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Frank and Fearless on schools

By PickedANickname 12 May 2008 35

Seriously, where should a parent send their pride and joy to school in Canberra? Very hard to find real information on what schools are great and what ones are not.

We are not religious (as in seriously not religious on purpose).  It leaves only a few non-Christian options. 

I know Trinity Christian School through some older children in my family and although it is a very nurturing, it is over the top religious and has, in my opinion, very low educational standards. The kid I know did about 20% of the math homework assigned and failed every test…was given a B for result and A for effort.

 The press about the state of public schools leaves you worried.  Bullying, lack of supplies, parents who don’t give a rats etc etc…..

So where should my little one enrol?  How easy is it to enrol a child closer to your work than home?  BTW Bluegum is too far. Thoughts on Forrest Primary?

Thanks.

PickedANickname 


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Frank and Fearless on schools
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Mr_Shab 9:21 am 17 Sep 08

Kids get bullied everywhere, people. It’s not a sole property of the girls’ and boys’ grammars. It’s the style of bullying that differs.

I think the type of bullying at single sex schools is partially a result of the single sex environment. Without the moderating influence of the opposite sex mixing things up a bit, I’d argue that both sexes indulge their inherent unpleasantness to a greater degree. Shout me down and call me sexist all you like – but I think the culture of a single sex environment inevitably leads towards physical brutality (boys) or social torture (girls).

That said, I went to boys grammar and liked it at the time. There are things you learn in a single sex enviroment that you don’t learn anywhere else. ‘Course, it did leave me a social cripple around women for some years to come; but you take the good with the bad.

Ahem – back on topic. Pick- If your kid is mentally resilient, fairly bright and good at sport they’ll thrive at either one of the grammars. If they’re a bit more fragile or really bright they will get bullied savagely and remorselessly. Send them elsewhere.

nyssa76 7:44 am 17 Sep 08

Actually whistle, the French language stream in high school is the only area which requires compulsory French language tuition before enrolment.

As it is a Govt school, it must accept all students in its PEA (Priority Enrolment Area). The Primary school has French and English but it is not compulsory to speak French before enrolling.

Arawang is a feeder school for Stromol, but don’t believe all you hear about the school being ‘the pits’.

If you really want to know, ask a teacher…off to the side of course as we’re not ‘allowed’ to speak ‘down’ about ACT Govt Education.

As for the mobility issue, the ‘rule’ is 4yrs, then 6yrs and finally 8yrs before you do not have to move again. Senior staff have 7yrs at one school. An entire staff does not rotate every year so the school does not ‘change’ as much unless a new Principal arrives who wants to make changes.

ant 11:46 pm 16 Sep 08

CCEGGS never used to have bullying, but it seems when they got rich and began building chapels and pools and things, the bullying came in also. and they used to murder the boys’ school in the academic stakes, but I fear they’re not as strong there as they used to be, either.

The boys’ school always had bullying, unfortunately. I was sad when a girl from CCEGGS came into my library to look some stuff up, and confirmed it was at the girls’ school, too.

whistle 11:01 pm 16 Sep 08

Girls Grammar has a bullying issue. Their strong point is social climbing, not academic climbing. Boys Grammar is good academically.

Radford is better academically than the Grammars and also much a better culture for kids. It is the tope school, but impossible to get into. Radford has a huge waiting list double its enrolment size, and unlike the Grammars you can’t jump queue with a donation (unless you are Kevin Rudd’s kid). Burgmann in Gungahlin is going the way of Radford and more affordable. … This is the best value pick, but out of way for many.

Yes Forrest and Telopea are good as far as public primary schools go, but they have long waiting lists as a result. And Telopea requires your kid to have French language exposure to qualify for entry.

Some of the Catholic schools are good, but others are not far different from public schools. eg: I have heard negative stuff about St Clares.

Hard to generalise about some public schools because the ACT Govt makes teachers move schools after 6 years, so there is no long-term continuity of reputation or clustering of excellence. In some regards this prevents problems, but it can also inhibit excellence. Most people in ACT send their kids to public primaries, but there is a big exodus at high school level.

Some folks talk up Narrabundah. It’s a funny suburb with demographics at both extremes. The school uses the IB curriculum system, which gives you some assurance of quality.

