Choosing a School

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By: www.educations.vic.gov.au

PRIMARY

Your child will usually go to the primary school closest to where your family lives, if they are attending a government school. You can choose to send your child to a different government primary school if they have places available, or to a Catholic or independent school.

To make your child’s transition from kindergarten to primary school a happy and positive experience, it is important to consider which school will best benefit your child’s learning and development.

Keep in mind that some primary schools need to restrict their enrolments – and the number of students they can take – to a particular area or zone around the school.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

When choosing a primary school for your child, you will need to think about your family circumstances and needs. For example:

  • How far do you want to travel and is the school reasonably close to home and/or work?
  • What facilities do they offer and are you comfortable with the ‘feel’ of the school?
  • Will the teachers and the school curriculum support all aspects of your child’s development, including social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs?
  • Does the school’s policy on homework and discipline reflect your own values and expectations?
  • Does the school work in partnership with families?

For more information about a particular school, the Victorian Government School Performance Summary gives a clear overview of how Victorian government schools are performing. The Performance Summary is now included in every schools’ annual report, which are available on the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) website.

Search for an education provider on the State Register at www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/StateRegister

SECONDARY

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • Your child’s interests and needs
  • Will the school cater for your child’s interests and all aspects of their development, including social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs?
  • How does the school support children with additional needs?
  • How important is it to you that your child knows other children at the school?

YOUR FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES:

  • Does your family have a connection to a particular school?
  • Do you have older children already attending a secondary school? If so, will your child benefit from going to the same school as their brother or sister?
  • How far do you want your child to travel each day?
  • Are any schools that are close to home and/or your work suitable for your child?
  • What extra-curricular activities does the school offer?
  • Does the school offer scholarships?
  • School philosophy and organisation
  • Does the school have both primary and secondary students (is it a P-12 school)?
  • How many campuses does the school have? Do students move between campuses?
  • Do you agree with, or at least like, the way the school approaches teaching?
  • Does the school’s policy on homework and discipline reflect your own values and expectations?
  • How does the school deal with bullying?

Finding out about a school will give you a better understanding of how comfortable your child might be there. You can start by visiting a school’s website or attending a parent information session or open day.

Principals or other school staff can also provide tours, classroom visits and information about their school. Most schools welcome enquiries and will organise a time for you and your child to visit.

CONSIDER ASKING THESE QUESTIONS:

  • What are the fees? Are there any other costs I’ll be asked to pay over and above the fees?
  • What educational programs are offered?
  • What are the teacher’s/school’s values and philosophies around educating students?
  • How does the school support children with special needs?

TO FIND SCHOOLS WITHIN YOUR AREA:

www.education.vic.gov.au/findaservice – lists all the schools in your area and their contact details, including the school’s website address.

www.myschool.edu.au – provides searchable profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools. You can quickly locate statistical and contextual information about schools.

OTHER RESOURCES YOU COULD TRY INCLUDE:

www.vrqa.vic.gov.au – allows you to access a school’s annual report, which includes a performance summary that gives a clear overview of how the school is performing.

www.vcaa.vic.edu.au – provides achievement data for all Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) providers, including schools.

www.privateschoolsguide.com – includes details of around 3000 private schools and independent schools throughout Australia.

For more information on schooling in Victoria go to www.education.vic.gov.au/school/parents

As published in Peninsula Kids Magazine – Autumn 2016

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