From the Principal

School Choice

There is a lot of talk about choice in our world today – choice of who you can meet, choice of vaccine, choice of where and when you can travel etc.

At St Columba we have little choice about the restrictions we work under (currently Level 3, so schools are not as “free” as the rest of the state).

We have little choice in whether our campus will be carved up by an outdated orbital road dream, or when we can celebrate our Year 12 graduation.

What we can focus on is making the choice of school easier and more pleasant for our local families.

We can do this by being aware of what parental priorities are when choosing a school, and letting prospective families know what we offer.

Our first step is to understand what parents really want for this child’s education. We do this through community surveys, such as the recent Perspectives Survey (the response data from this is currently being examined), and wider surveys across the country.

These wider national surveys have shown some shifts in parental focus over the last few decades.

We know who influences school choice: “Across all sectors, word of mouth from friends or other parents was the single biggest influence on parents’ choice of school, cited by 53% of Independent and government school parents and 58% of Catholic school parents.

We know why parents are happy to recommend a school: “Parents would recommend an Independent school to family and friends, citing educational excellence and good teachers as the main reasons (54%), followed by a supportive and caring environment (52%) and good facilities (49%).”

We know what their top priority is: “Most parents wanted more from school education than simply academic results. They were looking for schools to play a part in their child’s personal development, prepare them for employment and provide skills that will be used throughout life.”

We know what are the key priorities in the younger Primary School years: “From Primary School parents, 61% nominated reading, writing and numeracy skills as their highest priority while 60% also wanted their child to gain a love of learning or curiosity and to grow in confidence and self-esteem (57%), be happy (57%) and to think for themselves (54%).”

“Our students need to emerge from school with the ability to read, write and add up. They also need to be able to solve complex problems, work in teams, be able to communicate and be curious.”

Why should we worry about survey data like this?

We do it because we understand that independent schools like ours can only exist and be sustainable if they meet the needs of families who are willing to make the educational, emotional and financial commitment to enrolling in a school that meets their needs, expectations and aspirations for their children.

No trust = No enrolments = No St Columba

Instead of this

And this

Or this.

 We would just be a paddock

with lots of empty buildings……..

Terry Muldoon
Principal

Want to share your thoughts on this story, or do you have something you’d like to add? Email me at principal@scas.nsw.edu.au

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