching out to ask for donations that can be used for current students/help fund student scholarships,” she said.
“Additionally, some schools are putting on hold non-essential capital works and prioritising projects in an attempt to weather this period”.
Hill said the sector has responded quickly and is doing their best to adapt but cautioned that it is “still a long road ahead”, particularly for states like Victoria.
“In a post COVID-19 world, dedicated education savings and investment products will not only help fix the great education funding challenge for our children and grandchildren,” she said.
“However, our nation’s emerging and widening education challenges due to tougher and different job markets – for upskilling, learning new technologies and taking different career paths”.