Strong Community Support For Independent Schools

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16th February 2010, 11:38am - Views: 800
Strong Community Support for Independent Schools

MEDIA RELEASE

16 February 2010

A new survey has found that almost 70% of Australians agree that independent school students should receive government funding support for their education, up from 51% in a similar survey conducted in 2001.

The survey also showed that for those parents who have children at government schools, four out of every ten would prefer to send them to an independent school, if fees were not an issue.

The survey, conducted by UMR Research and commissioned by the Associations of Independent Schools of New South Wales and South Australia and Independent Schools Queensland, involved a nationwide telephone survey of 1000 respondents and focus groups in several states.

The Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, Dr Geoff Newcombe, said the survey confirmed Australians were very much focussed on the child when it came to government funding of school education.

"It is pleasing that there is such strong support for independent schooling", Dr Newcombe said.

"This shows that the quality of education being provided in independent schools is meeting the needs of parents and students."

Dr Newcombe also said: "Australians clearly have a strong view that all students, regardless of where they attend school, should receive appropriate funding support for their education. This shows that the Australian Government was on the right track when it made the decision to continue the SES funding scheme."

"However, there is still a great deal of misinformation about how much funding independent school students receive from the government, with fifty-eight per cent of respondents believing the myth that they receive the same or more than a student in a government school."

Some of the key findings of the report include:

* Independent schools are well regarded by the general public, with 75% expressing positive views and increasing to 94% for those with children attending an independent school.

* For those parents who have children at government schools, four out of every ten indicated they would prefer to send them to an independent school, if fees were not an issue.

* 58% of respondents believed, incorrectly, that each student in an independent school received the same or more government funding than a student in a government school. In 2001, 63% shared the same belief.

* Almost 70% of people rejected the notion that independent schools should not receive financial support from governments. This has increased from 51% in a 2001 survey that asked a similar question.

* Overwhelmingly (88%), respondents agreed that our education system should have a mix of schools provided by both the government and non-government sectors.

"As many Australians are still getting the wrong information about schools funding we will continue to challenge those who deliberately mislead the public on this topic", said Dr Newcombe.

Currently, average yearly funding per student from all Australian governments, State and Commonwealth, is:

* $12,639 for each student in government or public schools
* $6,076 for each student in independent or private schools

According to the Productivity Commission, total government (State and Federal) recurrent funding for government schools in *2007-08 was $28.8 billion, compared to just $2.9 billion on independent schools. (*Source: Productivity Commission 2010 Report on Government Services)

Dr Newcombe said: "This research shows that Australians believe that parents should be able to choose the type of school they want for their child and, importantly, that their choice should be supported by government funding".

"It also shows that the current mix of government and non-government education provision has strong support from the community and is seen as a key factor in maintaining a high quality education system."

A copy of the key findings Community Attitudes Towards Independent Schools - along with detailed survey data can be found at www.aisnsw.edu.au

Media contact: Malcolm Hunt on (02) 9299 2845 or 0412 885 136


SOURCE: The Association of Independent Schools of NSW





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