Sydney’s private school parents are coughing up to 72 per cent more to put their kids through secondary schooling than a decade ago, according to The Good Schools Guide’s latest data.
The figures — calculated from 2009 to 2016 — show Local Government Areas (LGA) including Blacktown (51.5 per cent), Camden (50.5 per cent), Penrith (47 per cent) and the Inner West (43 per cent) are home to some of the highest school fee increases in recent years.
Hunters Hill topped the chart with a 72 per cent school fee growth, followed by Ku-ring-gai at 56 per cent, the northern beaches at 53 per cent and Penrith at 47 per cent.
Mosman then came in with 42 per cent, followed by Parramatta and Lane Cove at 40 per cent, Canterbury-Bankstown at 37 per cent, Hornsby at 32 per cent, Central Coast at 31 per cent and Campbelltown at 13 per cent.
Ranking 383 non-government schools in New South Wales, the Good Education Group’s data shows the state was also the third most expensive to send a child to school in, compared to Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
Good Education Group head of product, Ross White, said this was the result of fewer schools being analysed in other states.
“The approach taken hides a bit of the details,” he said.
“Schools in NSW are probably the most expensive, but the state also has the most amount of schools.
“If you think about all the smaller regional catholic schools, which are typically quite cheap, and you add them into the mix, the overall state average is brought down.”
In terms of the fees and fee increase average per LGA, Mr White said it varied depending on the school’s location, what courses and extra curricular activities it offered, and its expansion over time.
“You might find a building fund or a special levy that represents a new gym the school is building one year, which may cause a bit of a spike … but the vast majority of these figures are cost of tuition,” Mr White said.
“On the flip side, the general cost of education over time has started to take into account a lot more — we experienced a technology boom (from 2009 to 2016) and students are needing more stuff for school.
“A lot of parents are looking for a wholistic outcome from their schooling — it’s about the culture, what the student takes from being involved in the values and the school’s extra curricular activities.”
While the Woollahra Council area’s average fee increase still ranked highly at 49 per cent, the municipality had the highest average of school fees per annum.
In 2009, parents paid an average of $19,141 to send one child to a private secondary school in the area.
As per the data, that figure rose to $28,536 in 2016 — a result Mr White said would continue to increase.
“If I was having a look at the Woollahra area, the difference between 2009 and 2016 is about 50 per cent … but when you look at the year on year growth, it is close to around the six per cent mark,” he said.
“In terms of mums and dads planning for tuition fees and they’re enrolling their child in fairly early years of school, a six per cent year on year increase is not a bad figure to be aware of.”
Bellevue Hill mum Lisa Alexander, 47, said she believed the schooling fees were well suited to the area and level of care and quality education provided.
Her sons Yanni, 7, and Sacha, 5, currently attend Cranbrook Junior School, and will move on to studying at the senior campus when the time comes.
“I get it. It’s a lot of money … but I look at it as I am investing in my children’s future,” Ms Alexander said.
“One of the reasons why I wouldn’t send my child to a public school at the moment — even though I do believe in public schooling — is because funding has been taken out of education across the board.
“Schools are suffering and even more children are attending … and I just look at the extra services and extra-curricular options, and I can see my children really do have the best of everything.
“That has to come from somewhere — it can’t just come from taxpayers’ money.”
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This article originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph – Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai and Blacktown listed in highest school fee increase data