OPINION: Choosing a school for your child is a mind-boggle
Written by Jody Allen, founder of Stay At Home Mum
IN AUSTRALIA, there are a few different options for schooling.
The most common ones are public/state school, private school, religious and independent schools.
There are also special needs schools, co-educational or same-sex schools and boarding schools which can be chosen within the main schooling options.
How do you choose the right type of school for your child? Do you choose the public or private sector? Do you pick a religious school? Maybe home-schooling the right option for your child?
Many factors will contribute to the ultimate decision of school choice for your child.
Geographical area is a big one. Depending on the area you live you may be limited in your choices to only a public state school or a private school.
You may have a large variety to choose from due to living in a densely populated area or your only option may be to home-school.
Traditionally we see that if parents went to a certain type of school, they are more likely to place their children into the same type of schooling, however this is not always the case.
A bad experience or conflicting parental opinions on a type of schooling can also affect a parents decision.
Independent schools are known for their exclusivity and expensive fees; they have higher fees due to lack of government funding, smaller classes and more specialised classes and teachers.
Independent schools cater for prep right through to Year 12 so there is no need to change your child's school as they move into secondary education. These are generally also boarding schools.
Public schools receive government funding and make up one of the largest sectors of secondary education in Australia.
They are usually the more affordable option of school choice and provide all the standard class subjects and most of the more specialised topics available at independent and religious schools.
Public schools are in abundance so there is at least one in almost every town.
Religious Schools are the second largest sector within Australia, with Catholic Religious Schooling being the most popular/common.
There are two types of Catholic schools. The first being co-educational and belong to a similar system of schooling to the government run public ones.
The second are the Independent Catholic schools which are generally slightly more expensive, same sex schools (all boy or all girl) that are run by established religious orders.
If the family is of strong Catholic or Christian faith then it is highly likely the children will be enrolled into a school accommodating and embracing that belief.
If trying to decide between the public and private sectors of schooling it can be a tough decision unless you do your research.
Both statistically compare in many ways and in others one will excel over the other and it ISN'T always in the private sectors favour.
In the debate of private vs. public it's best to compare the actual schools.
Have a look at both of them, ask other parents and check the curriculum and other activities.
There are some great resources available to check the Level of Achievement that schools have based on the students assessment and NAPLAN scores and it's a good idea to have a look at your local schools results before deciding.
The website www.myschool.edu.au will give you a wealth of different information regarding the schools that you are trying to decide between and the average scores of their students compared to other schools.
It will tell you all the details regarding student enrolment numbers as well as provide you with a full school profile and more.
The fact of the matter is that our children will be in school for about 12 years (not including University) and we want them to be getting the best from their education.
It's different for everyone and some children will excel in one school and not so much in others. Do your research and decide what's best for your child.
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