Australia/August 26, 2021/By: RENEE CLUFF, EDITOR/Source: https://www.tropicnow.com.au/
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show independent schools are the fastest-growing school sector in Australia, with about 35 per cent of Australian parents now opting to pay fees for non-government schools.
That figure, which sat at around 17 per cent a generation ago, is now among the highest of OECD countries and a new survey indicates why.
ABC’s Australia Talks initiative found that parents at independent schools have a 92 per cent satisfaction rating for the education their children receive.
That compares with 85 per cent for the Catholic sector and 77 per cent for public schools.
- Survey finds independent schools have a 92% parent satisfaction rating
- 35% of Australian families now send their children to non-government schools
- Teachers at independent schools also report high levels of satisfaction
Helen Lawie, who has two sons at Trinity Anglican School, told Tropic Now she is not surprised.
“We are so happy with the school and the quality of the teachers and all the staff,” she said.
“It has been an enriching experience for both our sons, now in grade 7 and grade 5, whether through a flair they have that is encouraged and nurtured, or a learning gap that is supported.”
Trinity Anglican School (TAS) is one of the highest-ranked schools in Queensland for academics, continually rivalling the likes of prestigious, large and expensive private schools in the south-east corner.
The moderate-fee school, which has a primary campus at Kewarra Beach and a primary and secondary school campus at White Rock, is affiliated with the Anglican Church and its Christian values.
Another TAS parent, Donna Turnbull, said it offers a more personalised experience.
“We wanted our children to have a balanced education whilst also being able to partake in opportunities other schools were not able to offer,” she said.
“Space camp, Round Square and an outstanding outdoor education program come to mind.
“The faculty is committed to a common goal and are always approachable.
The level of feedback regarding individual children shows they become invested in each and every student.”
Another parent, Kevin McLean, also agreed that the fees he pays at TAS provide value for money.
“We chose the school prior to moving to Cairns,” he said.
“The children we met during the visit were polite and confident and the school environment had a very positive feel to it.
“We were impressed with the school grounds, teaching staff and extra-curricular activities offered.”
The survey found teachers at independent schools are just as satisfied as the parents, with a 94 per cent satisfaction rating.
That compared with 87 per cent for Catholic school teachers and 82 per cent at government schools.
TAS Principle Paul Sjogren told Tropic Now that independent schools can be more agile in their decision-making, which provides both job satisfaction for teachers and results for students.
“Teachers at TAS carry out action research projects each year to identify ways they can improve student learning outcomes through improved teaching practices, and we monitor outcomes to assess their efficacy,” he said.
“We are able to create a learning program and approach based on evidence, rather than being beholden to the latest educational fads.
“This agility allows us to adjust to meet challenges and embrace new, evidence-based approaches to teaching.”
He said the results speak for themselves, not just at a national and state level, but globally.
“In the recent PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) that assesses 15-year-olds from countries around the world, if Australian Independent schools are considered separately, they are ranked third in the world for reading, fourth in scientific literacy and eighth in mathematical literacy.
“Our academic results place us in the top echelon of schools in Queensland.
“Most importantly, all students are encouraged to find those things they are passionate about and are supported to pursue them.
“High standards, strong pastoral care, a disciplined learning environment, outstanding staff, families who align with our culture and strong, respectful relationships create a positive culture of learning that makes TAS worth every cent.”
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.