The Kiwi Education Report 2022
What matters to Kiwi parents when looking for the right school
We all want to give our kids the best start in life. That’s why finding the right school is so important to us. But we have very different views on which schools would best set our kids up for success.
Based on a survey of 1,010 Kiwi parents with children under 20, the Kiwi Education Report explores the state of schooling in New Zealand, diving deep into Kiwi parents’ views on public and private schools, co-ed vs. single sex schools, zoning rules and tertiary education.
Public schools are the top pick
In the great ‘Public vs. Private Schools’ debate, Kiwi parents have given the highest scores to public schools. Our research found that more parents prefer public schools (36%) over private (26%).
One of the pros of public schools is that kids come from all walks of life. Most Kiwi parents agree that public schools offer greater opportunities to socialise (63%) which in turn, better prepares children for the real world (57%) – though single sex schools are also thought to have their benefits. Surveyed parents think single sex schools are more achievement-focused (25%) and allow our students to concentrate on their studies more (35%).
Some of our parents who were surveyed think private schools are overrated, saying public schools are just as good. High costs, social pressures and elitism in private schools are some of the reasons they don’t want to send their kids there.
But that’s not to say parents don’t recognise the perks of private schools. The view that private schools provide high quality facilities, education and teachers, is still very much intact. Our report reveals that parents feel every kid gets more attention from their teachers because of smaller classes — and they perform better as a result.
While many of us think our kids will be better prepared to face the real world if they go to a public school, some feel private schools have a more positive impact on our children’s values, morals, character, social networks and job opportunities.
Unfortunately, whether or not parents want their kids to go to a private school, the majority stated they can’t afford to send them to one (81%).
Being adaptable is key to making a good impression
As social distancing rules kept changing at a moment’s notice, most parents and teachers were worried about children falling behind in their education (57%). How would they continue to learn if they're not in the same classroom as their teacher? This has been the standard way to learn for generations, many thought.
Some of our schools figured out the answer faster than others, transitioning to virtual learning to keep kids on track. Private school parents were generally happier with their kids’ homeschooling experience (71%) throughout the lockdowns than public school parents (54%).
Given ongoing concerns about the pandemic slowing down kids’ progress, schools will need to make sure they have everything in place, including technology, to respond quickly to anything unexpected. This will be key to gaining the confidence of parents looking for the perfect school for their children.
Zoning rules are leaving parents with little choice but to move
Regardless of their preferences, a lot of parents surveyed don’t think they’ve got many options due to our zoning rules (70%) in New Zealand.
That’s why so many are planning ahead to escape zoning restrictions before their children start school. Our research found that parents are already or likely to consider: moving suburbs (49%), spending more on property (43%) and getting scholarships to schools in other zones (44%).
Practical learning is more valuable than sitting in a classroom
Looking ahead, most Kiwi parents still feel having a uni degree will make their children more appealing to future employers (70%), with many even willing to take out more than $30,000 in debt to fund their children’s tertiary education (41%).
But they also recognise that universities can fall short when it comes to providing practical or vocational skills — so, they have a lot to learn from apprenticeships and institutes of technology or polytechnic colleges, according to the majority of parents surveyed (91%).
Learning on the job is also more valuable than sitting in a classroom listening to lectures and writing notes, according to the majority of parents (87%), with many even saying too many people go to university just for the sake of it (77%).
From primary to tertiary education, the way we teach and learn is continuing to change fast. With Kiwi parents keen to set their kids up for success, our schools will need to make the grade on what matters most to parents today.
Download the full research report
- Kiwi Education Report [PDF]
7 Feb 2022