Survey: Half of private school parents would move their kids into properly funded public system

Australian Greens

The Greens say new survey data explodes the myth that private schools are providing “choice” for parents, with half of parents of private school students saying they would consider moving their child to the public system if it was resourced properly.

The Lonergan Research poll of 1003 Australian parents of public and private school children, commissioned by the Greens, found that 48% of parents of private school students, and 61% of parents with children in both public and private schools, would look to move their child out of the private system if government schools were better funded.

The survey also found:

  • Nearly two-thirds of all parents, including 46% of private school parents, think that public schools are underfunded
  • 7 in 10 parents agreed that public school teachers are overworked
  • 81% of all parents believe that pay and conditions should be improved to attract and retain public school teachers, while almost three-quarters of parents said teachers are not given enough respect

Nationally, only 1.3% of public schools receive their full Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding from governments, while 98% of fee-charging private schools are overfunded.

As stated by Greens spokesperson on Schools, Senator Penny Allman-Payne:

“This survey data shows that half of all parents of private school children would likely not have sent their kids to private school if the public system had been properly funded.

“This is a damning indictment of the decades-long bipartisan neglect of public schools and it reveals that many parents aren’t ‘choosing’ private schools – they’re being left with no choice at all.

“Under Labor and the Coalition, ‘choice’ has replaced equity and universality at the heart of our public institutions, and nowhere is this more apparent than in our schools.

“They’ve relied on this neoliberal weasel word to justify pouring billions into the private system while the public system languishes. But far from actually creating more choice, this has done the exact opposite, forcing many parents into a decision they never wanted to make.

“If parents of kids in private schools could genuinely choose where to send their kids, we now know what would happen – half of them would move their kids to the public system.

“Governments should not be in the business of spending public money to subsidise a private system that leaches resources from public schools and entrenches inequality.

“Australian parents – both public and private – know that the system is rigged against public schools. They know that they’re under-resourced, that teachers are overworked, and that more has to be done to support public school teachers to do their jobs, and to make our public schools inclusive and engaging for all kids.

“No more ‘pathways’ and ‘transition arrangements’. Labor needs to deliver 100% SRS funding to all public schools at the start of the next National School Reform Agreement in January 2025.

“And if the only way that can happen is by taking public money from the overfunded, fee-charging private system, then so be it.”

/Public Release. View in full here.