• Dr C. Brand

Is there a ‘right’ high school?


Choosing a high school can feel like a daunting task. It is a very personal choice unique to each individual child and parent, and there is no formula or recipe for making the right selection. Hopefully these will serve as a few helpful questions to ask yourself when choosing the high school that is best for your child.

  • Is this school affordable?

  • Is this school a good fit for my child’s personality?

  • Have I involved my child in this decision?

  • Do I fall within the feeder area/zone for this school?

  • Is the school within reasonable and convenient proximity of my home/workplace?

  • Did I attend open days and if so, what impression did they create?

  • What are the teachers’ credentials?

  • What are the school facilities like?

  • What is the school’s educational philosophy and value system?

  • Does the school offer my child enough diversity in terms of exposure to different cultures, religions and ability levels?

  • Does the school offer extra-curricular activities that are important/of interest to my child?

  • Does the school have a strong sporting focus, academic focus, cultural focus or a good mix of all three, and which one is most important for my child?

  • What are the class sizes like and would a bigger or smaller school (within financial constraints) be a better fit for my child’s personality and ability level?

  • Does the school have a good matric pass rate and (if important and within your child’s scope) does the school have a good bachelor’s pass rate?

  • Am I selecting a school simply because all of my child’s friends are going there, and is this an important consideration in selecting a school? (Keeping in mind that high school is often a time of cultivating new friendships).

Take the questions above and rank them in order of importance for you and your child. Remember to make application at more than one high school just in case your first application is unsuccessful. Best wishes for the decisions that lie ahead, remember that nothing in life is set in stone, and while not ideal, you can always make a change if you need to. Malcolm Gladwell said: “Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate thinking and instinctive thinking”. My experience is that parents have a sixth sense when it comes to their children, trust your instincts on this journey, if a school feels like a good fit for your child, it most likely is. There is really no such thing as the ‘right’ high school, rather find a school that is the right one for your child


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