It’s not uncommon for new parents to baulk at the prospect of placing their child’s name on a school waitlist when they are just a baby. But there are valid reasons why you should start researching schools when your child is born. The reality is that it is one of the most important decisions you will make on behalf of your child, so the earlier you start the process, the better equipped you will be to make the best choice when the time comes.
While there may be no definitive answer on when you should start looking at schools, as it depends on the schools and factors unique to your family and child, starting your research early will give you an understanding of school enrolment and application processes. Depending on the schools you are considering, applying early can improve your child’s chances of gaining a placement at your school of choice. It can also give you peace of mind and plenty of time to fully consider your options, in relation to your child’s personality and learning styles before making a final decision.
Here are some reasons why it’s never too early to consider choosing a school for your child:
The earlier you apply for a placement at a school, the more likely you are to secure a place. It’s that simple. The are many benefits to private education and if this is your preferred option, the longer you wait, the more competitive it can be. All sorts of factors drive enrolment and people’s interests in different schools. As a starting point you will need to consider whether you are interested in securing a place in early years learning, primary, middle or senior years. Find out what the intake years are at each of the schools you are considering, as they will differ. If you are interested in the early and primary years, then there is a need to make your decision earlier.
You may be questioning if you can afford the fees of a private education, however it is better to have your name on the list, as your financial situation may change in time, and you’ll avoid missing out on a place. You will outlay a cost for each application, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
If you’re considering secondary school options for your child, you might argue that you have at up to 12 years to make this decision before your child is ready to be enrolled in high school, but demand is often higher in the senior years. That’s why it’s a good idea to research several schools soon after your child is born. While it’s true that you don’t yet know what your child is like, their personality, their needs, interests and talents, you can research other factors to get a sense of whether a school may or may not suit your family. You should consider the following when choosing a school:
- Does it align with your family values?
- Is there a strong pastoral care network?
- Are there particular programmes or activities you want your child to experience?
Visiting a school early on and getting a feel for it is highly recommended and should answer some of your initial questions. By hedging your bets and putting your child’s name down at more than one school, you’ll allow some breathing space to discover their yet to be determined uniqueness.
3. Tracking progress
Another advantage of researching schools early and sending in an application sooner rather than later, is that you can follow a school’s progress over the years which will help you develop a deeper understanding of how it operates, its achievements and general goings-on. Most schools keep their prospective families ‘in the loop’, through regular newsletters – it is a great way to keep informed of things such as academic results, significant appointments and any major works or programme changes, as well student achievements. Following schools on social media can keep you informed of upcoming open days, performances or other opportunities to visit the campus. You can also look at the comments to get a feel for the school community and how its members interact with each other.
Arm yourself with knowledge, options and peace of mind when researching a school for your child and the decision-making process should be made easier. For optimal choices, apply before your child turns one. You can apply for more than one school, so if you are unsure, apply early and consider it an insurance policy to secure a place at the school that eventually turns out to be the best fit for your child.
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning. Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each boy to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life.
To learn about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s top schools for boys, register for our upcoming Open Day.