What parents are expecting from their school
The happiness and wellbeing of their kids while at school is paramount for parents, with concerns over student mental health increasingly in the spotlight. We asked 1,535 families about what they were looking for in a school, and time and time again, happiness and wellbeing came up as a top factor.
Parent considerations for leaving a schoolWhen asked why they would consider changing schools, the biggest reason given by parents was if they felt their kids were unhappy or lacked support at 69%. This shows that parental concern for wellbeing is especially high, with mental health issues among students on the rise, particularly since the return to in-classroom learning since the end of the pandemic.
While many schools already have a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing, these findings suggest they could prioritise it further. The survey results also showed that parents appear to be less concerned about factors schools traditionally place more focus on, such as academic performance (20%) and specialised pathways (16%).
Following student wellbeing, financial pressures were also given as a major reason why parents would consider leaving a school. These include fees becoming too high (52%), loss of income (51%), and cost of living pressures (49%).
With high interest rates and a growing cost of living causing many families around Australia to tighten their budgets, some are encountering financial pressures they have not had to consider since before they began paying for school fees.
Choosing a schoolAlignment with family values was the most important factor for parents when choosing a school at 61%. The values that matter to parents include traditional values such as religion and beliefs, as well as the educational style of the school such as Steiner schools. The social values and ideals of schools are also a big concern for parents.
Following from alignment of family values, care and support for their kids’s wellbeing (54%) was the next biggest consideration parent’s had when choosing a school. This ranked above academic performance (47%) and specialised pathways (26%), areas schools traditionally tend to focus on, and further highlighting the trend of student wellbeing.
What parents want more support onThe top three factors where parents wanted more support from their schools were again centred around their kids’ wellbeing and fulfilment. These were more attention to individual students (24%), wellbeing programs (23%), and career and pathways support (20%).
Beyond wellbeing, other significant concerns for parents were centred around financial factors and as alignment of family values. This is understandable given record numbers of families are facing mortgage stress, with this number likely to intensify as more come off the the looming mortgage cliff as the year moves forward.