A new survey of Australian parents has revealed that while the overwhelming majority of parents are happy with their child’s schooling experience, their expectations of the school – and their desire to be involved – are on the rise.

The 2019 McCrindle survey canvassed the views of 1002 parents from a mix of Government, Catholic and Independent schools around Australia in July. It also conducted focus groups with 14 teachers and in-depth interviews with five school principals.

It found three in five parents (60%) expect weekly communication from their child’s school and one in every 14 (7%) expect daily communication in the form of emails, calls, blogs and texts.

Additionally in the last two years two in five parents (41%) have become more engaged with their child’s school, with almost half (46%) making that involvement a priority in their lives.

Teachers, the report found, are feeling the pressure of that increased desire for involvement and information.

“The accessibility of teachers to parents through email and diary communication has a role in the rising pressure teachers feel,’’ according to the report.

Some parents are also under pressure from information overload.

“Although parents desire communication, the flipside is that three in ten parents (30%) are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive.’’

Parents happy to share responsibility

Almost all parents surveyed (97%) believed schools should play a role in student wellbeing and almost half said their expectations on the school in that regard had increased in the last five years.

However parents were happy to treat other areas as a shared responsibility between themselves and the school.

“Parents see an equal responsibility between themselves and the school in the areas of academic development (46%), developing social skills (41%) and discussing social issues (39%).”

The majority of parents also said they would support the teacher if a discipline issue arose.

“Positively more than four in five parents say that if their school contacted them about their child speaking back to the teacher there would be consequences at home (86% yes definitely/somewhat),’’ the report found.

“So while there may be instances where teachers are not feeling the support of parents, more than four in five parents are choosing to support teachers and provide consequences for misbehaviour.’’

Schools mostly getting it right

There were many positive findings in the report, including that 68% of parents believe their child’s school has just the right amount of information communicated about school events and 65% about opportunities for parent involvement in school activities.

And almost all parents (89%) are satisfied with their child’s school experience, with more than half “extremely or very satisfied’’.

“Overall satisfaction is relatively similar across government and non-government schools (93% non-government, 87% government), although parents of non-government schools are more likely to be extremely or very satisfied (61% compared to 47%).’’

Interestingly the report found in the area of school communication levels, parental expectation was often shaped by parents’ previous experiences with childcare centres, where communication occurred on a daily basis.

“One in five parents whose child was enrolled in childcare prior to attending school (19%) received daily updates on their child.’’

Find out more

You can download and read the 2019 McCrindle report The future of education in full here.