On choos­ing a school.

On choos­ing a school.

Metro Magazine NZ - - Contents - TEXT — SUSANNAH WALKER

He taught us for only a term, but it was enough. In the sea of good, bad and in­dif­fer­ent teach­ers who washed through those high school years, he brought learn­ing alive in ways no one else did. He made it fun, he lis­tened to what we had to say, he made us hun­gry for more. The gifted teacher, the one who lit the fire.

Look be­yond what is mea­sur­able, quan­tifi­able, both eas­ily un­der­stood and eas­ily mis­con­strued. Schools must not be judged by re­sults alone; data can be in­ter­preted in var­i­ous ways and only ever tells part of a school’s story. Aca­demic achieve­ments are a guide, not the gospel.

A higher-decile school is not nec­es­sar­ily a bet­ter school — deciles should not be used as a mea­sure of qual­ity (yet the pro­por­tion of Pakeha stu­dents at Auck­land’s poor­est sec­ondary schools is tiny, and at some up­per-decile schools, the in­verse is true).

Look at the phys­i­cal things — en­vi­ron­ment, uni­forms and so on — and then go deeper, to cul­ture, val­ues, pas­toral care. All of these things will be im­por­tant, to greater and lesser de­grees, de­pend­ing on the needs and abil­i­ties of your child. Look un­til you find the alchemy.

And then look be­yond all of that to the peo­ple, the ed­u­ca­tors, the most im­por­tant thing of all. Just one will do. The one who lights the fire. See “24 things to know be­fore you choose a school”, our pop­u­lar guide to what to look for, and what to ig­nore, when choos­ing a school, at www.noted.co.nz/cur­rently/ed­u­ca­tion/

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