As I mentioned in the last post, one of the big things we have done in the past few months is enrol Charlotte in school (prep) for next year. I found this quite an emotional thing. When we started trying for a baby, we only really counted on the baby part. I never expected to have a schooler! (as Charlotte calls them).
One thing I also never expected, was the depth of emotion I feel about the issue of schooling. Now I respect every one's right to a different opinion on this matter. We all have our own reasons for choosing a particular school. However, one thing I strongly believe, is that you don't need to pay for a good education. Especially at the primary school level. I've heard lots of arguments (Oh the school near us is a bit dodgy, private schools have better teachers, you get more opportunities at private schools). I feel it is a bit rude to teachers everywhere to have these assertions made - all teachers go through similar university courses. They all go to work as dedicated and enthusiastic as the next one. And I know many a person who went through a private school who didn't get the opportunities they wanted (either they couldn't access a subject, or needed extra tutoring etc) or even a quality teacher.
We feel that should the children need extra tutoring, or "opportunities" then we can use the money that we may have spent on private school to fund this. The cost of one year at a private high school would pay for all of us to go on an art field trip to the Louvre, or perhaps a history tour of Rome. I'm sure we could find lots of necessary field trips.
Nevertheless, we still had to make a decision about which local school to send Charlotte too. We are very lucky, in that we have several quite close to us. Actually, we have two that are almost exactly the same distance apart. This year, one of them has enacted a catchment plan (where they draw a line and say children in that area can attend, all others have to go on a waiting list). Technically, we fall into that school's catchment. Given that school is in high demand, it would make one think it was superior. However I have looked and looked, and I can't see much difference. Yes it is bigger (which is a negative in my opinion); but both schools have identical naplan scores. They offer similar programs (music, a swimming pool, languages). Both have very active P&C's (so watch out, there will be an abundance of chocolate drives), and both have benefited from the government's school's building program. The difference for us, is that one we can access by back streets - the other we have to cross a major road. So for us, it is a matter of geography. We are going to send Charlotte to the slightly smaller, slightly less well regarded, but so much more convenient school. I have no issues with this. I feel we have made the right choice for us, and most importantly, for Charlotte. She has already attended an open day and a "teddy bears picnic" there and is so excited herself. We bought her school uniform last week and I got a bit teary seeing her all dressed up ready for school. Now bring on next year when I have to face her first day as a schooler!