Public and Independent Education

Each school is different, regardless of cost, educational style and affiliation. To suggest one is better than another is to open a floodway for debate which centres primarily round personal interest and belief.

In many cases independent schools are more highly resourced than public schools in Australia, however this does not necessarily make them a better fit for your child. Parents need to research schooling options for their sons which cater for their interests, learning style, beliefs and values. They need to figure out where their child’s needs are going to be best served – whether it is in a coeducational setting, with a particular style of teaching or in a specialist school. It is a real challenge because each child may have a different focus but the decision must also be made in the boundaries of what is possible for the family.

Facilities within a school environment are just one of the factors parents need to consider when choosing a school for their son. There are a multitude of questions to ask including; what do the learning environments look like? Are his teachers passionate about teaching boys? Does the school cater for different learning styles? Will my son be challenged and encouraged to succeed?

There are also questions about location, cost, religious affiliations, gender and traditions. Aligning family values with school values is important because it engenders an education in which the child knows boundaries and the family and school are able to be consistent in supporting one another.

Some independent schools offer single-sex education. Research shows there are benefits to single-sex education because girls and boys can be taught differently. However, these differences can be catered for in a coeducational setting, either through the teacher’s style or by offering single-sex classes for subjects such as mathematics and English.

In making the choice of which school is right for your child, there are many factors to take into account. Research is available and can help to take some of the guess work out of this important decision. Research in the form of conversations with friends, school and education websites, school prospectuses, observing student behavior in the community, school open days or public events such as fetes can all provide valuable insights into a school. However, a school tour and discussions with a staff member about its educational offerings provide a great sense of the school. Education within a school context is fundamentally about the interaction between a teacher and students. Ask to go for a walk around a campus during class time, it allows parents to get the feel of a school and to work out whether it is the right fit for their child.