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9 key factors to consider when choosing the right school in the mid-fee sector

Published Mar 23, 2022

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Many parents seeking high quality education have lost confidence in the public schooling system, leading to a dramatic increase in demand for private education opportunities at the so-called middle-income sector schools.

But how do you choose the right school for your child?

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Dr Felicity Coughlan, Group Academic Director at ADvTECH, says that there are nine key factors that parents should take into consideration when weighing up the myriad of offerings.

These include:

1. Location

Many schools are in the communities they serve, offering meaningful alternatives for parents and students. Given traffic and other considerations, location is important and so is the availability of reliable and safe transport.

2. History and reputation

We send our children to school to set them up for later success, so any school that cannot deliver well on the school-leaving examinations is a risk to these aspirations. New schools do not have a track record and parents must thus look for other indicators of what that performance is likely to be.

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3. Teachers

A strong cohort of teachers will combine new teachers with their energy and innovative ideas and recent training with a group of seasoned teachers with an established track record.

4. Registration

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A school must be registered and accredited. It is critical to assess the legitimacy and standing of the assessment provider so that there are no nasty surprises when children try to access post-school study.

5. Leadership

Schools succeed or fail based on their leadership teams. Try to understand what the school leadership believes about growth and discipline and community, and you will quickly identify if there is a synergy with your values.

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6. Technology

Modern campus-based education is technology enabled but not technology led. A few direct questions will enable you to assess if technology is adding to the teacher-led learning or if it is a means of keeping costs (for the school) down.

7. Culture

The match between the culture of the school and that of the family must be looked at. Schools that are diverse and inclusive generate skills in their students to live in an integrated world.

8. Facilities

A quick tour of the school will show you where they spend their money. What the school chooses to show you first or most tells you what they value.

9. Fees

Many schools advertise fees as fully inclusive but not all keep to that and many charge levies for all sorts of standard operational needs. Check the details.

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