Why choose a Public Secondary School?

At this time of the year, families in Australia are making important decisions about choosing a secondary school for their child.

Sandringham College in Melbourne’s south-east recently held the most successful open night in my term as Principal. We had well over 420 attend and more than 150 staff and students present on this evening also. The events provided  opportunities to talk to staff, students and parents about all matters schooling and I found this to be very rewarding. I especially enjoyed information sessions from our teams in Science; Wood; Dance; Media; SEAL; English; Maths and from our International Students.

This has given me cause to reflect and to consider the recent commentary on Why choose a public secondary school? 

There’s a common view that if you send your child to a private school, your child will get better results .

However the facts challenge this assumption.

A recent review of almost 30 academic studies revealed public schools achieve similar student outcomes to Catholic and independent schools across a range of education indicators. (Cobbold, 2015)

The review showed there were no significant differences between the results of students from public, Catholic and independent schools in national and international tests and in university completion rates.

And in the first year of university, students from public schools outperform their counterparts – they achieve higher grades in their first year of university than students from Catholic and independent schools.

You can read more about the review’s findings here: http://www.saveourschools.com.au/public-education/studies-show-public-schools-achieve-similar-results-to-private-schools

As a leader in Australia’s public school system I believe it’s important that families know about this information because it can help inform their decision-making.

We are very proud of our local Public Schools such as Mentone Girls’ Secondary College with whom we share a wonderful Senior School Partnership. Public schools are just as good as private schools in the area that matters most – developing your child’s potential. The review is one of many pieces of educational research showing that students from the same social background do as well in public schools as they do in Catholic or independent schools.

There are other good reasons to consider enrolling your child in a public school. They include the following:

  • Public schools are great value for money compared with private schools, which charge families up to $30,000 each year in tuition fees per child. Tuition at public schools is free, with families paying for books and some essential items.
  • Children in public schools learn to get on with a wide mixture of students from different backgrounds. These advanced social skills – cooperation, empathy, problem solving – are increasingly prized in the modern workplace. They equip students for success in life and in work.
  • Public schools are neighbourhood schools. Enrolling your child in a school within walking or riding distance to home makes it easier for you to know who your child’s friends are, to make friends with other local parents and to forge closer links with your school and your community.

High quality teaching is one of the biggest factors that influences student learning. That’s why public schools are intensifying their efforts to enhance the skills of their teachers through mentoring, peer and student feedback and other forms of professional development.

It is my view that Public Schools such as Sandringham College and Mentone Girls’ Secondary College are exceptional schools. We provide opportunities for all children to succeed, no matter where they live. We give all children a fair chance to reach their potential and lead a fulfilling life.

I invite you to visit us or get in touch with your local public secondary school.

Allen McAuliffe