February 17th, the day (if you are a parent of a child starting primary school or high school) that you have to make a decision on your childs’ future. When thinking about making decisions on behalf of my children I never imagined that choosing a high school would be one of the most difficult decisions I have had to do.
When Zoë started primary school the choice was simple, we chose a school close to home and somewhere her dad as well as her uncles attended. We made sure to sit with her and assist where sometimes the school would lack, due to overcrowded classes. I was working at that point but wherever I could I made sure that I could assist in whichever capacity it may be. When I moved over to being self-employed, I was able to give even more of my time and I am proud to say that being with the school for 6 years I could see the huge difference and improvement at the school and therefore when choosing a school to send Kai too, the choice was not hard at all.
Now over the years, Zoë has developed into a beautiful bright and talented girl. As with every other parent, I want to make a decision that will not only be a good decision for us but will ensure that the path we send her on is the right for her future. Cue the conundrum.
So our decision is based on 2 things ;
- A school that offers subjects such as music and drama
- A school that we won’t face overt or underlying racial discrimination
We have shortlisted a few schools and I am now stuck with the choice of going with a local school or a school that is either private or ex model c. Each one comes with it’s own pro’s and cons and to be honest I am leaning more toward the option to send her to a local school. I will list my reasons below,. I have spoken to so many other parents over the past few months and it seems we are all sitting in exactly the same predicament and no one has a concrete answer on what to do. Have you or are you also struggling with this, pletase comment below so we can have a discussion and hopefully come up with the best decision for our kids.
Private/ex Model C school
- These schools are usually the ones that have the above-mentioned subjects and usually have amazing opportunities available for their learners.
- They have alumni that are proud to be a part of the school history which ultimately means that they look out for each other
- Parent involvement in the school and it’s activities are usually mandatory/ parents want to be involved to ensure the school moves forward in a positive direction.
- Classes are smaller so kids are able to get a better quality of learning
- These schools are usually not in our immediate areas, which means kids will have to leave home extremely early and get home late(they aren’t working yet, so I don’t think it’s fair towards them to expect them to be travelling like this)
- Although these school’s may not have the struggle with socio-economic issues, they also come with their own set of troubles,eg entitled kids that will look down on others that might not have as much as them or bullying kids’ that don’t fit the mould.
- Cronyism- This becomes a huge issue because when our children hit the job market and the HR person comes from X school it is going to be easier for the alumni to be selected than someone that isn’t.
- Fees are exorbitant
The notion that sending your children to “better schools” are really not one I prescribe too. We have had to many examples of how it really doesn’t matter which school you attend and it’s how you apply yourself as well as the amount of parent involvement you receive that is the determining factor. I was once listening to a conversation between Zoë and a student from a private school and am proud to say that she was academically much more advanced.
Another issue I have is that at times these schools come to our local schools and scoop up the cream of the crop and give them bursaries and scholarships to attend their schools, thus maintaining there caliber as excellent schools and having local school fall along the wayside because as a result, funding/funders flock to these schools to help improve things for the learners. Generally once these children are able to assist financially to a cause, their first place they head to would be their alma mater because that is where they come from.
Jo-Anne Strauss is from our very own Eersteriver, but no one will know that because she attended HH high school, is the face of Somerset Mall, so no one looks to our communities and community schools because the impression that is created is that we don’t produce the best in our communities.
- Close to home
- Majority of her peers will be going to local schools as well
- Build up community pride when we don’t have to run away from our communities to send our kids to “better schools”
- No additional funding coming to our schools, therefore we don’t have the resources to excel as best we can.
- No parent involvement, parents aren’t interested in assisting/volunteering to assist the schools in areas they may be lacking to help better the schools
- Overcrowded classrooms, no individual attention, top students can’t be pushed to reach their full potential and struggling learners fall through the cracks.
In the years’that I have been involved with Zoë’s school on a primary school level I can definitely see the difference and can just wish that more parents will see the benefit in helping to better our schools. So that we too can have amazing success stories coming from our schools to attract funders.
Our kids won’t think twice to plough back into our communities. Antonio Alkana 110m hurdles athlete for SA is from Malibu High and gives his free time and knowledge to our future athletes at our local stadium.
So here is where I am stuck…
Do I take the selfish decision and send her to the “better school” for her for opportunities in the future or do I send her to a local school and help uplift our community by being present and making the school better for everyone?
Don’t forget to apply online for your children, if they are going to Grade R, Grade 1 or Grade 8 next year. https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/admissions-201920 The site has been experiencing some technical difficulties this morning but if you wait a few days it should be fine, applications close on 17 March(please note you still have to take all required documents to the schools that you apply to as well)
Peace and Love