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Choosing a school with confidence


A little over 9 months ago, I was 37 weeks pregnant, tired, over it and huge (REALLY HUGE!) … I was siting in the living room when I received a call from my sister in law, all excited she asked; “So have you thought about what school you are going to send your baby to?” … I really didnt know how to take it.. REALLY? Was she serious? I am siting here, perched up like a beach whale in the sweltering heat of my retro house and you are asking me what school I am going to send my unborn child too in 12 years time??? I really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… I then took a deep breathe and we kept on discussing… Because, the truth is, some schools you need to apply for before your baby is even born to have a hope of getting a place. 
This ignighted a lot of conversation in the house and some frantic research and what is important for us in choosing schools for our children. We looked into what we do like in a school and what we don’t like, what is important to us, the locality, where we may be living, costs/affordability, values and attitudes… After the “wake up” call and long discussions with hubby, we decided to apply for 1 school for each of our children when they were born. We don’t want to miss the boat but we don’t want to spend a lot of money on applying for schools that we may not even be attending as we get to know our children’s needs better. Each school we believe are all rounded schools that do cover a lot of bases… But we came to the decider that no real decision can be made until closer to the attendance date. Why? Because we don’t know our children well enough yet and no one school is for everyone. What happens if we want our child to go to a sport orientated school but he/she is more musically orientated? We just can’t know until they grow into the little people who they are going to be. 
For us, Its not about the best school, the results and reputation, its about choosing the right schools for our children.
Until the day that we send our children to school, we will still be researching, talking to other parents, chatting to teachers and really growing the confidence we need to make the right choice for our children.
I wanted to share this great checklist and things to think about with you from ASG that will help us lost Mama’s and Dada’s along the way to give us the best confidence in choosing a school for your little ones.
  • Assess your child’s personal qualities – write a list
  • Determine your education preferences and values – write a list
  • Research schools to match your child’s qualities and your preferences and values
  • List your education goals for your child
  • Match your child and your preferences to the school
  • Look for ‘right’ schools not ‘best’ or perfect schools
  • Enrol into more than one school. A backup plan is never a bad idea.
  • School location – is the school close to your home? 
  • Zoning – are you living within the school zone?
  • Philosophical or religious focus of the school – does this match your preferences?
  • The education curriculum offered and the subject focus of the school
  • Academic courses offered 
  • Elective courses offered 
  • School affordability – is it within your budget?
  • School affordability – does it offer value? How will you evaluate the school’s value?
  • Welcoming and open attitude?
  • Size of the school 
  • Before and after school care programs 
  • School holiday programs
  • Clear and open school performance reports
  • Assess the facilities and environment
  • Class size and structure – number of students in each class
  • Does the school place students in classes ranked by academic performance?
  • Computer facilities and resources
  • Reputation
  • Education performance
  • School’s relationship with its community
  • Approach to student welfare and wellbeing – what support and programs are offered?
  • Handling of health issues How does the school engage its students? 
  • Diversity or conformity Individuality or student body
  • Representation of student body Disciplinary or liberal 
  • Homework policy Cultural development
  • Sporting achievement Student support systems 
  • Computer and technology policy 
  • Bullying policy Parent concerns resolution
What about you? How did you make the school decision? 

Cass xo

Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) is a not-for-profit organisation and specialist education benefits provider.  ASG has supported over 509,000 children and their families to offset the cost of education.  But now ASG is moving towards offering more than just education funds. They’re creating an ever-expanding suite of resources, online tools and guides – like the ‘How to motivate your child to learn’ e-guide – to support parents and nurture children in their educational journey so they can reach their full potential. Visitwww.asg.com.au to discover member benefits or call 1800 648 945.
More articles regarding education issues, development, family members and parenting available on www.asg.com.au/resources
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February 9, 2014