5 Private School Trends in Australia

5 Private School Trends in Australia. Children sitting together on the grass.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there has been an increase in growth in Independent private schools over the past 5 years.
As more parents are sending their children to private schools, there have been 5 private school trends in Australia that enhance student learning.

5 Private School Trends in Australia

1. Science and Technology in Private Schools

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (‘STEM’) skills are becoming crucial for Australia’s changing future.

Technological change is said to advance Australia’s economy. Research shows that STEM jobs in Australia are growing nearly twice as fast as other jobs.

Consequently STEM is a big area of study being emphasised in private schools.

Many private schools introduce opportunities through STEM extracurricular activities or subjects from the very beginning of high school.

In STEM we endeavour to provide a balanced mix of activities that does not only cover the intended curriculum, but also enriches it. For example, we offer coding for Years 7-10 that involves Python programming and CAS calculator TI-Nspire-based programming (which connects to a ‘rover’ that moves). This prepares younger students to understand the ‘tech-active’ component of VCE Mathematics.

   Mr Louis Diamandikos, Head of STEM, Alphington Grammar School.

This is important as the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Australia believes many Australian students don’t understand the importance of STEM ‘until it’s too late’.

Practising STEM from school years allows children to develop workplace skills including critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.

5 Private School Trends in Australia. children doing chemistry practical in school science lab.
Credit: Alphington Grammar School, Victoria

Many private schools in Australia have advanced STEM facilities available to students.

We are also very fortunate to be using our brand-new STEM labs, which feature state-of-the-art and easy-to-access modern equipment, such as interactive whiteboards and modern electronic safety features. Our enrolment numbers in VCE Sciences have been steady, and we hope that the increased enrolment numbers at junior level will filter into stronger VCE subject enrolments in the coming years.

   Mr Louis Diamandikos, Head of STEM, Alphington Grammar School.

Meriden School in NSW is also characterised by its opportunity for girls to grow in the STEM field.

From robotics and coding to 3-D printing and design, we provide opportunities for real-world problem-solving, exposure to inspiring mentors, access to the latest technology and a cohesive approach to STEM-related skill development.

Ms Ingrid Schwartz, Design and STEM Teacher, Coordinator of Learning Link – STEM, Meriden.

Their facilities include STEM learning centres which include 3D printers, virtual reality, coding and robotics technologies and a CDC machine.

2. Mental Health and Wellbeing in Private Schools

Mental health and student wellbeing is important among Australian young people.

A Headspace report revealed approximately 1 in 3 young people experienced high levels of psychological distress during the peak COVID-19 pandemic.

Private schools are increasingly incorporating education and facilities to provide opportunity for student support.

Ms Deirdre Grealish, Deputy Head of Secondary at Alphington Grammar School explains wellbeing is at the heart of their school.

“Our Exceptionality team (Head of Secondary, Deputy Head of Secondary, Heads of House, Year 7 Coordinator, Head of Learning Support, Psychology Department) meet to discuss specific students who receive additional intervention to support their wellbeing. This work is complemented by weekly Head of House meetings to discuss the wellbeing of the wider student body.

We strive to equip our students with the tools they need to actively maintain and improve their own wellbeing. External programs that the school have selected, such as The Resilience Program, do not just feature during dedicated workshops. Instead, their philosophies trickle through the different strata of school life and it is not uncommon to hear the language of resilience and reflection in our classrooms, hallways, and assemblies. Our Captains and Future Leaders also play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of their peers, acting as mentors for our younger students, facilitating workshops, and performing casual check-ins throughout the year.”

Alphington Grammar School also has its own School Psychologist.

AGS puts the wellbeing of our students and staff at the forefront of all we do.

Mr Maximillian White, School Psychologist

The school’s full-time psychology department offers one-to-one mental health counselling, group wellbeing programs and clinical assessment services.

“AGS also runs a range of school wide initiatives focused on education around wellbeing, resilience, consent, online safety, and positive behaviour.”

The close attention to mental health and wellbeing in private schools is important for children’s school performance.

3. Arts and Creativity in Private Schools

Arts and Creativity is given a new meaning in Australian private schools.

girl doing performing arts in costume. 5 private school trends in australia.
Credit: Alphington Grammar School, Victoria

Private schools offer a range of facilities and technologies to cover every aspect of Arts and Creativity. This may include fine arts, performing arts, design and more.

As technologies progress and improve, the list of methods to create art grow. Being a good drawer is not nearly as important as it once was. New technologies can support the creation of art so it can appeal to more people and expand the pool of potential creatives.

 Mr Michael Gregoriades, Secondary Visual Arts Coordinator, Alphington Grammar School

Research from the Australia Council for the Arts evidenced ‘wide-reaching benefits’ of creativity in education.

Creative learning approaches allow students to build confidence, improve academic education, increase student engagement and enhance social and emotional wellbeing. Including Arts and Creativity in education emphasises a sense of community at school.

Private schools have a greater emphasis on arts in education, which is an indicator of long term student success.

4. Global Connection in Private Schools

Most private schools offer some aspect of global connection for students.

Private school facilities incorporating global connection may include teaching different languages or providing opportunities for student exchange. Many private schools also have ‘sister schools’ overseas, where students connect with other students around the world.

As a school which offers Greek and Chinese language, our Secondary School students look forward to the Global Gateways program they can take part in during Years 9 or 10. Travel to these countries is an exciting and beneficial way for students to immerse themselves in, experience, and bring to life the language and culture taught in the classroom. Our sister school relationships have allowed sharing of projects and reciprocal visits, strengthening language and friendships.

Ms Denise Diakodimitriou, Head of LOTE

Such opportunities allow private school students to broaden their knowledge and perspectives. Connection to the global world allows students to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of other cultures.

International education is paramount at Xavier because it is simply part of our fabric as a College and a community. One of our focus is to reach for a greater understanding of others, for deep connections and continued discoveries of varied cultural backgrounds so our students can be men for others. They can develop the best version of themselves by reflecting on their own identity in a larger context. Travelling, abroad or interstate, also opens our young men’s mind and allows them to put in practice and experience first hand what they are exploring in the classroom. 

International Education Coordinator, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque, Xavier College

Cultural literacy is a fundamental aspect of many careers, and your child may choose to pursue it in the future.

5. Moving to co-ed

A trend among many single-sex private schools is the transition into coeducation.

Barker’s transition to full coeducation was successfully completed at the start of 2022 and all years from Pre-K-12 are coeducational. It was a project five years in the making and has been enthusiastically embraced by our community and those wishing to join Barker. The world of work, education, employment and leadership has shifted considerably in the 21st century and having boys and girls learning and playing together helps to prepare them for life beyond the school gates.

Melissa Brady, Barker’s Director of Coeducation Transition, Barker College, NSW.

Private schools give parents the option to choose single-sex or coeducational learning.

Private Schools in Australia are adopting trends to equip students with practical skills and experience into higher education and the workforce.

Summary of 5 Private School Trends in Australia

  1. Science and Technology

  2. Mental Health and Wellbeing

  3. Arts and Creativity

  4. Global Connection

  5. Moving to co–ed

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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