How private schools are providing COVID-19 economic boost

IPSWICH private schools support more than 1800 jobs and more than $265 million in economic activity, according to a new report.

The analysis was commissioned by Independent Schools Queensland to measure the annual contribution of independent schools to the Queensland economy.

The analysis by AEC Group found Ipswich independent schools are important employment generators supporting 1,840 direct and indirect full-time jobs worth $161.2 million in wages and salaries

Statewide the independent schooling sector adds $4.88 billion to the Queensland economy (Gross State Product (GSP)) and supports 33,560 direct and indirect full-time jobs. Report key findings.

The updated analysis shows Ipswich independent schools contributed an additional $46.5 million to gross state product, which was a 21 per cent rise and supported an extra 117 jobs between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

ISQ executive director David Robertson said the modelling revealed the influence and the impact of independent schools extended beyond strong academic and civic outcomes.

"As communities and governments grapple with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, this new analysis reveals the critical role independent schools must continue to play to support jobs, build new social infrastructure, welcome fee-paying international students and build human capital," he said.

"In the current environment every dollar and job generated by independent schools are vital to the region's economic recovery in the short and long term."

The analysis estimated that Ipswich independent school families who did not take up a fully funded place at a state school freed up $56.1 million of government recurrent and capital funding for other essential services, or COVID-19 recovery projects.

This annual saving is the equivalent of building more than 30 new classrooms and employing 570 rookie teachers.

"This report shows that encouraging private investment in education pays enormous dividends," Mr Robertson said.

"The private-public partnership between taxpaying independent school families and governments is a successful and enduring partnership which must continue with the support of ongoing public investment.

There are 7,484 students enrolled at 12 independent schools in the Ipswich local government area, according to 2020 state enrolment census data.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor.