You’re wondering about which secondary school to send your child to. There are conversations at parent gatherings about Year 5 enrolment offers and the pressure to accept a Year 5 enrolment offer, or risk losing your place at the college altogether!
What do you do?
Selecting the right Secondary School for your child can be a difficult decision for many families. The pressure from some Secondary Schools can also impact on whether you commence your child in Year 5 or Year 7.
St Mary’s Primary School is currently working in partnership with a number of secondary schools to ensure our students receive a secure pathway into their secondary school of choice at a Year 7 level.
As secondary schools compete to position their school as ‘the’ school of choice for families, it is equally not uncommon to hear from the Enrolment Registrar at some colleges about the importance of:
- accepting an enrolment offer made for Year 5, or,
- registering your child’s future interest for Year 5 rather than Year 7.
Is this really true?
The short answer is ‘no’!
Growing Relationships And Securing Pathways For Year 7
As the Principal of St Mary’s Primary School, I have been meeting with Principals from a number of secondary schools over recent months to build on the existing relationships that St Mary’s Primary School has with each of these schools. The conversations have also been focused on exploring ways in which we can work together in partnerships of mutual benefit.
I am delighted to say that all of the principals I am working with are empathetic to the impact that a middle school (Years 5 to 8) approach can have on primary schools. More importantly, they have indicated a keen interest to:
- not apply pressure to families to enrol their child in Year 5
- make their pathways to enrolment for Year 7, explicitly clear
- provide confidence for families at St Mary’s Primary School about securing their enrolment for Year 7.
A key aspect of this work for St Mary’s Primary School is to obtain ‘preferential pathways’, as well as maximum information about the ‘enrolment process for Year 7’ that applies to each secondary school, and to make this information available to families in St Mary’s Primary School. Each of the secondary schools that have been engaging in these conversations and has expressed interest in working with St Mary’s Primary School has been provided with an opportunity to publish material relevant to their school, in our school newsletter. This includes:
- information relevant to their enrolment process for Year 7
- marketing material about their school
- what’s required to secure a Year 7 offer of enrolment at their school of choice
- why that school might be a ‘good fit’ for their child
Shane Tobin and Lauren Jones with Xavier College Principal William Doherty
Factors Affecting Decision Making For Year 7
It is critically important to understand that each secondary school has their own history, context and enrolment policy. This in turn means that each secondary school will require different information at different times, and will have variations in their formalised approaches to meeting with prospective students and families. It is also important to understand that each secondary school is operating in a highly competitive marketplace and that each will apply a range of strategies to marketing enrolment at their school.
‘Word of mouth is a critical source of information for families when choosing a school at both primary and secondary levels. Broadly speaking, these sources of information fall into two categories:
- school parents, friends and colleagues
- messaging from the prospective secondary school/s
While these information sources are often extremely helpful, they at times can be incomplete, inaccurate, or just simply incorrect.
It is not uncommon for a primary school principal to be asked by school parents about recommendations for secondary schools.
The response in almost all cases to this question is that parents should try to identify a secondary school that is a ‘right fit’ for their child. It would be inappropriate for a principal to recommend one secondary school over another. However, that being said, primary school principals can be an invaluable source of information in trying to identify the right school and in securing a student’s pathway for Year 7.
Preferenced And Secured Pathways Confirmed For Year 7
To date, the following colleges have agreed to provide a preferenced and secured pathway into Year 7 for students from St Mary’s Primary School. These are of course subject to the normal enrolment process of each college.
- Xavier College
- De La Salle College
- Sacre Coeur College
- Loreto Mandeville Hall
- St Mary’s College
Building relationships with Loreto Mandeville Hall
Your Principal – An Untapped Resource
In attempting to address a ‘fear of missing out’ on a Year 7 placement, some parents may feel they have no alternative but to accept an earlier enrolment offer, commonly made for Year 5 at their school of choice. This, however, is not always an accurate reflection of the choice that is open to them at that time.
During my discussions with these secondary schools, it has become apparent that there are often aspects of the enrolment policy which are not obvious from a cursory glance at the website. It may be that there are other factors at play or other information of which I am aware, that I can provide to families who may have concerns about “missing out”.
In consideration of my work with feeder secondary schools, which is ongoing, I strongly encourage families who may have any concerns about the ‘fear of missing out’ on a Year 7 place at their school of choice, to discuss this directly with me. Call on 9571 1358 or email email@example.com.
It’s a conversation that could make all the difference!
Lauren Jones and Shane Tobin with St Marys College Principal Terry Blizzard