Switching school type – primary to secondary school
Of the 22 parents interviewed, nine families (41%) changed the type of school their children attended between primary and secondary school. Most of these changes, five families, were from public schools to independent schools. Two families enrolled their children in selective public schools and two families made the decision to change from a Catholic primary school to a public secondary schools. The change from Catholic public primary schools to public secondary schools was largely motivated by strong preferences for a co-education school environment. Catholic secondary tend to be predominantly single sex schools.
In general choices followed the academic background of the parents. Choices where changed either when parent schooling experience was negative or a salience characteristic of the parent school experience was missing. For example, negative experiences from attending a regional public school leading to a preference independent school education or the absence of co-educational choice at Catholic schools leading to a change to public or independent schools.
Of 22 interviews, at least 13 families (59%) had a least one parent who attended a different type of school to their children. For eight families (36%), the choice of school type for their children was different to both parents. Of the 21 individual differences between a parent and their children’s school type, nine represented a switch from public to independent schools, three from independent to public and from Catholic to public, two from public to selective schools and two from Catholic to selective schools. One each from public to Catholic and Catholic to public schools.
Consistent with well-established research of the importance of a mother’s education to educational outcomes for children, fathers were nearly twice as likely as mothers to have children attending a different secondary school type to themselves. 59% for fathers compared to 36% for mothers.