SCHOOL CHOICE SURVEY

August 2021

Unearthing what parents want from education and look for in a school.

Report highlights

INFOGRAPHIC

(PDF download)

 

Report summary

School Choice reveals that 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.

This is the third school choice research report produced by ISA. It is designed to unearth what parents want from education and look for in a school, with a lens on the priorities, opinions and perspectives of parents with children at Independent schools.

From the initial data collection in 2006 to this 2021 report, the research shows that parents’ hopes and the reasons for their educational choices remain largely unchanged. It also shows that Independent schools are achieving what parents want and expect from them. Today, 87% of Independent school parents said they are likely to recommend an Independent school to friends and family with educational excellence being cited as the main reason.

We also learn that Independent school parents (85%) believe Independent schools give them the chance to choose a school in line with their values and beliefs, and that the school meets the needs of their children (79%).

The report gives us a greater understanding about the reasons parents choose between Independent, Catholic or government schools.

We learn what information they need to make decisions about schooling, who influences their choice and, for the first time, the impact COVID-19 has had on parents’ perceptions of Independent schools.

School Choice: A Research Report 2021, reveals that most parents want more from education than academic results. They are looking for schools to play a part in their child’s personal development, prepare them for employment and provide skills that will be used throughout life.

In primary school, learning the fundamentals of reading, writing and numeracy are critical, followed by children gaining confidence and developing a love of learning and curiosity. In secondary school, parents value gaining confidenceand high esteem even before students being able to think for themselves and academic achievement.

Educational excellence, good teachers, good facilities and a supportive and caring environment are the top four reasons parents choose Independent schools. Across the board, parents’ choice of school is influenced by word of mouth from friends or other parents, as well as attending school open days, interactions with school staff and personal experience.

How Independent schools responded to COVID-19 generated interesting findings: Independent school parents (82%) said their school had adapted well to the changing environment and cited good communication (68%) and moving quickly to online or remote learning (74%), as integral to this success.

The survey shows the vast majority of parents of children in Independent schools believe their chool is doing well in preparing their children for the future and providing them with confidence and ositive foundations. So much so, that 80% are planning to stay right where they are.

85%

Parents value choosing a school that aligns with their values or beliefs