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First year of High School 2020


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#101 Octopodes

Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:28 AM

That's really interesting, Kreme. I assumed this is just the way of selective schools, but maybe not given your experience.

The website of our top pick school explicitly says

We do not hold open days or host tours of the school for individual families, only students who are offered a position will be invited to attend an Orientation Day.

It is a top 5 ranked school in the Hills District, not JR.
Apparently parents are meant to just send their kids there based purely on reputation, without any idea of the physical environment or supports in place. It's a pretty hard pill to swallow when you have a kid with additional needs.

#102 crankybee

Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:36 AM

View PostKreme, on 10 June 2019 - 11:04 PM, said:

I know 3 kids who are there now and they’re all happy. It’s early days of course, but I would have been happy to give it a try for DS to see if it suited him. If it didn’t we could move him to somewhere more mainstream. I don’t see anything about the school that would make it unsuitable for anyone to consider.

I know 4 teachers that work there and the stream of students leaving the upper high school classes and returning to Killara High speaks for itself.

#103 amdirel

Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:20 AM

The selective school DS1 is at is fantastic. No competitiveness that DS sees, not against each other anyway! There are of course a lot of kids that are competitive against themselves, but that all comes from the parents, and those kids have hours and hours of tutoring in order to get higher and higher marks. They don't affect DS though as he's not friends with any of them.
It's also got such a wonderful, inclusive feel, because there are such a huge range of cultures and personalities, lots of quirky kids and lots of nerdy kids, so everyone welcomes everyone and there is minimal bullying. Unlike DD's mainstream school where everyone has to be the same and fit in. DS1 and DD have some interesting 'discussions', where DD is flabbergasted at the open nerdiness at DS's school, and DS is flabbergasted that DD and peers are so concerned with what others think of them.
I don't know how I made such different children lol.

Anyway I'm off now to hand in DS2's enrolment forms, to the mainstream school!

#104 Kreme

Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:47 AM

View PostOctopodes, on 14 June 2019 - 07:28 AM, said:

That's really interesting, Kreme. I assumed this is just the way of selective schools, but maybe not given your experience.

The website of our top pick school explicitly says

We do not hold open days or host tours of the school for individual families, only students who are offered a position will be invited to attend an Orientation Day.

It is a top 5 ranked school in the Hills District, not JR.
Apparently parents are meant to just send their kids there based purely on reputation, without any idea of the physical environment or supports in place. It's a pretty hard pill to swallow when you have a kid with additional needs.

I think I know the one you mean. I thought that was outrageous too.

We missed a lot of selective school open days when DD was in year 5 because we were on an overseas holiday. There was just one school (Girls, upper north shore) that refused to let us tour and said we could come and have a look if she got in. Umm there’s no way I’m putting your school on my list without seeing it! Every other school either ran regular small tours or had a second open day early in year 6. We are on the lower north shore so we were touring some very high ranked schools. I just think it says a lot about their culture if they treat prospective families with such contempt.

Amdirel that is exactly how I would describe DD’s school (can’t be the same one as it’s a girls school LOL). Every type of kid is welcome there and embraced. It’s such a supportive environment and they have girls pursuing every imaginable type of interest and activity and all of them are valued. Yes there are coached kids there, and I’m sure there are hyper competitive kids, but they aren’t DD’s friends so they don’t have any impact on her.

Having said that we are still not 100% sold on DS going to a selective school even if he gets in. Obviously he can’t go to DD’s school and we have struggled to find one that we like, that he will realistically get an offer for and that is close enough to travel to.

#105 dadwasathome

Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:47 AM

DS16’s selective school offers at least two information evenings, plus an orientation for those who have accepted a place. Others in our area so similar. I thought that was normal.

For DS16 there is certainly strong academic competition amongst friends. His complaints are about kids who are less engaged, particularly on group work

#106 Wahwah

Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:03 AM

I've got a bit of an issue with selective schools in Victoria. Because there are so few of them, they have a hyper-competitive culture and it's coming from the parents who want their kids to be doctors, lawyers and choke, at worst engineers. There's one school who has an open letter to parents on their website imploring them not to pay for extra coaching / tuition for their already very intelligent kids, and instead asking the parents to help their children foster other interests in non-school time. Another school sends letters home to parents telling them not to make their younger kids do homework in the holidays.

#107 Octopodes

Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:16 AM

If there's an information session post offers, but before acceptance that would be ok. I am really uncomfortable with the idea of you get to see in only once you are one of us.

This thread has been really helpful. Thanks everyone who has shared their experiences.

Edited by Octopodes, 14 June 2019 - 10:21 AM.


