I don't have much choice where I am, so I've been looking at the two private schools, only because I may end up teaching at the local state school one day and I don't want to work where my son is at school.
I found it hard to narrow down a better choice, so I actually against all my best judgements did look at NAPLAN scores. There was a significant difference between the two, despite very similar cohorts of families, a very homogenous community, etc.
So that made me look a little more deeply, and OMG the homework expectations of the higher performing school from Day 1 is riDICulous. The load on parents is unreasonable IMO, let alone on 4.5/5 year olds. I am not sure when I'm supposed to have time to do a reader, practise sight words, do the maths activities and all the other incidental work that is expected each night, when I don't get home from work until after 5.30! I might as well homeschool him ffs!
This made me realise just how much I want school to be more than just academics for my son. I want a place that nurtures his interests, that provides him life experience that I can't offer, that teaches him civic responsibility and compassion, that offers a range of learning activities and challenges his problem solving skills, that assesses him in a range of ways...
So I guess I need to visit both schools and get a feel for things that way.
I'm having a tough time deciding. We're trying to follow the advice of our paed (who we are seeing for pre adhd and hyperactivity). She has suggested some schools for us to look at as she thinks our child is bright but may have trouble concentrating in a classroom. He needs structure.
I'm afraid I do look at naplan results but they aren't a huge factor (except when I looked at a school who had 1% in top quarter and 70% in bottom quarter).
We had a few schools in mind but our paed suggested some others to us. My son might end up with adhd and have difficulty in a classroom setting so I need a school that will provide enough support for that.
My other top wants are play based preschool years, welcoming and caring school environment with diverse range of families, smaller school if possible, proximity to home/work and a supportive principal. I really would prefer public but we are following advice of our paed and friends who are primary school teachers and are leaning towards a private Christian school. A school bigger than I'd like but it does have small class sizes which might be advantageous to my DS.
harvs I don't know if there are any schools in your area that offer it but it sounds like you would love the IB ( international Baccalaureate Primary years programme) - it's also one of the reasons we chose DS school , our teachers have been trained to teach it and have been doing so since 2010 , the ones that were teaching prior to then have told me this is by far better a programme than how they used to teach and so much better for the kids - this is from IB website:
Promoting open communication based on understanding and respect, the IB encourages students to become active, compassionate, lifelong learners. An IB education is holistic in nature—it is concerned with the whole person. Along with cognitive development, IB programmes address students’ social, emotional and physical well-being. They value and offer opportunities for students to become active and caring members of local, national and global communities; they focus attention on the values and outcomes of internationally minded learning described in the IB learner profile.
IB learners strive to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open- minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. These attributes represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success. They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them.
In tassie they are so strict with zoning we have to goto the public school zoned too or private. Lucky we are zoned to a good school!! Unless you start at a school then move rural
Important for us is zoning for desired highschool, walk to school, oosh, availability of activities such as band and music, plus yearly school productions, good communication, transparent policies dealing with grievances /bullying. Community feel too. I looked at naplan.
Well I'm a public school teacher so public education is important to me. I know that when socio economic background is taken into account that private schools have no better results than public.
Things I consider important (in no particular order)
L3 implementation in K-2
Big playground with grass preferably whole school playing together, not segregated
School size - not too big and not too small (at least 2 classes per year but no more than 3 classes)
Approachable and dynamic principal and staff
Before and after school care
Proximity to home (must be within 10 mins at most)
Are the kids happy (I remember walking through my children's school to meet the principal before my daughter started and thought it was a lovely atmosphere)
How the staff/children interact?
Gosh I'm probably forgetting loads of things
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