but there were many other aspects to consider.
“Make sure to collect all the information about the schools and ask lots of questions when touring the campus,” Mr Walter said.
“Listen for the information about what you value in education and make sure you raise any concerns.”
Mr Walter and Mr Parry have provided answers to common questions.
What does neighbourhood schools mean?
The neighbourhood schools program encourages people to send children to their nearest school in relation to their permanent residence. Families always have a place for their children at their neighbourhood school. If a family wants to attend a school outside their neighbourhood they can, but only if the school is below capacity. If the school is full, enrolments for students outside of the neighbourhood cannot be accepted. What is the common belief around neighbourhood school zoning?
The most common misconception is that people are zoned to a particular government school and that is the school they must attend. That is incorrect. Parents always have choice. As government school leaders we want families to attend their neighbourhood school but people are not zoned and do not have to attend any particular school.
What process is involved in choosing and enrolling in school?
The first step when enrolling is to make contact with the school. Organise a school tour and get an information pack.
You will learn about the Neighbourhood School Policy. This is the policy for all Victorian government schools and ensures all students who want to attend their neighbourhood school can do so. Families who live within the neighbourhood-mapped area will always have priority ahead of people who live outside the neighbourhood.
As principals we insist families tour their neighbourhood school as enrolments to attend a school outside of your neighbourhood will not be considered until that tour has taken place.
After completing a tour and making a decision, families need to complete documentation to enrol. If families are choosing their neighbourhood school they should complete the full enrolment form.
If families are choosing to attend a school outside their neighbourhood they should complete the Preference Form, commonly known as the Waiting List form.
All enrolments and preference forms are sorted at the end of June and during July or August, families will receive a letter in the mail, which states which school their child will be attending.
What should parents when choosing a school?
When enrolling your first child you need to remember that you are making a big commitment. If you have one child you are making a commitment consider with that school for at least seven years. If you have more than one child you are looking at having that relationship for 10, 12, or maybe 15 years. It is important the school you choose is right for your child but also right for your family.
Everyone’s values are different when it comes to education and when touring a school, or going through an information pack, make sure you see or hear things that you value.
If you don’t see or hear those things then ask questions. Make sure you get all the information you are seeking.
An important consideration when choosing a school is the relationships your family will form with the staff.
Learning is a partnership between home and school. It is important you feel assured a school will value your input and be responsive to your thoughts and concerns.
Parents and students are the best advocates for schools. Talk to other parents about their connectedness with staff. Children are intuitive and enjoy sharing thoughts and feelings about their learning environments.
When it all comes down to it, the school you choose must ‘feel’ right. After touring each school having seen and heard as much information as possible, you are then ready to make the decision about what is going to be best for you and your family.