#108 Jersey Caramel

Posted 14 June 2019 - 04:58 PM

View PostOctopodes, on 14 June 2019 - 10:16 AM, said:

If there's an information session post offers, but before acceptance that would be ok. I am really uncomfortable with the idea of you get to see in only once you are one of us.

This thread has been really helpful. Thanks everyone who has shared their experiences.

I think I know the school you are talking about (BH?) and we struck it off our list purely because of that no-tour/open day policy. The problem with the selective process and the preferences, is that if you get in to your top choice but decline the place,  you don't then get an offer to your 2nd choice. So you really have to be ready and willing to take the top choice if you get in,  and we were not willing to do that without having any visibility into the school at all. I'm sure they think their results and ranking speak for themselves, but for us the culture and general vibe are more important (especially given the actual differences in the rankings between all of these top schools is so small).

#109 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 14 June 2019 - 05:23 PM

I have my middle one going to HS next year but what school was decided years ago in grade 3 when he changed to a P-12 Private school.... so just different campus same school but cohort doubles.


ETA his friends at old school either got their offfers for private school in grade 5 or beginning of this year grade 6. Happy that we were settled and didn’t do the competition of grade 7 places.

Edited by Veritas Vinum Arte, 14 June 2019 - 05:27 PM.


#110 Sincerely

Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:20 PM

View PostOctopodes, on 14 June 2019 - 10:16 AM, said:

If there's an information session post offers, but before acceptance that would be ok. I am really uncomfortable with the idea of you get to see in only once you are one of us.

This thread has been really helpful. Thanks everyone who has shared their experiences.

I think it's very reasonable that each school invites students to tour only after they have an offer. That was how our kids decided to decline SHS. Whilst it may be ideal from the applicant's perspective to view several SHS before they choose which ones to apply to, logistically, there are thousands of applicants each year and it would be extremely difficult to accommodate everyone. The schools who hold an Open Day annually are already sufficiently accommodating, those who have given private tours have been incredibly accommodating.

#111 Octopodes

Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:45 PM

View PostJersey Caramel, on 14 June 2019 - 04:58 PM, said:

I think I know the school you are talking about (BH?) and we struck it off our list purely because of that no-tour/open day policy. The problem with the selective process and the preferences, is that if you get in to your top choice but decline the place,  you don't then get an offer to your 2nd choice. So you really have to be ready and willing to take the top choice if you get in,  and we were not willing to do that without having any visibility into the school at all. I'm sure they think their results and ranking speak for themselves, but for us the culture and general vibe are more important (especially given the actual differences in the rankings between all of these top schools is so small).
That's the one.
We included it based on it being by far the most convenient school to us, location wise. We don't want DS schlepping across the city to get to/from school each day. It will take too much out of him. The longer the selective process has dragged on the more uncomfortable I've become with the lack of open day/tour at that school.

I'm really not sold on the whole selective high school thing, so if he only gets into that school, I am ok with turning the offer down and sending him to our non-selective backup school.

#112 Sincerely

Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:53 PM

View PostOctopodes, on 14 June 2019 - 06:45 PM, said:

That's the one.
We included it based on it being by far the most convenient school to us, location wise. We don't want DS schlepping across the city to get to/from school each day. It will take too much out of him. The longer the selective process has dragged on the more uncomfortable I've become with the lack of open day/tour at that school.

I'm really not sold on the whole selective high school thing, so if he only gets into that school, I am ok with turning the offer down and sending him to our non-selective backup school.

FWIW, my nephew attends this school and he seems pretty happy there.

#113 Kreme

Posted 05 July 2019 - 08:06 PM

How did everyone go with the selective offers?

We got an offer for DS’s 2nd choice, he’s waitlisted for his first choice. The school he got an offer at is our favoured school for him, it’s just the location that’s problematic. DH is now on realestate.com looking for a suburb equidistant from both DS and DD’s schools LOL.

We will mull it over for a while but I think DS will want to try the selective school. The alternative is our local so he can move there any time he wants.

#114 Octopodes

Posted 05 July 2019 - 08:44 PM

DS got into the third choice school and wait listed for both first and second choice schools.

We're going to turn the offer down, it is a 90 minute commute each way by public transport, despite only being 30km from home. That will be too much for DS. We're also going to drop off the wait lists.

He will go to the out of zone school we had already decided on as our backup. He has a spot in their gifted and talented class. He will have old primary school friends at this school too, so he is happy.

Very proud of him for getting in, when there were no substantial accommodations made for his autism and he only sat a few practice tests in the lead up to familiarise himself with the format of the test.

We were never invested in him going to a selective high school, so all good here.

#115 Jersey Caramel

Posted 05 July 2019 - 08:45 PM

DS got an offer to his first choice selective,  we're all very pleased.

Kreme, I wonder if your DS' school is the same one...boys school, upper NS?

