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Parents pick private schools religiously


THE two Rs - religion and reputation - are the magnets pulling parents to private schools according to an Australia-wide survey of 1500 people.

Religion figured most prominently in choosing a non-government primary school (35%), while reputation was the most frequently nominated factor at the secondary school level (19%), followed closely by religion.

According to the survey, quality of education was nominated as the main factor by only 3% of people choosing a public primary school and 9% of people choosing a public secondary school.

Quality of education has little influence on parents' choice of school, with public schools chosen primarily because of location.

Location was most important in the choice of public schools at both primary (66per cent) and secondary (39%) levels. Reputation was the second most important reason for choice of government secondary school.

"At high school, how people view the institution as a whole is important for both the government and non-government sector," the report's author Christena Singh said yesterday.

Christian Schools Australia chief executive officer Stephen O'Doherty said the survey results did not surprise him.

"Parents expect a high quality of education, but they are also looking for hope, purpose and values," he said. "Education for this generation is more than a ticket to a career, it is also preparation for life."

There are more than a million students in almost 2800 non-government schools across Australia, with 94% of them religious schools - 62% Catholic, 30% other Christian denominations, including Anglican, and 2% other religions, including Jewish.

SOURCE
Parents pick private schools religiously (The Australian 15/12/04)

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15 Dec 2004