School choices re­vealed

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE par­ents have not been in­flu­enced by the con­tro­ver­sial My School w e b s i t e w h e n d e c i d i n g where to send their chil­dren.

School groups i nit i al l y feared the web­site would give mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion to par­ents try­ing to choose schools.

Four lo­cal schools were among 84 schools that took part in the What Par­ents Want: In­de­pen­dent Schools Queens­land Sur­vey.

Only 8.2 per cent of par­ents, who had re­cently started their child at an in­de­pen­dent school, listed the My School web­site among the three sources of in­for­ma­tion most l i kely t o i nflu­ence t hem when choos­ing a school.

By com­par­i­son 74 per cent listed friends and col­leagues a s t h e most i n f l u e n t i a l source.

Other par­ents with chil­dren at the school and school open days were also sig­nif­i­cant fac­tors.

In a sim­i­lar sur­vey, Townsvil l e Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion par­ents didn’t men­tion the web­site in their top de­ci­sion­mak­ing fac­tors, list­ing qual­ity of teach­ers, stan­dard of stu­dent be­hav­iour and sup­port for each stu­dent’s self­de­vel­op­ment.

The re­sults were de­spite t he i nter­net be­com­ing a more im­por­tant de­ci­sion­mak­ing tool for par­ents since 2006.

I n d e p e n d e n t S c h o o l s Queens­land ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor David Robert­son said 2292 par­ents took part in the on­line sur­vey.

‘‘ School choice is one of the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions any par­ent will make in re­spect of their chil­dren.’’

‘‘ It is there­fore im­por­tant to un­der­stand the fac­tors that in­flu­ence this choice and which sources of in­for­ma­tion par­ents find most valu­able.

‘ ‘ Pre­par­ing stu­dents for life, good dis­ci­pline and en­cour­ag­ing a re­spon­si­ble attitude to school work were the most in­flu­en­tial fac­tors for par­ents when choos­ing an in­de­pen­dent school for their chil­dren.’’

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