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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?

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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71 Responses to
Public or Private Primary School?
Woody Mann-Caruso 12:40 pm 06 Jul 10

Your child can’t inherit a suburb’s NAPLAN results by moving there. The factors most strongly associated with your child’s educational success – highly educated parents, high socioeconomic status, mother aged thirty or older at time of first child’s birth, speaking English in the home, child not adopted – are already in place well before the child starts school and can’t be changed by a move.

Private schools in Queensland and Western Australia are grappling with this now – their overall results are being driven down by working class parents made rich by the mining boom and who want little Tayluh and J’aydun to get the very best education money can buy. It’s too late.

Jim Jones 12:35 pm 06 Jul 10

Fiona said :

no idea about Kaleen.

Kaleen has a reputation for getting ‘troublesome’ and low-achieving kids into good learning patterns.

Thumper 12:35 pm 06 Jul 10

‘Support your LOCAL Community, Support your LOCAL school’

Until it gets closed down 🙂

Jim Jones 12:33 pm 06 Jul 10

freakwent said :

Last time I checked, the single biggest factor in determining children’s academic ability is the availability and use (by parents) of books in the home.

The education and foundational learning *you* provide for your child/ren is infinitely more influential than the school they go to.

I’d suggest sending them to public school so that they learn self-discipline (this is particularly important at older school levels: private schools molly-coddle their students so that they perform highly in tests, which leads to students expect that everything will be done for them, while public school students have to sink or swim on their own) and decent social skills (how to to converse with the proletariat).

Having a child in a ‘local’ school and a sense of engagement with local community is also highly important. This provides a sense of groundedness and community – as opposed to school being ‘a place that I go to that isn’t home’.

peterepete 12:09 pm 06 Jul 10

Everyone wants the best opportunities for their children. I know that I’ve been really happy to get some professional insight from the teachers of my kids on their approach and program, and where they feel I can make a good contribution. I feel no insecurity that I have denied my children the opportunity to get higher grades. Public or Private – both are good options though there are probably poor options within those categories.

trevar 12:07 pm 06 Jul 10

I have also self-censored my original post…

Bloodymary, I have yet to find a use for NAPLAN results. They’re poor reflectors at best of what a school is doing. Rather than relying on quantitative data for a qualitative decision, why don’t you use the qualitative information that precedes the NAPLAN results on the MySchool website? You can get a sense of how seriously they take their role and what their values are from that. Then, having narrowed the field, your next job is to visit some schools and get a sense of the attitudes of the teachers.

But more importantly than that, take an assessment of your own expectations. If you expect teachers to do all the work for you, good luck finding any school that will subvert a parent’s role like that. If you want a school you can work with to improve your child’s development (and I suspect you do), you have to walk through the front door of the school and meet some teachers.

I went to one of the poorest performing schools in NSW, according to NAPLAN results. Nonetheless, my mother read to me constantly, hounded me about spelling and maths; I had a few excellent teachers (and a few duds), and I was eventually qualified as an English teacher (not that that means much: they never test whether an English teacher can spell, read or construct sentences, anyway!). NAPLAN results are for government purposes. The more critical factor for individual children is how the parent/s relate to the school and its staff.

Arch.I.tecT 11:56 am 06 Jul 10

In terms of quality of education, ACT Government Primary schools are as good as the private schools. I attended a private primary school, and found that students who progressed with me had little advantage in the secondary years to those who attended a public school. Often some of the Public schools have better facilities than the private schools (depending on its affluence)

Take some time to research the public schools and the curriculum they offer, and weigh it against your own values and perceived needs. Simply glancing at standardized test scores is limited, as school is more than just about getting an A.

As said before, its really about how much time you spend with them at home to “reinforce” the learning they are doing at school.

MrMagoo 11:52 am 06 Jul 10

I came on here to comment on this but now I don’t really need to. Level and sane heads have prevailed and people realise that NAPLAN testing is no and nor should ever be the be all and end all of determining school choice. Choose the school in your area, go to the school, meet the Principal and talk to him/her about what the school offers, take a look at the school. If you were applying for a job you’d do these things, so do it for your kids too.

There is good and bad in every situation and every school but please don’t choose a school on scores of a standarised test. Your children deserve better than that.

‘Support your LOCAL Community, Support your LOCAL school’

la mente torbida 11:39 am 06 Jul 10

second attempt at a post (I censored and deleted my original post)

public or private? it doesn’t make any difference. what makes the difference is the amount of time and effort you are prepared to put into your child’s education.

in the end, it’s a joint venture with teachers and parents.

freakwent 11:35 am 06 Jul 10

Last time I checked, the single biggest factor in determining children’s academic ability is the availability and use (by parents) of books in the home.

I wouldn’t worry about schools that do well on NAPLAN unless you have a career path for your child that includes someone paying them to do well on NAPLAN-style tests.

Fiona 11:27 am 06 Jul 10

Girl’s Grammar does have good teachers, but there are also highly motivated parents (such as yourself) who are more likely to have high literacy themselves sending their kids there. As with Telopea. Telopea is great for above average kids, not so great for the average ones. Garran also has a similar parental population – lots of hospital staff sending their kids there. Red Hill is mixed, with the combination with Narrabundah, a HUGE range in abilties there. no idea about Kaleen.

Erg0 11:12 am 06 Jul 10

urchin said :

i see that the teacher’s union was right to object to the website.

Maybe they should have done a better job of educating the previous generation about cause and effect…

farq 11:09 am 06 Jul 10

Just aviod the new “super schools” and your kids should be fine.

If you want to send you kids to a private highschool, better get them on the waiting list now.

lizw 11:04 am 06 Jul 10

You need to realise that there are more to schools than NAPLAN results.

The tests take place over 3 days in Term 2. Children who are sick but at school on test days may not perform as well, they may not be used to test situations, or they may just not perform well under test situations (my oldest is an A student, but always performs well under the national benchmark in the NAPLAN tests – she sits her year 9 one next year. The other is in the G&T program at primary school and breezes through tests). All of these situations, and others, may result in the NAPLAN scores not being as good as they could be. Another factor is any special needs children who sit the tests. They may also bring the overall school result down.

You really need to spend time at the schools. Talk to the principal, teachers, and parents who are at the schools. Look in the classrooms. See if you can sit in during a lesson or two. See what the P&C are up to. The good schools are the ones who let you do these things. They won’t necessarily have the great NAPLAN scores (the MySchools website is so misleading), but they will be the ones who provide a quality education to your child.

Don’t forget, too, that most public schools in Canberra provide a hands on fun learning situation rather than an bums on seats, copying from the whiteboard approach. I know which one I prefer my children to have.

I have been involved with public schools in the ACT since 2002. One is now in high school, the other in primary school. I am happy with both schools. Neither schools performed terribly well in NAPLAN. But that isn’t important. They are giving my children a fantastic education. The kids love attending school. 3 days out of the school year aren’t all that important. What’s important about NAPLAN is how your child goes compared to his or her classmates. NAPLAN is about showing the teachers the strengths and weaknesses of their classroom, and how the teacher can help them to learn.

urchin 11:01 am 06 Jul 10

i think it’s pretty short sighted to make two major decisions (purchase of a home and child’s education) based solely on a 30 minute scan of standardised test scores. i see that the teacher’s union was right to object to the website.

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