#116 Kreme

Posted 05 July 2019 - 09:29 PM

View PostJersey Caramel, on 05 July 2019 - 08:45 PM, said:

DS got an offer to his first choice selective,  we're all very pleased.

Kreme, I wonder if your DS' school is the same one...boys school, upper NS?

No, northern beaches. Waitlisted at Sydney Boys. We live in the middle :-)

#117 dadwasathome

Posted 05 July 2019 - 09:31 PM

DS got an offer to his second choice selective,  but it’s probably a better school for him than the one his brother is at.

I think he was initially a bit disappointed, but now just want to know if any friends had the same offer.

Edited by dadwasathome, 05 July 2019 - 10:43 PM.


#118 Kreme

Posted 05 July 2019 - 09:38 PM

View Postdadwasathome, on 05 July 2019 - 09:31 PM, said:

DS got an offer to his second choice selective,  but it’s probably a better school for him than the one his brother is at.

Very similar situation here. DS is mostly disappointed that his sister is at the more prestigious school. But we think he will be happier at the one he got into.

Most of his classmates have scholarships for private schools so he has a very distorted view of success at the moment.

#119 amdirel

Posted 05 July 2019 - 10:19 PM

DS didn't get in. He's a bit relieved as he decided he didn't want to go anyway. His score was above the average anyway so he's not being *too* hard on himself.

#120 JBH

Posted 09 July 2019 - 09:32 AM

We got into our second choice school, waitlisted for first choice but pretty low down the list. The second choice school is easier to get to, and DS is pleased. We would still prefer the first choice school, but chances are slim so happy to have DS excited by the offer he has.

#121 tassiekiwi

Posted 23 July 2019 - 05:48 PM

After waiting for 2 months, DD got a letter from the local catholic high to say she got in. She is stoked. Another girl in her class also applied, we are hoping the school will be nice and put them in the same class, they aren't BFF but they work well together and at the same level.
It'll be long days, bus at 7.40am and home at 4.10pm, current is leave home at 8.15am and home at 3.10pm.

#122 Twinmum+2

Posted 01 August 2019 - 06:46 PM

View PostManicmum, on 13 February 2019 - 10:06 PM, said:

I’m in x2!

Haha me too!

#123 Twinmum+2

Posted 01 August 2019 - 06:54 PM

We had applied to the reasonably decent government high school that our DSs' primary school feeds into even though we were out of area.  Just found out we got in, which is good because the Catholic high school we had also applied to knocked us back, because of the whole not being Catholic thing.   Well I still am officially but not in practice and our 2 DSs were  christened in a Christian church but have had no further intervention.  

So now we won't be totally broke and they should still get a decent education.  Win win! :excite:

#124 Lady Monteagle

Posted 02 August 2019 - 03:56 PM

DS got his first (only) choice selective HS, and he's dead keen to go - I realised my predominant emotion was sheer relief that the whole process is over and we don't have to THINK THINK THINK about it any more.

A bunch of his OC classmates got in too, but interestingly the rest of them are very "wellll what are all my friends doing???" while DS is just very decided in himself.  Which I find myself admiring.  He might be the one who leads them all on!  (Not a role I'd ever imagined for him...)

Also this school didn't have any open day/night/things publicised until just now, after the offers have all been accepted, and suddenly we're getting a lot of attention: open night, orientation day, uniform day, personal (family) interviews, the works.

One thing I've been wondering about - and I'm curious about anyone else's experience - is the Ethnic Effect on potential 2020 families' perception of a good 'fit' for their child.  We're not talking James Ruse but a comparable situation, and while it's our nearest selective, we are outside its primary catchment area and demographic.  Local families talk about the 'coaching culture' issue, but there is an undercurrent of other 'cultural' concerns.  Hard to approach IRL though.

From our POV, DS as a white middle class male can deal with being a (hardly oppressed) minority in this one specific environment, and in terms of the actual coaching culture issue, well I hope that having got in un-tutored, he'll be fine to carry on un-tutored???

Interested to hear others' experience/views.

#125 amdirel

Posted 02 August 2019 - 06:16 PM

Lady monteagle my year 11 child has had a great experience at his school. He has never been tutored, and has never asked or seen the need to be. He has a lovely small group of like-minded friends. He says the excessively tutored kids just stick together and don't integrate much with others.
Looking at school photos, I wouldn't really call him part of a minority group, but there is quite an even split of cultural backgrounds- he's definitely not in the majority.
I hope that helps? I understand what you're trying to say, and it commonly comes up in conversation when other parents are considering a selective school, but honestly it has never ever been a problem, and now that we're 5 years into this school, I find it weird that I ever thought of it as a consideration tbh.




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