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Surprising things parents look for to find the best private school

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids, right? Quite often that just means we want them to be happy and to be the best version of themselves they can be. At the end of the day every parent wants their child to grow into a content, confident and well-adjusted adult.

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This was evident from the findings of our recent study into private school selection. While academic achievement carries a lot of weight in the education system, our insights revealed that the qualities most parents are looking for at the best private schools aren’t found in test results.

We asked 929 parents who had recently enrolled their child in a private school to rank the factors that influenced their decision when choosing the best private school for their family.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, the main reason parents had chosen private education over public was tied between the strong academic emphasis and the provision of better facilities and resources.

However, on a deeper level, the responses revealed an interesting insight into parents’ priorities when comparing private schools. Far above academic achievements, the majority of parents look for a school environment that will foster confidence and motivation in their child, provide personal attention from teaching staff and deliver a diverse range of opportunities.

A well-rounded education is the winner

In essence, parents are looking for a holistic education; one that nurtures and develops the individual as a whole, in combination with the practical knowledge they need to be successful in their chosen field upon graduation.

So while facilities and quality of education are the primary factors behind a preference for the private system, it’s the way a school nurtures and fosters the individual child that drives parents to choose a particular one from the hundreds on offer.

Sought-after school qualities

So, what’s important to your family? Are academic results so critical that you’re willing to forgo their personal happiness or development? Most likely not. You might find the following reassuring. Here’s the ranked order of things parents said were most important to them in finding the right school:

  1. An environment that builds their child’s confidence and self-esteem. They want their child to be motivated to learn, and develop a foundation based on positive attitude to carry through to adulthood.
  2. Personal attention that takes into account their child’s individual needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all method of teaching and learning.
  3. A variety of pursuits and activities on offer that give their child the opportunity to excel and broaden their experiences. These include ventures based in sports, creativity, leadership, arts, travel, technology and literature.
  4. Diversity in subjects and curriculum that provides their child a broad educational experience.
  5. A strong academic ranking.
  6. A community with strong values and a focus on pastoral care.

Assessing your options to uncover the best private school

Finding a school that meets your list of important criteria might feel overwhelming, but doing a simple analysis such as this is an excellent way to begin.

Once you’ve identified the qualities that are most important to you and your family, School Places can step in and help. We can put you in contact with schools that match your criteria, your budget and your location, and assist you through the journey of choosing the right school for you.

Open days and private school tours are a great way to see a school’s environment and facilities first-hand. You’ll be able to chat to staff and the principal, take home the prospectus and get a feel for the school culture.

You’ll also have the opportunity to ask the important questions; the ones that will assure you the school shares the same values that you do.

So let's chat about your child's schooling.

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