Parents Urged to Visit Independent Schools to Put School Data in Context
Parents making decisions about future schools for their children are being urged to complement their online research with offline visits to Queensland independent schools.
Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said while websites like My School provided parents with a range of high-level school information, they could not replicate the “feel” parents get for the culture and character of a school that comes from meeting staff and students.
“In-person attendance at public events hosted by independent schools such as open days, community fairs, art shows or musicals, showcase the human face of a school,” Mr Robertson said.
“Queensland has a diverse independent schooling sector comprised of schools that embrace different learning philosophies or faiths, boarding schools, co-ed and single-sex schools, as well as specialist schools for children with disability, Indigenous students or disengaged students,” he said.
"Data alone will never be able to tell a parent how a school supports its students when they’re struggling, teaches them compassion, encourages them to try new things or develops and extends their talents.”
Mr Robertson said findings from national and state parent surveys showed families relied heavily on word of mouth from friends and other parents, their interactions with school staff and attending open days to inform their schooling decisions.
“According to a 2016 survey of parents by the Independent Schools Council of Australia, while some parents review NAPLAN results and consult the My School website, less than 1 in 10 parents identify them as an influencing factor in their decision to choose an independent school.”
Mr Robertson said independent schools were continually examining individual student, class and school data to enhance their teaching and learning programs for the greatest student impact.
“All data, whether it’s individual student data or aggregated school NAPLAN results, must be looked at in context, not isolation, otherwise incorrect assumptions or conclusions can be drawn.”
Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden encouraged families with any questions about the latest information added to My School to speak directly with their schools.
“Parents and carers can now access vast amounts of information on schools. However it’s important that families confirm what they’re reading, seeing and hearing directly with their child’s independent school,” Ms Kloeden said.
“Positive partnerships between schools and parents that are based upon respectful communication are in the best interests of all children.”
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