The Uniting Church in Queensland has ten schools under its banner. These schools represent a vast variety of histories, offerings, specialisations, geographic locations and cost structures. Here are five questions to ask yourself when deciding which school is right for your child or grandchild.
Though schools may come under the Uniting Church banner, each school will adopt an ethos reflective of its own community. This ethos underpins the decision-making process and can be best seen in school policies and expectations. It is important to talk through the school’s ethos and values with the principal or registrar at the interview. There should be a good alignment between the values of home and school.
Not only do schools differ in terms of their ethos but also in terms of where they choose to focus their time and efforts. Some schools have proud sporting traditions while others have a particular educational philosophy. Schools expect students to participate in the full life of the school. As such, it is important that families understand if the school is emphasising certain offerings and if these are in keeping with your child’s gifts, aptitudes or interests.
It is imperative that parents calculate the full cost of sending a child to the school of their choice. Parents need to ask themselves if they can afford the school over the entirety of their child’s schooling. School fees will usually increase as a student reaches Year 12. It is also important to ask the school about the percentage increase in fees from year to year. Additionally, parents should know all of the additional costs to determine affordability.
Choosing a school is on par with choosing a home. Similar to both are the intangible elements which need to be considered. A house may look excellent on paper but only a visit to the property will determine whether it makes it to the shortlist or offer stage: so too for a school. Within minutes of walking through a school and meeting the staff, it will be easy to determine whether the school will be a good fit for your child and family.
Uniting Church schools do not just provide an educational service but are, at their heart, places of community. The basis of all communities is participation and mutual support. The success of a family in the school is often based on the effort they put into making relationships with other families; being willing to support school events as well as learning the traditions, history and culture of the school. As with all things, you will get as much out of a community as you are willing to put in!
Executive officer, Schools Commission