A recent survey of 2000 parents from public, Catholic and independent schools has indicated a shift in the priorities and expectations of parents in each sector.
This comes as no great surprise given the social and economic turmoil caused by the Covid Pandemic, new and expanding technologies, the changing nature of the workforce and future uncertainties – whether real or perceived.
Many of the survey responses came in as expected with parents making choices for independent and Catholic schools based on faith, safety and instilling confidence and self-esteem, and public-school parents focusing on the ‘essential skills’ of English and math in preparation for work.
There was very little margin between the public, Catholic and independent schools with parents expecting their children to be prepared for employment (58, 50 and 54 percent respectively).
Looking more to the future
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the survey was the rise in parents choosing independent schools for networking opportunities for future careers. This amplifies the concern many parents have for the future of young adults preparing to enter life beyond school and study.
Then there was the matter of extra-curricular activities offered in independent schools, such as sport, music and dance, all activities that instill confidence, teamwork and higher- level thinking. Parents are prepared to pay top dollar to see their young people develop in a more rounded curriculum than many schools are able to offer.
Surveys can be cumbersome beasts
As much can be learned from the questions not asked, or the responses left out as those that are published. There is far more nuance in the reasons parents choose the education they do for their children. Personal values, community, cultural and economic factors come into play. Distance and disadvantage often mean there is no choice; but no choice need not be a disadvantage in a country as diverse and rich in teaching excellence, ideas and resources as Australia.
Parents are looking for more from education than just economic results
What stood out in this survey was the shared expectation of parents across all sectors – that schools play a role in the personal development of young Australians. That education should provide the life skills that prepare students to enter their adult and working life with confidence. They want their children not only to be ready for work, but prepared for a productive and satisfying independent life beyond school.
We’re there already!
These survey results come as no surprise to us. For a number of years now Work-Ready has been developing the type of resources that cater to the expectations of parents, educators and industry – and more importantly, help young Australians to explore their strengths, interests and priorities, navigate their job search, and develop their business skills, money skills and life skills in a fun and practical way.
Our resources are researched and designed to make your teaching life easier. They can be used in the classroom or at home. They are mapped to the Australian Curriculum and can be easily mapped to any state curriculum.
The Work-Ready program and student workbooks help students to create opportunities and gain confidence and self-esteem as they make considered study, work and life choices.
The Work-Ready resources are used in work, careers and home group classrooms in all school sectors throughout Australia.
If you’re preparing for the 2022 school year, jump onto our website and explore Work-Ready’s free registration and the bookshop. You are sure to find a resource suitable for your classroom.