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What do you/did you look for in a Primary School?
Choosing for DS1 2013

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#1 *sassy*

Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:05 PM

I'm looking to hear what more experienced 'choosers' looked for when deciding on a primary school for their kids.  I'm a teacher (secondary - NO idea about primary) and wonder if sometimes that clouds my judgement a bit.  We are spoiled for choice but have gotten myself (and DH!) so confused through my over-analysis!  I've been to visit the 4 main contenders on my list and narrowed it down to 3.  I've met all principals and I think I'll probably have to go back and have another look/chat before making our final decision.  

So what are the key things you look for in choosing a primary school for your child?

#2 SMforshort

Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:34 PM

Most schools have a weekly assembly to which parents are invited.

Go to one for each school.

See how the students treat each other.
Watch what the school celebrates.
Watch how the teachers get on with each other
Watch how the teachers deal with the kids who are restless
Have a look at whether the kids are confident on stage
Listen to how the parents are interacting and what they are gossiping about.

Children will learn in a supportive environment that has good teachers.  That's what I would look for.


#3 SoniaW

Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:29 AM

Here is some of the things we did to choose our kids primary school - asked parents at the local kinder who had older kids, asked some teachers if they were happy there, went along to their fete, dropped by at school start time, checked out the after school program, grabbed one of their newsletters, asked for the student/school ratio for prep and grade 6, asked what languages were taught and asked how long principal had been there.

We chose a school that doesn't do the multi-age classroom blend because we didn't think it would suit our son who needs a lot of structure.  We chose a more traditional school where the kids stay in their same year level - so preps are in prep only classes.  We felt the class was quieter, easier for the teacher to manage and more kids the same age for our son to make friends with.

#4 tres-chic

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:11 PM

We chose a small school as close to home as possible so our two kids that will go there (DD probably won't) will grow up with friends in their neighbourhood that hopefully they'll carry through to adulthood.

There are two good schools near us and we went with the smaller one because DS1 is a bit wild and I thought he'd be safer there and because it has a great reputation and the Principal is awesome (she's old school and I like that).

We agonised too though, for ages!

#5 Maple Leaf

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

I had a list of "must haves" and a list of 'would be nice to have'. And then I saw which school came out on top. original.gif

#6 Guest_Cathode_*

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:21 PM

We had a choice of 3 public primary or 3 catholic primary.
One of the public one 'won'.

Factors we looked at were:-
School reputation (included were word of mouth etc).
Percentage of ESL students.
School score and ranking.
School policies.
And also the basic socioeconomic demographic. ie, 1 of the public schools had over 60% from lower socioeconomic background. That school didn't get a look in. I'm a snob. I admit it.

#7 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:21 PM

What do you want in a school?
Is there something about the basics you would like to improve on (more language choices, sporting or music opportunities for example?

Do you want it to feed into a particular high school and do you want your child to have friends to go into that high school with?

How much money do you want to spend?

Are you religious?


We had a few non-negotiables for ourselves and went from there. Although in the end for us there was only one choice as nothing else came close. When we were put on a waiting list we reallz panicked because everything else we had looked at was good, but none of it was anywhere near as good. Luckily we got our first choice.

Hopefully it works out DS loves school as I don't want to have to do all that research again with new parameters!

#8 *sassy*

Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:55 PM

Thanks so much for your insight - there's some excellent points for me to consider.  I like the idea of going to the school assembly and I think a list of pros/cons or needs/wants would be really useful.  

I feel like its going to become a trade off - we will miss out on some things but will gain others no matter which way we go.  So working out the vitals or most important elements according to our family beliefs and values is going to be imperative......lots of reflection on what those things are!!!

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