10 May 2007

(Attempting) grace under pressure

The Hubster and I am in the middle of a Very Big Decision at present. Where will Number One Son go to high school next year?

About this time last year we made a definite decision that it would be a government school rather than a private school. This is a big decision to make in Melbourne where the pressure to send your precious child to private school is particularly great, and the choice of a government secondary college can be seen as somewhat daring. Over the past decade, I've read articles in the newspaper featuring battling families struggling to pay huge private school fees, saying that they are willing to make the sacrifice because it's the only sensible option if you care about your child's education. Oh dear.

There are a few reasons for our 'radical' choice, including the fact that we're both successful products of a government secondary education (albeit many moons ago in a land faraway called the 1970s, and mine wasn't in Victoria). But the bottom line is that we have three children, and while we could work our proverbials off to pay for private education for them all, we've decided that it's better all round if we go for the public system, particularly in a fickle employment market.

Once we started looking around at the secondary colleges in our local area, we found that the government system offers some great choices. There is a very prestigious secondary college relatively nearby - but to get in you need to have been conceived within a block of the place or try out for one of 25 'out of zone' places against 2,500,000,475.6 other young hopefuls. Number One Son sat the exam, but wasn't chosen. Ah well.

Thankfully, there are two other options, both attractive. The local secondary college is 'turning around' as we anxious grade six parents term it, and would be a good choice for our kid. And there is another larger school that he, The Hubster and I really like, which involves another entrance exam, an out of zone application and praying to the education gods that luck will be on our side. We won't know until August though.

What surprises me though is the reaction that I've had when I'm asked by another grade six parent about where he's going to go to school. Some people respond with a surprised "Oh, so you're putting your faith in [small local secondary college]?". I've even one mother ask me "Why would you do that?" when I said that it was an option. Because I really believe it is the right thing to do for our family, and you don't necessarily get what you pay for in this life!

Other people have told us that we'll never get into the secondary college we want as our first choice, and how come we didn't put his name down on the waiting list for one of the popular private schools when we first left the labour ward with him back in June 1995?

It will be a blessed relief when this time is over, the decision has been made, and we can start getting ready for the transition itself.

1 comment:

Lazy cow said...

Hi, I've found you through Amelia's blog. I'm also a local, and though my kids are only 7 and 5 the high school question is already a BIG issue amongst parents. So glad to hear that someone else wants to go Government school!! The pressure to put names down at private school is absolutely ridiculous. (I'm dying to know which schools you're talking about, I can take a good guess, though).