Big school business

by Kimberly Flanagan

You know you’re a parent when you get to the middle of the year and you’re worried about which school your child is going to attend. Especially when it’s your little one’s first year in school. Grade 1 can be daunting for a child but the process of choosing a school is even more stressful for a parent. With all the hype around online registrations that opened this week for grade 1’s and grade 8’s, my mind is in a complete tizz.

My daughter will be attending grade 1 in 2021 and I know I’m a whole year ahead but I feel like there is so much to do before I can even decide where I would want her to go.

I posted a question on my Facebook page to ask veteran parents what they look for in a school and what they consider important.

Some of the answers that came up first were checking affordability which is obviously the most important, you don’t want to overspend at one school when you can get the exact same service and quality at a school that’s more affordable.

Same with choosing whether your child will be going to a private or public school.

Public schools can offer the exact same quality and curriculum that a private school can at half the price but if you are in a position to afford a private school, by all means, go ahead.

Something else that stood out was that parents look at the school building and the school grounds, bathrooms and classrooms.

You want your child or children to be in a safe and clean environment so that is definitely at the top of the list.

Other things that came up were what the schools offer in terms of academics and sport and arts and culture because balance is important.

We need to remember and be aware as parents when our children are less academic and more artsy or more athletic so that we make sure they grow up in a manner that will make them thrive. Not all children are academics.

In 2017 MEC of Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi said that there were 1397 primary schools in the Gauteng province alone, so imagine with all those schools, how difficult it can be to find one that is perfect for your little one.

When I think about my children’s first time in “big school” I want it to be a good and healthy environment for them, somewhere where they feel happy and comfortable. Somewhere where they can flourish and grow.

I want the school to have a good track record, I’m not about to put my kids in a school that has a record of drugs and bullying and the like.

I also want them to have a balance of great academics and arts and culture.

Whether I get these things at a public or private school, doesn’t really matter.

But schools are expensive and private schools are expensive but if I am in a position to afford a really great private school, I will happy pay those fees.

Even grade 1 is important so it’s really vital that you take the time to really sit down and consider all your options.

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