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Public or Private Primary School?

By bloodymary 6 July 2010 71

I have a toddler and I recently became aware that public schools have priority areas for school children. I would like to consider moving to a suburb with good NAPLAN results and from research; 4 public schools fall in this category: Kaleen, Red Hill, Garran and Telopea. If I am to consider private, Canberra Girls Grammar has good results as well. The problem with the 4 public schools I previously mentioned, only houses in Kaleen are affordable to us and we are a non-French speaking family so it is unlikely that my child will be admitted in Telopea.

My questions

1. Is Kaleen my last resort to move in to? Or should I consider private schools and not worry about relocating?

2. What chances do my child have to be admitted in Telopea or other public schools outside of the priority areas?

3. What other public schools would you recommend?

4. Are privately schooled primary years more advantageous learning-wise  than public school?

Thank you in advance, i am hoping you can shed light to my questions and I hope I can make an informed decision. Any insight is welcome!

What’s Your opinion?

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Public or Private Primary School?
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mum_off_2 1:19 pm 14 Oct 15

Hi bloodymary,

I am moving to Canberra in a months time and in the same position as you were about 5 years ago. I found your post and the comments very interesting and informative. I have a 6 years old daughter and I am looking for a reasonably good school for her and asking myself similar questions. I am wondering if you could share your experiences of last 5 years here to enlighten this discussion further. Which school did your toddler end up going and how did you find the quality of the education and the overall standard of social environment and level of co-curricular activities etc. What factors helped you to actually make this decision. Thanks in advance for your time as your response will be extremely helpful for me.

shadow boxer 1:17 pm 24 Aug 10

My kids are at private school and I went to Lyneham high, cynical as it may sound I send them to private school to buy them a sensible group of peers, and it works…

Its not ecause the kids are better in any way its just that kids that misbehave in private school are pretty quickly asked to leave, leaving a better quality group.

As an observation there have been quite a few kids who have come across from the public system in year 7 and they are generally 12-18 months behing the other kids in terms of learning level. They run intensive programs to try to get them up to speed before they go to Senior school in year 9.

Leftrightout 12:27 pm 24 Aug 10

Regarding comment #49, What is wrong with Kaleen High School? It may be small, but has a focus on the socio-emotional needs of it’s students, which is a responsible way to engage with teenagers. Let me guess where mummy and daddy sent you…Radford? Grammar? Darra? All of which are schools that are (a) private, (b) receive more than a substantial amount of government funding and (c) Charge excessive fees that clearly seperate the rich from the struggling…At least Kaleen High School supports an ethos of education for all. An education, a good education, is an equal right for all, not just for those who have the material and cultural capital to access it.

Leftrightout 12:18 pm 24 Aug 10

School is more than just doing well academically. It should be about choosing the school that is best for your child’s whole development, not just how well it does on NAPLAN. Just think, how do I want my children to end up? Academically driven perfectionists with no sense of compassion or love for others or as Happy well-adjusted people that have had ALL of their needs met? Its up to you as a parent to think about that, not just worry about how well a school performs in a test that is then published on a comparrative website that neglects to inform of the schools achievements outside of NAPLAN, of how well the school interacts with the community that it is part of and how much funding these better performing schools recieve. Now, when you take all these aspects into consideration, go and visit your local public school. Yeah, it may not perform well on one website, but it may be a school that has so much more to offer than just academics.

tlcomms 10:37 am 03 Aug 10

We moved to Canberra in March from the central coast NSW. My three daughters went to a christian Private school back home. I looked at numerous public schools down here and also compared them on the myschool website. The open classroom idea that canberra public schools have would have been a nightmare for my girls every school we looked at apart from Gold Creek were noisy and very disruptive. one part would be trying to do Maths and the space next door had music wtf?? Even though I didn’t want to I looked at Catholic schools and decided on Good Shepherd as it was similar to their previous school. ( I would have liked to send them to a christian school or grammer but fees for three kids were out of our price range). My kids came home shocked that the kids swear alot and the teachers ignore it. I think the uniform is horrible for the price I paid for it. My two youngest settled in ok but my oldest (year 5) hasn’t settled in and hates it. She is confused over the different religion teachings and doesn’t have any true friends. Does anyone have any opinions on Trinity christian school?? I don’t know what high school to send her to and don’t want to keep changing her schools, we are not very religious but I like that they learn religion at school. The schools are probably good down here but I keep comparing them to there old school which I found was brilliant..Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Hells_Bells74 11:14 am 21 Jul 10

housebound said :

Also chat to the catholic school next door (St Vincents I think). They are gaining a good reputation for helping children who have escaped from some of the public schools get back on their feet. Also, it will give you the option of a catholic high school when you get to that stage.


I liked going to that school so much (after being saved from Maribynong primary), I sent my 3 daughters there too. Religion was light-hearted mostly and designed to make you feel good about yourself and respect others.

If you asked me who the principal was in my son’s local public school, I would have no idea. The principal of the day at St Vinnies, always made it his/her (no hers in my parenting time there) business to know us all by name and always greeted me. They properly care for your learning and social skills there IMHO.

It’s mid-priced, great area and it’s the perfect size, both in numbers and perimeters.

But if you want public, just be sure your child is on the right track and can keep up mostly and it won’t matter really, they’re all good and bad at times. Helps to be self-motivated or passionate about learning to begin with too. If not, they will still get on okay, they will just become more social, creative or sporty kids or something.

Kaleen is a good suburb, but it’s had it’s share of crap like everywhere.

Just follow your nose, everyone ends up loving (love/hate thing) wherever they are at the time round here (maybe excepting the homeless of course) and if not they move.

housebound 10:12 pm 20 Jul 10

Also chat to the catholic school next door (St Vincents I think). They are gaining a good reputation for helping children who have escaped from some of the public schools get back on their feet. Also, it will give you the option of a catholic high school when you get to that stage.

bloodymary 10:07 pm 20 Jul 10

TheObserver said :

You could also try Aranda Primary

Thanks for the information. In fact, i am a bit embarrassed that i realized maybe we do not need to change suburbs after all. I’ve checked the website of Aranda Primary and i was quite impressed with their programs and school activities. Next time, i’ll visit the school and have a chat with the principal and teachers maybe.

TheObserver 2:54 pm 19 Jul 10

You could also try Aranda Primary – it has a very solid reputation and has had since it opened in the late 1960s. The curriculum is very good, a balance between male and female teachers, a good strong board and P+C and a highly involved parent/community base.

CharlieMaii 2:29 pm 19 Jul 10

Pear said :

CharlieMaii why did you want to go to Dickson College?

I went to St Clare of Assisi then to St Clare’s College, then to Lake Tuggeranong, then to Dickson College. I started at Dickson because my best friend was pregnant at the time and needed a lot of support as she has no family. I went to school to give her a hand with assignments and so she wouldn’t be alone in all her classes.

bloodymary 1:39 pm 19 Jul 10

Thank you all for the comments. I’ve had conversations with friends and similar to this post, they have differences in opinion. But one statement caught my attention… ‘the cream always rises to the top.’ Whatever this means or however anyone interprets it, maybe it should be a constant reminder that i should not be stressing myself about it. As much as i hate to admit it, i maybe putting too much pressure to myself as a newbie mom. I believe well-seasoned mums give me a nod with what i’ve just said. In fact my hubby doesn’t even worry about it either, he simply said to me ‘don’t sweat it.’ I believe in the end, everything will work out fine. Our decision will be carried out in the perfect time. I realized that choosing a school, either public or private is not a definitive solution; instead a long process that involves the child’s interests, parent’s preferences and teacher’s contribution to unleash the inner genius within.

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