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Qld Independent Schools Serve Families from all Income Levels: Census Data

29 November 2017

A new report out today busts common myths about parent income and school choice revealing Queensland families from all income levels choose independent schools while 1 in 2 with weekly gross incomes in excess of $2,346 choose a free state education.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson said the new report commissioned by ISQ, Income Levels of Families with Students in Queensland Schools, is based on 2016 and 2011 Australian Census of Population and Housing data.

Mr Robertson said the report demonstrated that independent schools catered for families at every income level, dispelling the perception that only high earning families can afford an independent education.

He said the report also showed Queensland independent and Catholic schools catered for similar proportions of families in the three lowest income levels at 9% and 11% respectively.

“In the three highest income levels – Queensland families earning in excess of $2,346 per week – 50% of parents chose free government schools, 28% chose Catholic schools and 22% chose independent schools,” he said.

“It’s important to remember that independent schools that serve students from high income areas receive the lowest levels of public funding. The after-tax contributions by parents are the biggest contributor to the running of these schools.”

“This parental investment has provided significant cost savings to taxpayers over many years and should be acknowledged and supported by our educational leaders and policy makers.”

Mr Robertson said changes between the 2011 and 2016 Census data showed the majority of growth in Queensland schooling was in secondary, with this growth spread across most family income levels.

“In the independent sector, schools offer a diversity of education choices across the state and are the biggest providers of boarding services in Queensland,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the report clearly revealed that families made decisions about schooling on more than income alone. 

“Parents take into account their own values and beliefs, what they can afford, and also, for some, what other areas of their lives they will or won’t sacrifice for that choice.”

Queensland’s independent sector is comprised of a variety of schools, from those centred on a particular faith or education philosophy, to those catering for Indigenous students, disengaged students and children with disability.

Mr Robertson said ISQ would provide the report to the new National School Resourcing Board to inform its review into how parental capacity to contribute to non-state school costs is calculated.

Media Contact: Justine Nolan 0428 612 315 or

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