When the 2019 Planning for Education Index was released in January, there was a flurry of media coverage across the country. The report detailed the estimated cost for educating a child born in 2019, with the intention of preparing parents not only for the projected expense of tuition but all the other ‘little’ things that hit the wallet, such as uniforms, textbooks and excursions.
There seemed to be a different narrative for each part of Australia, from Brisbane, perhaps surprisingly so, being the most expensive place to educate your child through the state school system to Catholic education costing in excess of $150,000 in Adelaide despite no other state capital reaching the national average.
The research, in a nutshell, revealed that:
- Brisbane is Australia’s most expensive city for a government school education
- Adelaide is Australia’s most expensive city for a Catholic school education
- Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city for an independent school education
- Regional Victoria is Australia’s most expensive area for independent school education
- Regional Queensland is Australia’s most expensive area for Catholic school education
- Regional NSW is Australia’s most expensive area for government school education
However, despite the temptation to compare the three sectors (Catholic, independent and government) on how much more one may cost over the other, it’s important to delve a little deeper into where that money goes.
Schools that charge a higher premium often commit a significant amount of time, money and resources into initiatives that cannot be replicated. Think Geelong Grammar School’s Timbertop campus, which has long been a major selling point for the school due to its reputation as a challenging yet rewarding experience for students.
This idea of a holistic approach to education – one that equips students with skills beyond pure academia – is one of the advantages that may be on offer as a result of paying higher fees. ATAR scores and exam results are important, but so is respect, integrity and having a well-rounded view of the world students enter when they leave high school.
Yet this isn’t to say these experiences cannot be found at schools where the cost is less substantial. Money alone does not create great people or environments – it is the staff, the culture and the students themselves that contribute to creating an engaging and rewarding school community.
Any way you slice it, 13 years of schooling is a significant financial investment, but by conducting research and identifying the right fit for your child, is a worthwhile one too.
Rebecca Wainwright is the K-12 Account Executive at Good Education Media. She is passionate about assisting schools with showcasing the very best of what they have to offer prospective, current and former students. Find out more about Bec and her role here at Good Education Media.