Some urban legends make no sense – the Arawang primary school in Waramanga is said to be excellent, but Stromlo High next door is the pits (and they’re the same stream of kids)!?

ratatouille 10:34 pm 16 Sep 08

I went to Trinity Christian School up until grade ten, and now I got to Lake Tuggers. Trinity was awful. At the time I thought it was okay because I didn’t know anything else. But now I’ve seen they shove religion down childrens throats and stunts social development. I was kicked out of the library for not wearing a hat. Seriously, they are crazy there. Plus the school is a never ending cycle of construction, dirt and demountables. Merici seems like a good school. Marist and Eddies too. I think a private education is good to build certain foundations, but public schools are so much better for social development.

Whatsup 2:40 pm 16 May 08

Something to keep in mind is that different kids will have different needs. Which ever school you choose needs to push “your” kids buttons. Some schools have an emphasis on Sports and Fitness, others the Arts and Drama, some are open plan and others are closed. I would suggest shopping around and visiting several schools with your children. As well as making observations yourself, see how the children view the place. Its a hard decision for parents, that is why I say gather as much information from all sources as possible. Keep notes and then you can put it all together to attempt to compare “apples with oranges.”

Roland GRNS 10:20 am 15 May 08

I like the idea of a viscous circle, lemaChet, with things just getting thicker and thicker

someoneincanb 9:53 am 15 May 08

Having tried numerous public primary schools southside I can only say, if you want your child to have an academic education in a school that supports gifted/talented children as well as under-achievers then pick a NSW school. Since school closures in the ACT some of the best schools are gone, or converted into ridiculous P-2 models, and there seems to be no efforts to advance talented students in ACT. It is not difficult to send your children for schooling over-the-border, and the education system in NSW – for my kids NSW schooling been far superior to anything the ACT provided.
Schools NOT to try southside have been mentioned above – CC and G are definite NOs.
Someone mentioned the southside B school, just a few mins up the road from Gordon, and it is worth trying if you can’t make the trip to NSW.

pointe 9:44 pm 14 May 08

I would never recommend either Grammar schools. I was bullied there horrifically for years, and the school did not adequately utilize duty of care when I was in danger. I cannot speak lowly enough of the schools.

Telopea is an ok school – I have siblings who are there and they’re not overjoyed with it. The french stream is really hard work for kids and familiies if there is no background in French, but some parents think it’s worth it just to have that second language.

Orana is an interestion option, but a lot of parents don’t agree with withholding children from learning to read untul they are 7 or 8. It’s a very close knit community and very creative.

Forrest primary was ok (when I was there, over 10 years ago!) It’s a really badly designed building, so makes it hard to get around, but the school spirit was strong.

However, I’ve been to over 8 schools and I think I’m an advocate for home schooling!!! Good luck finding a school!

lemaChet 5:54 pm 14 May 08

my impression from someone who recently completed a day’s relief work at charles condor primary is as follows:

* they will not go and work there again
* the kids are run away brats, and not just because it’s a relief teacher
* none of the other teachers seem to care
* none of the other teachers want to work there at all.

i thnk it ends up in a viscious circle -teachers don’t want to work there, dont have the passion to teach/inspire/control the kids, kids act up, makes life hard for teachers, don’t want to work there.
etc etc.

nyssa76 5:32 pm 14 May 08

Pick, it starts with ‘B’ and is a little higher up than Gordon 🙂

PickedANickname 11:36 am 14 May 08

Nyssa76:Does the primary school start with a C or a T? My child will most likely be reading by Kindy. They are learning it in the preschool now….and it will be two more years till he starts Kindy.

Cheers.

Timberwolf65 11:28 am 14 May 08

Go co-ed, social skills are so important.

nyssa76 10:11 pm 13 May 08

Pick, I would steer clear of those southside schools you named. I won’t repeat them but they won’t ‘deliver’ what you want.

My kids go to a school close to those but which is MUCH better and they have high literacy. My Kindy daughter (just turned 5 btw) started to read within the first two weeks of Term 1 – sentences, not just words.

My oldest goes to the school near Marist and yes, it is a good school.

There, I got through that all without naming names 🙂

tylersmayhem 4:03 pm 13 May 08

I disagree. If you send any kids to school day in and day out for years on end with the same sex, can you honestly tell me that it’s not going to change their development in some way. I am not blaming the school for this. I am questioning the CHOICE of the parents to choose to send their kids to same sex schools, or at least they need to keep this in mind.

