4 Things to consider when choosing a new school... at any time

Be it Prep, Year 7 or relocating to a new area, at some point you will need to make the tough decision of choosing a school for your kids. It’s a daunting decision and one that may underpin many other big decisions in your family’s world. What should your focus be when choosing a school?

It is wise to sit down and think about what is a priority when deciding upon schools and education. It could be the religious denomination, or it could be the location.

You may need the school to be close by to where you live so you can walk to school. For some parents, having access to outside school care is a huge determining factor in where they send their children. 

Some schools are well known for their sporting achievements and have access to athletic resources that other schools do not. There are also schools with strong STEM streams. Some schools may require more investment financially. What are the differences between the teaching philosophies at the schools on your shortlist?

Have you considered your children’s wishes— where do they want to go? Have you discussed their reasons for choosing a particular school? Social and friendships reasons are very valid ones. 

What are your child’s strengths and interests? Is there a school that will match their personality?

What to do if you are completely overwhelmed

Have a conversation

Sit down as a family and have a conversation using the above questions. The goal is to understand the order of importance; what does your family value? The more you know about what factors are of most value, the better equipped you will be from the start. 

Do some research

Look online for logistical information about the schools, size, location, outside hours of care, and their curriculum. Try joining Facebook groups associated with the local area or the school and ask the people who know best—other parents. 

Contact the schools directly and ask if you can book a visit or look for open days/orientations. Avoid doing this during school holidays, instead visit during the hustle and bustle and get a true sense of the school. Take advantage and speak directly to the students showing you around.

How does the school make you feel? How does it make your child feel? Because what might be suitable for one parent will make another run for the hills. Why does this school give you a good feeling? Is it because it feels controlled, or do you like that there seems to be more freedom for the students?

Find the right fit

The most important thing is that this school feels like a good fit for your child and family. That you feel trust in the school. Your family will spend a lot of time here and with the teaching professionals. You want to feel welcome, supported and heard. 

Reach out and get support

Parentline is here to listen to and support you. Call 1300 301 300, seven days a week to discuss risky behaviour or any other parenting issue. There is no judgement. The service is confidential. You can also WebChat via the Parentline website.

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