Choosing supplementary education: Variables that influence parents to enrol their Australian school-age children into academic programs outside of school time

Parenting and early education
Wednesday 25 July, 1210 – 1230

Presenters

Mariko Francis
Monash University

Abstract
Australia’s Education Act (2013) mandates ‘education for all’ ensuring high quality and highly equitable education for all students. However, anecdotal evidence suggests parents enroll their children into academic programs outside of school to bridge a ‘learning gap’ not being addressed in school. Recent reports from international finance sectors reveal that at least three in ten Australian children participate in academic programs outside of school while eight in ten parents spend up to 20% of their total household income on private tutoring and academic programs. Despite this investment, there is little understanding as what influences parents to enroll their children into academic programs outside of school time. The current study addresses this gap through the development of an instrument that measures parents’ views towards their children’s education.
A systematic literature review and a validation of a pilot questionnaire using a sample of 1,523 Australian parents of school-aged children established four key themes that measured parents’ views towards their children’s various learning environments. These include parents’ views towards family-school engagement and involvement; teacher effectiveness; school effectiveness; and academic programs outside of school time. In addition, a range of background variables identified a priori as influencers of parent decisions to enroll their children into academic programs.
This research extends our knowledge on parent views towards their children’s various learning environments through the development of four-scale instrument, and practically provides schools with a platform from which they can look to maximize their existing resources to support the academic outcomes of all their students.