Choosing the right school for your child can feel like one of the most important and stressful decisions you’ll make as a parent. The team from AdvTECH share some points to keep in mind when making your choice.
Most schools are situated in the communities they serve, offering meaningful alternatives for parents and students. Location is important and so is the availability of reliable and safe transport. However, a location within a lifestyle environment may limit the children’s access to a diverse student community or to specialist facilities, teachers or sports of interest. Consider your options carefully.
HISTORY & REPUTATION
We send our children to school to set them up for later success, so any school that cannot deliver well on the school-leaving examinations is a risk to these aspirations. New schools do not have a track record and parents must look for other indicators of what that performance is likely to be. In a standalone school, you will need to rely on the comfort gained from the manner in which the school addresses its plans for its first Grade 12 class. A networked or group school can share the performance of its other schools and how these will be replicated. In lower grades and in primary schools, the focus should be on the transition to high school.
A strong cohort of teachers will combine new teachers with seasoned teachers with an established track record. A school should require all their staff to be registered with SACE and cleared by the police for child safety. A school that employs only new teachers may be more focused on costs than on achieving the outcomes you want for your child.
Schools must be registered and accredited. Cottage ‘schools’ are neither. If you consider a school that is not registered, you will need assurance on how quality is managed, children are protected and acceptable national school leaving examinations are accessed.
Schools succeed or fail based on their leadership. If you cannot access these people when considering a school, or if they are not able to answer your questions on matters such as culture and inclusion, then it is unlikely they will be accessible and engaging after you register your child.
Modern campus-based education is technology enabled but not technology led. A few direct questions will enable you to assess if technology is adding to the teacher-led learning or if it is a means of keeping costs (for the school) down.
The match between the culture of the school and that of the family must be looked at. Schools that are diverse and inclusive generate skills in their students to live in an integrated world. Even if a school aligns itself with a particular religion, its approach to other faiths is a means of communicating how inclusive and respectful the school is. Ask questions, such as the school’s view of non-traditional family structures or religious education beyond the chosen religion.
A quick tour of the school will show you where they spend their money. What the school chooses to show you first or most tells you what they value. The way in which the school has thought through the needs of parents in matters such as parking, logistics, aftercare arrangements and communication channels indicate how family-centered the school is.