Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Choosing a school for your children

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It was only up until about an hour ago that I finally realised the big deal I had made out of deciding on a suitable school for my children wasn't necessary at all.  I think that when I fell pregnant I began thinking about a school for my daughter. What was the criteria I should use when choosing? Private or public? Large or small? Local or a distance away? All girls or co-educational? What about how the school performed in Naplan testing? It was an absolute minefield.

There are no less than 60 schools in or near my home. Private, public, primary, secondary, religious, non religious, you name it. How on earth was I going to choose? I think I spoke to every parent with a child the same age as mine, every parent who ever had a child go through a school in my area and every parent who ever had a child that went to school. I was spinning round and round in circles. What would be the grounds for my choice? Good reputation, small class sizes, religious, locality, good teaching staff, good sports program. Who knows?

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We finally decided on a very local, small Catholic, co-educational school for my daughter. She did fantastically well in her first year of Prep. It wasn't until she started Grade 1 this year that she had her first experience with bullying. It broke our hearts. We've been back and forth with the school for about 6 separate incidents of bullying with the same little girl and we don't seem to be getting anywhere. It wasn't until we had our interview yesterday with one of the school heads for our son, who starts next year, that we started to doubt our original decision choosing this school and thought about starting the whole decision process again.

I just started thinking about it this afternoon when it dawned on me. There are always going to be things in life that you're not happy with. Your nieghbours, work colleagues, (family for goodness sake), school friends and teachers. It's how you react to situations that crop up, that will help you get through some of life's little stumbles. What's to say that little girl who bullied my daughter leaves next year? Or, if we changed schools, there'd be more bullies, terrible teachers, a careless attitude by the school staff. Who knows? Any other doubts we have with the school in relation to our daughter's educational needs will be picked up by myself and my husband and providing a loving, supportive home environment where there's no such thing as a stupid question and all curiosities will be encouraged and hopefully answered.

I've decided to stick with this school, continuing to develop my daughter's resilience and help her to become more assertive. Besides everything else that's gone on, we've been happy with this school.

Now, what high school?



  1. This is a tough one. I would ask for the child to be seperated from yours for the next school year ie in a different class...I've done this with my daughter in the past and it helps break the cycle.

  2. Oh that was me (Monique)...above. I would not be inclined to leave her in a single-stream school in that situation for the next 5 years...my reasoning is I wouldn't stay in a job where I was being bullied for 5 years.

  3. Oh, I absolutely agree Monique. We will be doing that. It hasn't happened since before 2nd term finished and we're hoping it won't happen again. I left my last night time job because I was being bullied, so I know the feeling.

    Thanks for popping by.


  4. What a loving, concerned mother you are Anne! Your daughter is very lucky to have you on her side.
    I think that unfortunately these days, bullying is something that just about every child has to deal with at some point in their school lives?
    I think you're setting a good example by trying to work through the problem and find a solution, as opposed to running from the problem straight away. Obviously if the situation got worse or continued, you'd have to draw the line somewhere. But it's all a life lesson as you say!
    Good luck :)

  5. I think you are doing the right thing as well, working through it and not running as sadly there are sometimes situations that you can;t run from so need to learn how to handle. I do think the school should be doing slightly more though. We were called in as our old school felt there was an undercurrent of bullying towards my eldest. He has mild autism and ADHD and teachers began to hear other kids, saying lets go and get X into trouble, lets get X to do that, X can go and hit them for us, and he would just go and do as he was told, as he has not got that foresight to think he shouldn't. There were too many occassions as well of the teachers hearing Little Mans name whenever another child cried or something got broken and the fact he wasn;t even in the room rang alarm bells. They stamped it out quite quickly, spoke to the whole class as a whole and individual children and parents, and kept a much closer eye. We only left the school as we moved. his new school, I am sure we will come across bullying as it is a very different school. The last one was small, very strict and very caring with children from very affluent backgrounds (we were outsiders as we didnt move in the same social circles). Moving to a new town mid year left us very limited choices in terms of school, and while the school they are now at is fantastic in terms of teaching staff and thier special needs department which I can't speak more highly of, the calibre of some of the families leaves alot to be desired, so I don;t doubt there will be numerous incidences over the coming yers of plain nasty children. However as has been pointed out to me, when they enter the big bad world of senior school this is what they will be faced with so is it better to teach them which children to avoid from a young age, and how to look after themselves or wait until they are at a vulnerable, per-pubescent age and get hit like a ton of bricks by the realities of different walks of life? I know we have found it a tough decision and we have certainly doubted if we choose the right school and whether we should try and move them, however, main question we have asked ourselves is 'Are the boys happy and do they enjoy going to school?' The answer is a definite yes, so I think that answers the quesiton.

  6. Sorry went off on one there on your post!

  7. Thanks for visiting today and for leaving your comment Anne! I really appreciate it.

    Anyone who know me knows that winter is my favourite time of year. I usually love Winter here in Brisbane, but this year I am getting quite sick (literally and figuratively!) of it. I agree with you, bring on those hot summer days by the pool!

    About your school choice, I could write a book on it! We pulled our daughter out of her 1st school when she was about to enter year 3 and she is till there (grade 9) and is blissfully happy. Our son started grade 6 at a new school this year and after only one term there we knew it was definitely the wrong place for him and he is now happily attending a new school and he settled in quickly and beautifully. Just listen to your heart and you will know what to do!

    Take care and best wishes,


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