From the Principal

The Points of Difference

Ever wondered if your choice of enrolling your child/children in an independent school is a good idea/good investment?

The recent media storm about “Year 12 muck-up” day plans at a number of well known Sydney schools might have coloured your opinion of the culture of some independent schools.

“Wild plans for Year 12 muck-up day and ‘scav hunt’ revealed.”

Might I note that so-called “Year 12 muck-up days” are not and will not be a part of the St Columba culture and I was proud of the manner our students graduated from formal classes this year.

To balance the negative media coverage, I suggest you consider a recent review of sectoral differences (Public, Catholic Independent) might help and reassure you.

Key sector differences:

Students attending independent schools:
• Reported a greater sense of belonging at school than students in government schools
• Are significantly more likely than students in the government or Catholic sectors to report cooperation among students in their school
• Are more likely than students in other sectors to report competition among students in their school
• Experience less class disruption than students in other sectors
• Are significantly less likely than students in other sectors to behave in ways that hinder their learning (such a skip classes, use drugs or alcohol, intimidate or bully other   students, lack respect for teachers or not pay attention in class)
• Are more likely to report higher levels of self-efficacy or competence than students in  government schools, but also more likely to report a greater fear of failure
• More likely to report their teachers as enthusiastic and supportive than students in the  government or Catholic school sectors
• Are significantly more likely to report receiving feedback from teachers.

Teachers in independent schools:
• Are significantly less likely than teachers in other sectors to engage in behaviours (such as absenteeism, not being well prepared for class and resistance to change) that  principals see as hindering student learning.

Parents of students at independent schools:
• Are more likely than parents of students in government schools to participate in school-related activities, and more likely than parents in either the government or Catholic sectors to volunteer in physical or extra-curricular activities.

In the end, you, as parents get to choose the school that best suits your child’s needs and aspirations and the one that best reflects your values.

The importance of choice: “School choice policies underpin pluralism in society. They allow families with different ethnic, religious and cultural identities to choose a school to best meet the needs of their child and their own values, within a frame of common social values.There is room for all choices in K-12 schools and students benefit from the options.”


Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School
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