Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Norman Hyde


This study examines the reasons why parents send their daughters to specific, independent, non-Catholic Schools for their secondary education in Perth, Western Australia. Initially, through a review of related literature, variables which might influence parental choice of a private school were identified. In order to establish the relevance of these variables, and to identify any other previously unidentified variables which may influence parental selection of a particular independent girls' school, a survey was undertaken of sample groups of parents whose daughters had entered Year 8 in 1989. Further data was obtained through interviews of a small number of parents from each of the five schools in the study. Analysis of the data was undertaken through consideration of the percentage frequency of responses to statements with Likert scale response fields; cross tabulation of responses with background data supplied by the parents; factor analysis and canonical variate analysis. The latter analyses established that there were several important influences on choice which were common to all schools and some elements which distinguished between schools. The common factors included: a desire for a well-rounded education, a caring environment, a desire for good communication between the school and home, firm discipline, a strong academic programme, a competent teaching staff and a good reputation, although the importance of these variables varied between schools. The variables which were of special importance in parental choice of a particular school included family tradition, distance between the home and the particular school and location with respect to an independent boys' school. This research identified a group of variables which influence parental choice of independent, non-Catholic girls' schools in Western Australia. The nature of the variables indicates that, overall, parents are seeking an education for their daughters which combines a strong academic programne with opportunities for a variety of enriching educational experiences in a caring environment.

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