Media release: Understanding school choice

11 October 2021

The 2021 School Choice Research Report was released today by ISA.

This latest research looks at the priorities, opinions and perspectives of around 2,000 parents of students at Independent, government and Catholic schools, from across all state and territories in Australia. It unearths what parents want from education and look for in a school, what information is needed to make decisions about schooling, who influences this choice, and for the first time, the impact COVID-19 has had on parents’ perceptions of schools.

Margery Evans, CEO ISA says “unsurprisingly, most parents want more from education than just academic results. They are looking for schools to play a part in their child’s personal development and provide skills that will be used throughout life.

As the peak body for Independent schools in Australia, we believe choice of school should be available to all Australian families, but there are many reasons why parents choose the schools they do for their children.” Ms Evans said.

The report found that parents in the Independent sector believe their school is achieving what they want and expect. An overwhelming 82% said Independent schools have adapted well to the changing conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that they were unlikely to change the type of school their child(ren) attended.

Over two-thirds of parents said good communication, moving quickly to online learning, the quality of remote learning programs and familiarity with technology, were integral to the success of the Independent sector in responding to a changed schooling environment.

In 2021, as in 2016, the main reasons for choosing independent schools were educational excellence, good teachers, good facilities, a supportive and caring environment, and an education delivered in line with their values and beliefs.