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Child wellbeing & unforseen increases in school fees worry parents: survey

Australian parents with children in non-government schools worry about how they would deal with unforseen school fee increases and nominate child wellbeing as their top concern.

These are among the findings of a national survey of almost 700 parents commissioned by the Australian Parents Council (APC).

The survey revealed that parents are concerned about the potential impact of the Australian Government’s new funding arrangements for independent and Catholic schools which will use income tax data as a measure of parents’ capacity to contribute to school fees from as early as 2020. This will replace an area-based measure that has been in use for more than a decade.

According to APC President Shelley Hill the survey findings revealed a level of nervousness among non-government school parents about the potential impact of the new system on pushing up school fees higher than would ordinarily be expected.

According to survey findings about future changes to the way non-government school funding will be calculated:

  • 85% of parents with children at non-government schools reported that they would struggle to pay higher than expected fee rises and be forced to make ‘significant sacrifices’ to keep their children at the school of their choice
  • 25%  said they would have to move their children to different schools
  • 75% want to know the likely impact of government funding changes on fees at their child’s school
  • 65% are worried about fairness
  • almost 50% want more information about the accuracy of using income tax data.

According to APC President Shelley Hill: “Higher than expected fee rises would have an enormous impact on hundreds of thousands of families, who have chosen to send their children to non-government schools and put enormous pressure on government schools.

“The government needs to address all parent concerns and make information widely available to families. We are after all the biggest stakeholders in this debate, who ultimately foot the bill for our children’s education. Parents need to have confidence that the new system is going to be fair for everyone.”

On broader education issues, the survey also identified key areas of concern for parents:

  • 85% were concerned about the quality of teachers
  • 78% about child wellbeing
  • 72% about provisions in place to help all children achieve their best
  • 65% about tailored teaching and learning for each student.

According to the APC, “when asked what the single most important issue was, children’s wellbeing came out on top”.

Further information on the survey findings can be found in the APC Media Release | READ MORE 

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