How to choose the best school

By Greg Whitby, 7 August 2019
Greg Whitby AM is Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta.


Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta

From time to time, I’m lucky enough to receive letters from a reader, most recently from a lovely mum from Sydney looking for a little more advice about school choice. I’ve been having the same conversation with my daughter about a school for my granddaughter. The circle of life!

For starters, it’s a great idea to visit the school for yourself. The practical things like distance to the school, transport arrangements, cost and before and after school care are important too. Regardless of the type of school it is, the focus should be on learning.

There is no perfect school, but I’m all for a little research! Here are some of the questions you could ask during a school visit:

  • Rather than asking What will my child learn? I would ask How will my child learn?
  • How will you get to know my child as a learner?
  • How will you make learning relevant for my child?
  • How will you involve my child in learning?
  • What does the learning environment look like?
  • How will you measure success in learning (hopefully the answer will be something more than tests scores and NAPLAN results!)
  • How will you involve us as parents in my child’s learning and in the life of the school?
  • How do you use technology to enable learning?
  • What will parent engagement, including communication look like?
  • What are some of the other opportunities available to my son at the school?

A deep dive into the website or Facebook page, if they have one, is good value too. What do these sites say about the school?

It’s not an easy decision, I know. At the heart of making the best choice is knowing how your child learns best, what his or her needs are and what gives him or her joy.

Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta


Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
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