Bankwest back to school survey

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Bankwest research shows Aussie families prefer holidays and botox to a private school education for their kids

27 January 2009

Almost half of Australian families say they are not willing to send their children to private and Catholic schools if it means forgoing annual holidays, national research commissioned by Bankwest has revealed.

The Bankwest Back to School Survey also showed that one in 25 Australians would rather spend their money on cosmetic surgery than on private school education for their children.

The sentiments come despite the satisfaction rating for private schools having gone up in the last 12 months while it has dipped with public schools.

In other evidence underlining our love affair with lifestyle over private education:

  • 27.9% of families would rather renovate the house.
  • 17.6% thought clothes, shoes and fashion accessories were more of a priority.
  • 12.7% of respondents would rather buy a flat-screen television.
  • 8.5% would rather splash out on a swimming pool.
  • 4.1% would rather get a nip 'n tuck, enhancement or Botox.

Bankwest Group External Communications Manager Adrian Bradley said the research supported many anecdotal reports of public schools becoming overcrowded with "private school refugees".

"The Bankwest Back to School Survey shows that Australians put a higher priority on maintaining their lifestyle than investing in their children's private school education," Mr Bradley said.

"Many families feel the education their children will receive from government schools is more than satisfactory and, as a result, are channelling their finances towards other priorities."

For those parents who had chosen private school education for their children, one in two agreed that it was a financial strain on the family budget.

But the additional expense was viewed as worthwhile, with more than 80% of these parents (85.5% for private schools and 84.4% for Catholic schools) saying they were satisfied with the education their children receive compared to 67.3% of public school parents.

Compared to last year's results, parent satisfaction with private schools has increased (80.4% to 85.5%) while Catholic schools increased marginally from 84% to 84.4%. By contrast, satisfaction among parents of children at public schools decreased year on year, from 72.6% to 67.3%.

Mr Bradley said almost 15% of Australians said they were considering moving their children into public schools, citing financial considerations as the driving force. Many private schools have also put a freeze on fee increases to halt any potential exodus to public schools.

The majority of private and Catholic school parents pay for their children's education with their salary (80.9%) followed by savings (16.3%). Others used annual bonuses, inheritance, additional jobs and borrowed money.

Parents cited the standard of education, discipline, better academic record and resources as reasons for choosing a private school. Other reasons included more focus on social values, networking opportunities for their children when entering the workforce, religious education and social opportunities for parents.

Mr Bradley said the results were surprising, but showed that many families had already begun to reorganise their budgets to match the deteriorating economic climate.

"It's surprising that such a high percentage of people relied on income as the sole source of funding for their children's education and we can expect this will start to bite many people if and when unemployment rises as forecast," he said.

"Given the huge financial strain of paying for private and Catholic schools, it's also surprising many families don't plan ahead and establish a savings plan years before their kids are at school."

Mr Bradley said Bankwest's Regular Saver Account, which offers a market-leading seven per cent p.a. interest rate when conditions are met, and was also voted Money magazine's Best Start-up Savings Account, is a fantastic product for families wanting to grow their savings.

Regular Saver Product features:

  • Market leading rate of 7 per cent p.a. variable
  • To receive the 7 per cent interest rate customers must: deposit between $50 and $500 per month;
  • make no withdrawals during the month; the account must be linked to another eligible Bankwest account.
  • Withdrawals and access to funds are permitted, however in any month a withdrawal is made there will be no interest paid
  • Missed payments and early closure will result in no interest being paid for that month
  • Annual sweep of balance to linked BankWest account

-Ends-

About Bankwest Regular Saver Account
Important things you should know: This product is issued by Bank of Western Australia Ltd ABN 22 050 494 454 AFSL 236872. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and whether the product is right for you. A PDS is available from your local Bankwest branch, from bankwest.com.au, or by calling 13 17 18. One Bankwest Regular Saver account per person and accountholders must be 15 years or older. Maximum allowable deposit is $500 per month. No interest is paid in a month where you make a deposit of less than $50 and/or make a withdrawal. Rates are subject to change.

About Bankwest
Bankwest is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank Group. Bankwest is a full service bank which originated in Western Australia in 1895 and services more than 900,000 customers. Bankwest promotes a range of products using cost-effective direct and third party distribution channels, including 24-hour telephone and internet services and mortgage brokers. In WA, Bankwest is a market leader with about one quarter of all bank advances and deposits and an extensive network of branches. Standard & Poor's short-term credit rating for Bankwest is "A-1+" and "AA" for the long term, providing customers with investment grade security.

EDITORS: This research was conducted with 469 respondents from January 12 - 16 by market research firm BrandManagement.

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