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Thread: What are the most important things when looking for a school??

  1. #1

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    Default What are the most important things when looking for a school??

    i need help!!!
    so what are your thoughts


  2. #2

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    Teacher attitudes and teaching philosophy.

    Great facilities don't mean much if the teachers are crappy. Likewise, an awesome teacher can still get the best out of a child with minimal resources.

    I put my DD into a mainstream independent school even though she qualifies for a ELU because I knew that because the school chooses who they hire that there would be a certain amount of consistency on their approach because they would have to fit with the school's philosophy of education which is often stricter/or more defined than a public school. In the short time DD spent in the public system I found it a bit of pot luck on the type of teacher and their approach, sometimes good sometimes not so good IYKWIM.

  3. #3

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    How cheerful the students look.
    Do you feel like you would want to be involved in its community?
    What activities do they have outside the classroom? Gardens, sports, music?
    Demographics of the families who use it. Sadly the schools with more expensive cars parked outside at drop-off time tend to be better equipped and thus attract better teachers.
    How far is the commute - how far will you have to drive or would you prefer to walk?
    Will any of their pre-school/child care friends make the transition to big school with them?

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    We are choosing at the moment & I am at a complete loss..it's a very tough decision. We are finding it hard as we've just moved here, so that is not helping as we don't know the area's etc.

    I don't think you are really going to know what the teacher is like until your child has started, first impressions do count but you don't know what teacher you are going to get if there is more than one class etc.

    What we have done is asked around, what do mums at playgroup etc think...many have kids at school already. Go and look at the schools, what does the clasrooms look like, what facilities do they offer. Simple things like sport (some do more than others depends what you want). What is their bullying policy? What is the teacher to student ratio. How many kids in the school, is it zoned. Is it in your area, someone made a good point....your child will make friends with these kids and you will prob be involved in play dates/parties etc you don't want to be travelling all around try and go for something in your area & then there is state or private?

    My Kindy has written a list to show us where each child is going so parents can get an idea of what has been chosen. Most out of my sons class are going to a state school, and most of these are the kids he plays with & gets along with really well. So whilst we were not going to send him to a state school we are thinking this could be a good option. We've all established relationships with child/parent. The kindy teacher recommends this school, it's got great facilities but on the downside it is very big (student numbers) & this worries me.

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    Personally proximity to home is a big deal for me -too much time spent travelling to and from school limits other activities, and I figure that time can be more interestingly spent, and I think it is important to have friends who live close by. I changed secondary schools after two years because the distance and time from home was restricting in terms of social activities etc. Primary school majority of people in my village went to village school, I had to go on bus to get to mine, so had one friend in village but no others. However living here it does seem there is more variety in schools people living in certain areas attend, so maybe the friendship groups thing isn't a big deal. If the closest school was not good in other areas in relation to others though I would take that into consideration but being close would make up for some things in my opinion. E.g. Short time travelling and being able to walk to and from school would allow easy visits to library on the way home.

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    I agree with Onyx - I put a high worth on what the other kids are like as they will be my DD's peers. Do they seem happy and confident?

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    TBH I think the bullying policy is irrelevant. All schools have a bullying policy - it is how they implement it that counts. Things like buddy systems, processes and so on.

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    last year we did the whole school thing with DS. The school we chose is the largest in our town, has about 300 students. I was really impressed with the Principal, she was very focused and answered our questions well. I was also impressed that as we toured the school any student that we came across she knew their name. I had confidence in her as a principal and that if I was to have concerns that she would deal with them.

    I also liked that the school has a strong focus on giving the students chances to improve their leadership skills. I think that this is something that will help my son in life.

    Other things I liked was that they had a variety of programs, music, performing arts, a vegetable garden etc.

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    A lot of what is said above and some more.

    Do they have after school care, or is there one nearby? Might not be important right now, but may be vital in the future. I am seriously considering changing DD1 from the out of town rural school to one in town where the after school bus will come and pick her up. Love the school, great principle etc, wish I had thought about that bit at the time.

    The other thing, when asking around other parents ask them "why?" they do or don't like a school. Some schools can have a reputation, good or bad, that when you look into it has no basis or is based on some silly prejudice. The best people to talk to are the ones who send their children to those schools, not the person who heard once from a neighbour's brother that the school was good or bad.

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    I can tell you how we came to choose the school our children go to, which can I just say is so left field of what we would have chosen at the time.

    The principal spoke at our Kinder and our hearts skipped as she spoke. She talked about communicating with your child, not just talking, but listening. They have a very strong positive parenting style which I admire and fits with our ethos at home. They strive to make sure the children learn in an environment that is warm and nourishing as well as teaching them boundaries in a positive way. They have a strong environmental program - we even have chickens They also believe in teaching the children tostand up for what they believe in. It is a religious school, which would have had us turn our heads originally, but this school has taught us that not every school should be judged on previous notions associated with either type or class.

    I think it really depends on your child as to what you look for. How the curriculum is taught is important to some parents, as you can see from threads here some parents don't believe that certain methods are as productive as other (and I'm not saying I'm pro or anti anything, this I think is another individual thing).

