Independent Public Schools (IPS) are not Independent Schools

With a looming election, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the significant role played by schools such as ours and many others across Western Australia and Australia.

Independent Schools in WA (this does not mean Independent Public Schools) educate 28,379 primary students, and 37,052 secondary, which in total represent approximately 16.2% of the WA school enrolment. There are 141 Independent Schools in WA, including 37 Primary, 7 secondary, 88 combined and 9 special schools. Since 2005 across Australia there has been an increase of 36 schools serving 83,881 students with a further increase in 87 campuses catering for 21,747 students. From 2005-2015, independent schools across Australia now educate an extra 105,628 students across 123 schools and campuses. In the same period WA, has seen the addition of 20 new schools and campuses catering for an extra 17,885 students.

The most important thing to remember about independent schools is the right of choice for parents. Independent schooling offers different types of schools with varying educational philosophies to meet the social, economic and philosophical requirements of many families. This is why both state and federal governments, no matter what their political persuasion, will continue to support Independent Schools. No government could ever afford to replace the personal or financial commitment of parents who choose an Independent School education. It is our role to make sure all governments continue to support Independent Schools; thus, ensuring that parent choice is never diminished.

The publicly stated fee schedule of a school such as Scotch can often be used to rationalise why we should receive reduced government support. A high proportion of the fee we charge is to simply bridge the significant shortfall between what we receive in government funding support and what it takes to run a standard school the size of Scotch. Approximately 86% of the College's expenditure is focused on salaries, administration and overheads, facilities, interest and depreciation and debt repayment. As such the true value-add we create at Scotch is delivered through the remaining balance.

Without the high level of commitment and good will of the staff, OSC, parents, and of course our students, the expenditure of the balance would never be enough to deliver the total Scotch experience.

As the 7th leader of an organisation that commenced in 1897 it is very important to remind anyone in need of clarification that Independent schools are an irreplaceable, and a critical part of a vibrant world class educational environment. Remember parents at Independent schools still pay their taxes, which to a greater proportion, find their way into funding government schools.