The questions you need answered


As someone who went to three different high schools myself, I have to agree. The schools differ enormously.

It seems like even if your child is a toddler, it’s time to put their name down somewhere fancy or hastily revamp your early retirement plan lest it break down.

Next step: clarify some clearly unappetizing options.

  1. Paying up to $120,000 to $150,000 for a private school?
  2. Paying an exorbitant price to enter the catchment area of ​​one of the few decent public high schools dotted around the city (“decent” league tables mean they produce academic results comparable to those of the best long-term private schools ) despite the fact that they have no desire to move there?
  3. Sending boy to local public school despite alarming stories of bullies, gangs, etc. ?

Some people have strong and clear opinions and values.

Like “My child must go to a Catholic school because we are Catholics”.

Future scientist or future carefree lawn mower: who can tell? Credit:Emma Young

Or, “My child has to go to Pinstripe Manor because his father and grandfather did / academic rankings matter, that’s how we ensure our son gets a sparkling ATAR and becomes a doctor / dentist / pharmacist /lawyer/engineer/ We make a lot and it’s a logical way to spend our money, I’m happy to drive it anywhere, every morning, besides working until I’m 70 because I love my work and I like the idea that he is in this imposing and green school which “amplifies his true potential”.

Or, “I hate private schools. These little princes and princesses aren’t prepared for the real world in private schools, it’s weird to dress them like miniature businessmen, this stuff ‘amplifies his unique potential’ makes me want to vomit and doesn’t even make me want to stuff religion down their throats. Anyway, I can’t afford it.

Both are valid points of view. Your values ​​belong to you. If one of them is you, the choice is easy. In reality, your child will be fine anyway.

But knowing that your kid will probably be fine anyway doesn’t really help when you’re on the fence thinking about being the only one at the playgroup/mom’s group/gym/dinner considering d send your child to Stonewall High.

I know it will be finedo you think, but what if he could have been exceptional? Have you figured out how to use kelp farms to both save the world from global warming and provide good renewable energy saving? Is it selfish to also want to worry about my future?

Wait though, what if I put that $50,000, $60,000 or $100,000 to slow down, be more present, help him with his homework, show him what life is like when adults plan well and do something different? Isn’t it better for a child to have fulfilled parents with lots of time to spend with them and no regrets? And shouldn’t we support the public school system?

(Then again, those leaderboards for Stonewall High are really alarming…?)

I can’t be the only parent thinking, “I don’t love those bowler hats… but if it’s a really good school… if it has that guitar program… everyone says Saint Stuffy’s is wonderful and it’s mixed… there are a lot of cheaper schools if I want to drive it to X, Y, Z… but I mean, those are the most expensive at the top of the table…”

Of course, you would make sacrifices and compromises if you knew that it really is better for your child to go to a good school, but are the “best schools” really all “good”?


Does going to a public school or a lower ranked school (usually the same in Western Australia) limit their prospects?

Or will an intelligent child from a high socio-economic background succeed wherever he goes?

Can a better school make an average child brighter? (Not that you or I would have a simple way, of course).

Are you really paying a premium on real estate prices to move into the catchment area of ​​one of the few public schools? What exactly is it and how does it compare to tuition fees?

Why will the state government no longer publish league tables from this year, and how are you supposed to research the academic performance of each school? (spoiler alert… they don’t make it easy).

How do you formulate and research your questions about a school’s non-academic attributes?

In my future columns, I’ll explore some of these questions, for anyone who wants information other than coffee chatter and catchy but ultimately useless headlines about Perth’s ‘best schools’.

Because we might need lots of kids, and lots of kelp farms, if we’re going to save the world.

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