Choosing a High School

We’re about to make one of the more important decisions for Miss 10’s life so far – the choice of High School for next year. 

How do we know if it’s the right choice?  What IS the right choice?

It’s been an interesting year so far, finding out how the high school thing works.  Like many things in life, there isn’t a manual that tells you clearly what to do, or even what options there are. 

Catholic High School

As a bit of background, Miss 10 currently goes to a Catholic Primary School where most kids feed into a particular Catholic High School.  So this was obviously our first action – make sure she’s enrolled, attend the Open day, go to the interview, etc.   The thing I love about a Catholic High School environment is the general ethos that the school operates on.   Catholic High Schools may offer some scholarships, but some don’t as it doesn’t match the ethos of helping those in need instead those who are talented.

Fees at Catholic High School are substantially less than other Private High Schools.  It may be a sweeping generalisation, but their school resources may not be as top notch and their staff salaries not as high as an elite Private School, but it may force them to use their funding more wisely.

Public High School

As Miss 10 is quite musical, we decided to try to get her into the Education Department’s Gifted and Talented program.  This is like an extension program run at particular Public (Government) High Schools.  For the music extension, this has involved a general musicality test and a music audition.  Next up is an academic test, and then I think there is an interview if she is shortlisted even further. 

We’re also in the catchment area for a pretty good Public High School, so Miss 10 could just automatically go to the “local” public school if we wanted.

Private High School

Getting into a Private High School is a bit different.  I hear that parents nowadays put their kids on the waiting list as soon as they’re born!  We didn’t think about this until quite recently and so Miss 10 was apparently “wwwaayyyyy” down the list.

Another way of getting into a Private High School is to try out for a scholarship.  For Miss 10, going for a music scholarship makes sense.  It seems each Private High School has their own entrance/scholarship methods, but for music it generally means a music audition, and maybe an academic test too (usually run by ACER).  Guess they don’t want to take fantastic musos who are “dumb”, but since aptitude in music usually correlates to academic results, maybe this is redundant???  

So this year, Miss 10 has sat the music audition and the academic test and we’re awaiting the results.  Getting a music scholarship from a Private High School will means getting “free” instrumental music lessons, and potentially a discount off school fees too.

So what now?  We just wait and see 🙂

Although many parents place a lot of importance on this decision, does it really make that much difference to the person in the end?   I keep on trying to tell myself – it’s not like you can tell whether someone went to this or that school once they’re an adult!

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