We chose Catholic/Private. Public schools in this area are pathetic to put it mildly.
I toured almost every school in the area, public and private. I had a pretty good idea where I wanted DS to go, but I didn't want to discount a hidden gem I may find, so I attended lots of open days!
The public schools offer almost nothing aside from basic education. I want more for my kids than what I was offered. I went public, my parents held (and still hold) the belief that 'school is school' and 'a child will learn if they want to'. Well I wanted to learn.. I wanted to study forensic science but I had zero opportunity to study anything but basic science at school. My marks were excellent, but I had no chance to experience anything through school, and like most other teens, I had no patience to wait until uni.
The school DS goes to offers almost everything imaginable. At the moment he is doing lego robotics, and helping out at the local special needs school as his co-curricular activities.
DD has a list as long as her arm for when she starts next year..cake decorating, masterchef, dance, glee club, St Vincent De Paul (volunteering)
The public schools have none of that.
I think it was Blissed Out that mentioned the like minded parents who take an interest in their child education. This is important too. Education is important to me, I want them to be able to experience everything they want to and not be limited by what is on offer at school.
Everything I could imagine and more is on offer at the school. DS is absolutely thriving there, I could not be happy after years of struggle through primary school.