Yes, my grandparents might have said “you go to school to learn, not to socialise”. Please tell me how life skills of socialising is not important.

Girls seem to discourage boys from being immature and acting like dicks in a school environment, where as other boys tend to encourage the behaviour.

I originally went to Marist for learning difficulties. Without doubt, SKID will also blame that on parenting. Marist worked for me as it ensured discipline and attended to my learning problems. As one teacher said to me on an open day there a few years ago “if you were being caned often and sent out of class, that is a failing of the teachers, not the student, or the parents”.

It’s a tough profession to be a teacher, and such an important job to have, because they can make or break students. With this comes the responsibility of developing kids for more hours in the day than parents can ever have (short of home schooling).

My suggestion to PickedANickname – I would consider sending your kid(s) to Marist if they dream of Rugby grandure or have special educational needs. I have a lot of faith in the public school system, and I believe it more healthy for kids to learn and grow-up in a co-ed environment.

Notinterestedinyourbs 3:28 pm 13 May 08

I hate to say it but making a decision not to send your children to a school because it is religious, is very ignorant- no offence. I went to a Catholic school, and have many friends that went to government, and quite frankly there is NO real difference. It completely depends on the child. My advice would be to send them where at least some of their friends are going, thats usually how the decision is made now days anyway. Seriously relax up on the whole school issue. When it comes down to it, if a kid wants to be a doctor, they will, if a kid wants to be a f*@k up they will. As parents all you can and should do is be supportive, and responsible.

Skidbladnir 2:38 pm 13 May 08

Tylermayhem, if Marist sons dont know how to interact with girls, its not a failing of the school, more the parents.

If you want a school to teach your kids how to socialise, either send them to boarding school or etiquette classes.

cazjs 1:51 pm 13 May 08

I work at a prechool in the Inner South and the bulk of our children go off to Forrest Primary or Red Hill Primary. I;ve heard plenty of good stories about both schools over the last five years from numerous parents, many of whom already had children at one of these schools before my students started there.
Plenty of them are also out-of-area families, some from as far afield as Murrumbateman, so they definitely take non-locals. Possibly because the population of Forrest continues to age or die… i mean, who can afford to bring up kids in that area!!! 🙂

tylersmayhem 1:29 pm 13 May 08

In my opinion, avoid Marist and Dara by principal. As a former student of Marist (years 4 through to 12), it had it’s plus & minus points, and while I agree that it’s probably the safest time ever for kids (to avoid Kostka style interaction), the schools have clearly covered up goings on in the past. In my opinion, this is criminal.

Just think, don’t you want your boy(s) growing up knowing how to interact with the opposite sex, rather than only with the blokes. I know I do. You wouldn’t believe the number of Marist boys I’ve seen over the years (myself included at a younger age) not knowing how to be “just friends” with girls, and lacking all important maturity in that area. I also know of 2 guys I went to school with who took their own lives, under the pretence of having problems with their girlfriends (and as it seems more comes out about the dark side of these schools, who knows what else may have happened to these classmates).

A different angle for you, but there it is.

PickedANickname 10:37 am 13 May 08

Believe it or not, Grammar is less expensive than the full time day care my child is in at the moment. I would however like to support a public school.

I wanted to go down the path of Telopea. Unfortunately, they are not an area intake school and your child must have a strong background in French. I did bit of research in enrolling in the Australian-French preschool for the next two years, but according to my sources many parents are taking their child(ren) out of it due to dissatisfaction 🙁 And there would be no guarantee that after spending two years there that Telopea would take our child anyways…..

What we want is a school that is academic (i.e. reading taught in Kindy…not just starting in year 1) and not overly religious. The greatest concern is that a school is so under resourced and beset by problem kids that behaviour issues are the only thing focused on in the classroom.

Location – Southside – Conder, Gordon or Banks or closer to work which would be Forrest and Narrabundah. Willing to go as far as Western Creek.

At the moment I am leaning towards approaching Forrest offering that we could be (desire to be) more involved as parents since we work in the area than what would be possible driving to our residential location. Does anyone have a set up like this?

Scary enough is that most of our friends have kids going to Trinity and I would rather eat my own arm, so I can’t get any friend to friend advice. News stories are not very delightful and I even think I heard someone mention their kid had to donate toilet paper to the school because the school didn’t have enough funds to provide toilet paper. It that common?

Cheers.

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