Primary school is worth the investment

By Greg Whitby, 22 May 2019
Greg Whitby AM is Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta.


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

Over the past few months you may have noticed primary and secondary schools advertising their open days. Open days provide an opportunity for prospective parents and students to see schools up close – to inspect their facilities, chat to students and staff and to find out what schools offer.

When you speak to parents, many see secondary schooling as more important than primary schooling. This could be due to many reasons, one being that students are getting closer to making decisions about what they do post-Year 12. Many parents assess the stakes as much greater in terms of academic performance and success leading up to the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

Research also confirms that parents will spend more time researching options for secondary compared to primary schooling. Many parents start thinking about suitable secondary schools when their child is in Year 4. They will check out school websites, seek feedback from family and friends and attend open days long before making their final decision.

In contrast, the primary school journey for most families happens in the year before Kindergarten (although the lead-in time to making a decision is growing). The decision is often based on the school’s reputation, how close the school is to home and affordability. All of these are important factors but it’s important to remember that preschool and primary school lay the foundations for lifelong learning.

Primary schools provide settings where students are able to learn to cooperate with others, develop their independence, set goals and learn to cope with the ups and downs. We know these skills are essential for success in school and life.

As the Greek philosopher Aristotle said, show me the child at 7 and I will show you the adult. The decision of which primary school is best fit for your child is worth the time and effort.

Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta


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