How do I choose a school for my child?

choose a school

Oh, how the months go by! While mid-year means we’re only half way through the current grade, with 6 months left to triumph, it also means it’s time to choose a school for grade 1 and 8 parents. And this could raise anxiety, and even cause panic if you’re not familiar with the system!

Unlike other provinces, Gauteng has introduced an online application process for public school learners in grades 1 and 8 in recent years. Every year the system is polished and refined in the hope of providing fair education to all learners, amongst others.  Other grades may apply directly at the school, and of course private and alternate schools welcome applications at the door.

Click here to view the GDE Online Application Process for 2023.

How do I choose a school for my Grade 1 child?

Ideally a child should attend a good pre-primary school for at least three years before they enter grade 1.

Early childhood development is vitally important in order to prepare your child with the necessary skills required to deal with school and the playground. Parents need to understand that in accompanying their child on their road to adulthood, it is their responsibility to guide the child and equip them with the skills that will be needed in order to cope with their world.

Points to consider when selecting a Pre-school:

  • Do some research regarding the pre-primary and play schools in your area. The quality of the teaching as well as the management of the school will have a major impact on the development of the child regarding their readiness to enter grade 1 in a primary school.
  • Parents should arrange a meeting with the principals of the various primary schools  in their area to help them decide which pre-primary school in the area is most likely to prepare learners for school.
  • Parents need to also be aware that one of the considerations, is to ensure that their child develops appropriate social skills.
  • In these days of Covid many parents have kept their child at home with the result that a number of pre-primary learners are not that well socialised and this is inhibiting them in socially adjusting to the larger number of learners in grade 1.

Points to consider when choosing a primary school:

  • Parents should also  investigate how many  learners there are in each class. Many teachers have difficulty in controlling a class of more than 30 learners.
  • It is also important that parents are not influenced by schools that have very small numbers in each class as this is not always a guarantee that your child will cope with their world.
  • A good school is usually managed by a good principal, with well qualified teachers and an involved governing body.
  • Parents should do thorough research of all the primary schools in the area and take note of what extramural activities are offered.
  • It is important for a learner to be involved with a team sport or any other competitive activity that the school offers.
  • Parents should also understand that the child must enjoy school and want to be involved in whatever activities the school may offer.
  • Many parents, rather than encourage the child to participate in a school sport, send their child to a local soccer or cricket club instead. Often the reason for this is because the child is unable to make the school A team in whatever sport they enjoy. A child needs to be encouraged to try harder to make the A team rather than opt out and play for the local soccer team.
choose a school
Image by ludi from Pixabay

How do I choose a school for my Grade 8 learner?

By the time a learner completes grade 7, they should have some idea as to which high school they would like to attend. Some prefer going to an all-boys or an all-girls high school, while others prefer a co-ed school.

Before making this decision parents should accompany their child to an open day which is normally organised by most high schools.

  • It is also important that a learner entering high school should have a say regarding a choice of schools.
  • Many parents seem to be convinced that private schools offer a better education than most government schools. This is not always the case and there are some excellent government high schools that should be considered.
  • Many learners want to go to the same high school their friends are going to. This is not necessarily a good idea and if parents have any concerns in this regard, they should accompany their child to the school of his choice and then try and make a decision which will be in the best interest of their child.
  • Many high schools are renowned for the quality of their sports teams and headhunt learners who show particular talent in a specific sport. These schools often offer bursaries and are usually well-managed, have an excellent tradition and a well-run governing body.
  • A high school’s matric results are often an indication of a well-managed school with very competent teachers. Parents need to consider this when helping their child make a choice of a high school.

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Dr Ken Resnick

Dr Ken Resnick

Ken Resnick, parenting expert, psychologist, author, family negotiator, teacher, school counsellor, speaker, career counsellor, passionate about parenting, successfully raised step twin girls who turn 21 in June and ex-Springbok rugby triallist.  Visit his company SmartChoice Parenting.

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