More families are choosing independent schools

School zone


An increasing number of Australian families are choosing to send their kids to private schools. Enrolments at independent school rose in 2018, despite average private school fees increasing by 3.2%, well above average wage growth and inflation.

Real enrolment trends

We analysed the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to identify changes and trends in school enrolments. We took into consideration the impact of population growth to work out the real enrolment trends over time.

While actual enrolment numbers increased at both Independent and public schools in 2018, we found that real enrolments at independent schools increased by 0.39% while public and Catholic school enrolments fell.

National Change in School Enrolments 2018

Looking at enrolment trends over the past 5 years in NSW and Victoria, the two biggest states, we found that enrolment at independent schools have grown year-on-year and outpaced both public and Catholic schools. The 5-year change in enrolment at independent schools was 6.83% in NSW and 3.60% in Victoria.

Change in School Enrolments - NSW

Change in School Enrolments - Victoria

Reasons why parents are choosing independent schools

Research by the Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA) found most parents are choosing independent schools because they believe their kids will get a better education. The most common reasons parents enrolled their child at an independent school were good teachers, overall educational excellence, good facilities, and the supportive and caring environment.

Top reasons parents chose an independent school
Source: Factors Influencing School Choice, ISCA

Higher fees not deterring families

The rise in Independent school enrolments is against the backdrop of substantial increases in private school fees in recent years. This means more families across the country are facing increasing pressures from the cost of education, especially given that private school parents are spending 35% of their net family income on school fees.

That’s why we believe it’s vital to provide options for parents to make education a more manageable expense by paying smaller amounts that fits around their budget. Families can continue to send their children to the school of their choice with the peace of mind that school fees will be taken care of.

About Edstart

Edstart was founded by a passionate team of Australian education and finance specialists who believe in the power of education and are committed to building a solution to support access to learning.

To see how we can help with your school fees and receive tailored funding options, visit our main website.

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