Tag Archives: High School

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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First High School acceptance letter

Whoa… 

Yes we had our kids young.  Choices were simple – which brand nappy to buy, formula milk, closest good quality daycare.  And now, suddenly, we’re choosing High Schools!  Aargghhh!! Life goes by so fast!

How do you choose a High School for your kids? 

On one hand, it’s a very important decision.  This is where they’ll transition from child to adult, go through adolesence, be influenced by others and want to find their individuality.  The type of people they hang out with, the wide offerings that the High School has, the inspiration from the teachers must play a huge part in how they grow up in their teens.

But on the other hand, does it really make that much difference in the end?  I strongly believe that family values at home are even more important, but I sometimes hear stories of kids from good families that turn out much different in High School.   And does it really make that much difference once you’re an adult – I mean, I can’t look at my friends and go, “Oh! You must have gone to XXXX High School because you’re YYYYY.”   Even amongst our friends, we have a mixture that have gone to Private Schools and Public Schools, and we all turned out OK in the end.   (Little secret – both my Wifey and I were fully Public Schooled from Primary to Secondary).

But there’s that part of me as a parent, like any other parent, that just wants the “best” for their child.  Whatever “best” means.  What is “best”?  Best for now?  Best for later in life?  Best geography teacher?  Best range of subjects?  Most expensive hall? Do I even use any advanced knowledge from chemistry or trigonometry in my life today?  What percentage of people do? Best exposure to different walks of life?  Best reflection of the general Australian population?  Best appreciation of making do with what we’ve got?

We’ve included our Miss 10 in the High School choices.  Coming from a Catholic Primary School, she’ll need to go to High School in Year 7 – in just one and a half years time. It’s amazing that even at her age, she has preconceptions of various schools, but we have to take it with a grain of salt, as she hasn’t been to hardly any of them, whereas Wifey, being a secondary teacher, has been and worked at various schools around Perth.   But Miss 10 seems pretty level headed and did say she would prefer to go to a co-ed school than a single sex.
 
And so lately we’ve been discussing what was important to us – pastoral care, learning and developing not just academically but in other facets like leadership, charity, change.  Miss 10’s interests of music, dance and art are important too – but we can satisfy some of these outside of school.  And we have constraints like geographical location and last but not least price.

So where does that place us?  We’ve shortlisted a few schools and have been to one interview for a High School so far.  I’m sure there will be more next year.

But the reality hit this week when Miss 10 got her first acceptance letter to that High School. 

I know it’s not the final decision, and we can always change High Schools once she’s in…  but how do we know if we’ve made the right choice? 

Will she be happy?