    What are the teachers ways of communicating with children (shouters, talkers, ignorers etc.). And even more importantly how does the school communicate with the parents, are they pro engaged parents? What is their canteen like (I know it sounds silly... but I actually find this important.)? How close is it to your home? What areas feed to this school? Will playdates for your children be easy to organise. Whilst socialising may seem a silly reason, I do think it's extremely important for a child's involvement and also for a parents involvement as it is the stepping stone for the engaged parent. What is the general tone of the playground? This is important to me, as I've seen the way some children are allowed to treat each other and it's awful. So in this my next question is do they have a well being program? What negative incidents may have happened prior to now and how did they deal with it?

    I was quite lucky because the kinder the kids went to was a feeder to the school we chose, and we got to have a lot of involvement with parents of the school. So I was able to hear the good and the bad. And for me how the bad was dealt with was actually another plus for us.

    Programs available is important to some, and whilst our school has a good range, it wasn't a priority for me as I was happy to look outside the school if they didn't have a good music program or arts program etc.

    You know the other day when I replied in your thread it was tongue and cheek right? I totally understand how difficult choosing a school is, and how lucky we are that we hit jackpot straight away.

    But I will tell you something else. Please don't be fearful. If you choose a school you don't like you will know straight away, and you will be able to look for an alternative. I have had a few girlfriends go through this. And it wasn't hard on the children at all, and if it so happens you aren't happy or your girls aren't happy you'll know and you'll be able to do something about it. (And don't freak out it's not a normal occurrence to swap schools lol this is just 2 friends out of a lot LOL!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrid View Post

    The other thing, when asking around other parents ask them "why?" they do or don't like a school. Some schools can have a reputation, good or bad, that when you look into it has no basis or is based on some silly prejudice. The best people to talk to are the ones who send their children to those schools, not the person who heard once from a neighbour's brother that the school was good or bad.
    totally agree, this is why I suggested talk to parents at playgroups, kindy etc as many have children already at school.

    I'm not sure where you are or what you are looking at private vs public, but remember many have waiting list and are doing interviews now. We need to get a move on, as one place we wanted to look into is currently doing interviews and the list is huge.

    Also what are all the staff like, can you communicate easily with front of office staff as this is who you will be dealing with a lot. One lady couldn't even spare us a minute so they didn't get our vote.

    We have a stupid amount of schools close by making our decision very hard. Arrrggghhh not fun is it.

  12. #12

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    so much to consider.
    one school has the kathy walker based learning which we like! its smaller and a 2 minute walk away
    the other school is a 10 min drive but offers alot more...library class, IT classes, are getting chook, have vegie patch and student kitchen, the principle knew every single kids name over 400 of them, i saw a must stronger sense of respect between teachers and students, not that the first one did have respect, u just didnt see it
    both have after school care
    rough tis ok

  13. #13

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    Where we used to live I had an idea of which secondary school we would send DS and kinda knew where he'd go for primary if we were going to stay in the area. I didn't think about it too much because we were working on not needing this plan!
    Now we're in a country town - well, just outside of it, actually - so a few things had to be considered.
    Transport - turns out, the Catholic and State school use the same bus service (all the neighbours kids use the same bus stop at the end of the road...I reckon I could get DS there on his pony some mornings )
    LOTE - the State school doesn't have one, but I met a teacher through a friend who said that if the teacher knows some Italian they will teach it and if I pester enough, it could get taught. Great!
    Music - need a school with a good music focus. The State school wins on that count.
    I have yet to do a school tour, but so far, from what everyone I know here tells me, the State school looks like the winner. My neighbours' kids love school, the local paper write ups are all positive, a lot of the neighbours are ex-pupils.
    It's funny, because where we used to live I would never have sent my children to that state school because of the not-so-good vibes I got from various angles (teacher and student alike!). So, a State school is not a State school.
    DS's method for choosing? The one with the best-looking playground! He thought the Catholic school didn't have one because you can't see it from the main road. Turns out that the one they have isn't as nice as the one at the state school, so he was onto something.
    Oh, and some lovely Edwardian architecture doesn't go astray, either...
    So, a drastic reduction is school choice has influenced us, but in a good way

  14. #14

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    well i may have found the right one! i visited my 6th school and its a combo of both the other schools we were considering!!
    its in the opposite direction and no one from out kinder will be going but both dont bother me

  15. #15

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    Choosing a School For Your Child - an article on BB written by Pinky McKay.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  16. #16

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    You are all extremely lucky to be able to choose which schools your children will attend. Out here in the middle of nowhere I have the option of the one that the school bus that passes our house drives to, or one that would require approx a 120km round trip in the opposite direction that I would be travelling to work in town (when the time comes). It's not really a choice that I get to make.

    Enjoy the opportunity to choose. Some of us aren't so lucky, but I guess that's the compromise when you live in isolation.

  17. #17

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    Default Choosing a school

    Our most important criterion for choosing a school is educational philosophy - in particular, we've always wanted a school which focussed on what it takes to be a successful human being: thinking, independence and self-discipline, where the perspective is encouraging learning (rather than imposing teaching) and allowing the children to learn at their own pace and, within reason, according to their own interests.

    We have always been partial to Montessori education as the closest approach to that. There is a good Montessori school in Brisbane (the Brisbane Montessori College) and here on the Gold Coast the Queensland Independent College (where our daughter goes) is not officially Montessori but embraces Montessori principles.

  18. #18

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    ive just been through this process....

    The kinder my son attends feeds the school like 2 minutes away....no way was i sending him there.

    So i decided the school within our zone was well better off.

    its big and open, they are very helpful and friendly. it suits my son very well, and its only a 10 min drive.

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