We recently had to make this choice, and NAPLAN was not even a consideration for us, although I did look at the results out of curiosity and all 4 schools we were considering had almost identical results (all very high performing). If anything, high naplan results make me nervous about the expectations that the school might force onto my children. But all the principals we spoke to were adamant that NAPLAN was not something they focused or cared so much about.
We were selling our house and buying another in the area and it just so happened that in a very small geographic location there were 4 different school catchments (we only considered public).
Met with all the principals and looked around the school grounds and met the children and the first and foremost thing that swayed us was the "feel" of the place. DH and I had the exact same feelings about each school.
The next most important thing for us was the teaching philosophy/pedagogy. We were interested in a more learner-centred teaching style and there was one school in particular that had a huge focus on delivering the curriculum in a modern/non traditional way (for example, Yr6 classes were combined into one room with 3 full time teachers and the children did all the learning in various groups based on their interests - kind of Montessori style).
Then we looked at what sort of areas they focused on, in terms of sport, music, art.. One of the schools had a strong focus on swimming and had their own swimming pools. Another school had a renowned band and another school focused strongly on sport in general, particularly athletics and team sports.
School size was something we thought a lot about but couldn't work out what would actually be best for our kids. One of the schools had 300 students and 2 of the others had over 600 students.
All the schools had about 1/3 of students from non-English speaking backgrounds. This wasn't really something we took into consideration.. Our kids are used to socialising with people of different cultures. We ourselves are not Anglo-Saxon and speak different languages at home sometimes.
I found the schools all had the same sort of bullying and homework policies. They all had similar after-school care and other facilities..
One of the schools was very institutional looking and had two campuses divided by a road, it was a bit weird and put me off.
One of the schools had a beautiful bush setting, lots of trees, lots of open spaces for kids, lots of play equipment, and this was the school we ended up going for, although it was very closely followed by our preference for the smaller school because of their teaching style.
Both our top picks had a very strong focus on professional development of the teaching staff, and they both had young, energetic principals, who seemed to get along really well with the teachers.
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17-09-2016 20:34 #31
17-09-2016 20:43 #32
Naplan means very little to me. I was lucky enough to teach at my DD's school before she started, so I never bothered looking at our Naplan results (I knew they were great) - but if the results were poor, I would perhaps look into the reasons why, & understand that it doesn't necessarily mean my child will achieve poor results.
Some of my priorities were -
- private, and religious education - I and my siblings were the only christian kids in our school growing up, and boy did we know about it. Unfortunately, I have worked enough in the local public schools to see that even 5 year olds are still being bullied and teased because they are 'church kids'. I don't want that for my kids. So I chose a religious school, where they are with like-minded friends who also go to church on the weekend.
- small school - our school has around 180 kids, but I think up to 300 would be my absolute limit.
- Behaviour management policy - I personally believe that if a school has a great behaviour management policy, a bullying policy isn't needed. Bullying is just repeated, negative behaviour towards another child. So if bullying is happening, the behaviour wasn't managed at an early stage IMO. A strong behaviour management policy stops bullying in it's tracks early on, before it becomes repeptitive.
- How 'happy' the kids are (for lack of better word). I want to be comfortable with the environment I'm dropping my kids off to every day. I want my kids to be comfortable. I want them to feel at home, safe, and loved. DD is SO cared for at her school, & this is the most important thing to me - much more important than academic results, or what she does at Uni.
- High quality teachers, and a great curriculum - particularly literacy.
I'm sure there's more, but this is what springs to mine. Physical resources also mean very little to me - I don't care about the 'stuff' my kids can experience, I care about how my kids feel at school.
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17-09-2016 20:50 #33
Following to steal binni's list
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17-09-2016 20:52 #34
Sense of community
I looked at the Naplan results just out of interest. Still a couple of years to go though so can't say I've made a final decision yet.
18-09-2016 11:51 #35
So it appears naplan isn't used much from all these responses.
18-09-2016 12:08 #36
What is the governments reason for the NAPLAN? Both to rank schools and to track where individual children are in regards to below, average or above average?
Was it labour or liberal who developed it? Was the opposition opposed to it?
Also I'm curious why Federal Government established NAPLAN but yet individual states set rules about entry dates, ages etc?
I must admit I went onto my schools for the first time yesterday and saw my kids' future school below in some areas in some year levels and on one hand I was a bit concerned (my first reaction) but second reaction was maybe that's not so bad as they could be a school who don't teach to NAPLAN which I get the impression can be a good thing (but still I decided).
It's really hard for me to make a decision on how I feel about it without knowing why it was created in the first place, but my first reaction to my schools scores was 'oh! That's not good'. But that's based on gut feeling about it, not an informed opinion.
18-09-2016 12:32 #37
NAPLAN is basically for bench marking and a way of measuring whether students are being taught what they need to. The problem is that there are so many complex factors that NAPLAN and the number schools are assigned, don't take into account.
I'm not sure who brought it in TBH. I'm thinking the Libs but only bc I'm thinking to the period it was introduced and I *think* that was the LNP.
18-09-2016 12:34 #38
18-09-2016 12:38 #39
NAPLAN was introduced in 2008 so would've been labor government and I'm pretty sure myschool was Julia Gillard
But before NAPLAN there were still standardised tests in each state. In NSW it was called the basic skills test. NAPLAN just means that all schools now do the same test all over Australia. Plus if you move states your child's growth and results can be accessed.
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18-09-2016 12:41 #40
What reasons do you use/need to pick a school for your kids? Is naplan even a...
I haven't looked at schools yet for DD (she's only 1 haha) but I don't see why NAPLAN wouldn't be *one of* the various aspects to look at when choosing a school. If a school didn't have a high portion of kids with special needs, low socio-ec, ESL, etc and had very low NAPLAN results I would be wondering what is going on and yes, hesitant to send my child there. Average NAPLAN is fine - the school may not place much emphasis on the testing but very low results would concern me.
Last edited by babyno1onboard; 18-09-2016 at 12:46.
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