Is every school a good school?

November 23, 2021

If your child sat for a major exam this year, you might have heaved a sigh of relief upon their final paper… but you might also be waiting anxiously for the release of their exam results soon.

In theory, “appreciating their efforts” and “showing them unconditional support” makes sense, but we know it can be hard in practice. Here are some frequently asked questions we received during our How to talk to your child about their exam results workshops...

The short answer is: Yes. Every school is a good school, but how your child thrives in their school depends on what you make the experience out to be

Now, hear us out, we’re not blind to reality! We know that school rankings exist… It can be hard to ignore “prestige” or “name brands”... Certain schools are known to produce high scores and prominent alumni… These things are true. 

However, at the end of the day, your attitude and actions can influence your child’s secondary school experience (no matter what school they go to), as well as how they perceive themselves and develop self-confidence. Here are 3 tips that we hope will bring some clarity to choosing a secondary school!

Tip 1: Be clear about your “means” and your “ends”

This will help you define what “good” means for you and your family

When you take a few steps back and look at the big picture, you’ll probably realise that your ultimate goal for your child is not just to enter a specific secondary school.

At the end of the day, your best hopes for them are related to the type of person they’re going to become. You want your child to be a happy and successful member of society, who contributes meaningfully using their talents and strengths. You want them to be compassionate and caring, you want them to develop self-confidence and resilience. 

Attending a school with a track record of excellent achievements and academic rigour may be one way to help your child develop those traits. A competitive environment can possibly provide the right amount of pressure for some teenagers. However, these are certainly not the only ways to build your child’s character!

Remember: your child is a complex, developing human being. They are more than just their grades. Can you choose a school to reflect that?

In considering the secondary school they attend, look out for these other opportunities of growth: 

These can all shape your definition of a “good school”.

Tip 2: Instead of “best” or “perfect”, focus on “right for us”

It’s time to get rid of the idea that there is one “Perfect” or “Absolutely The Best” school. Certain schools may be ranked well for certain things, but at the end of the day, those rankings should only be neutral information that you and your child use to weigh while making your decision.

You and your child can decide for yourselves what is important to you, and what constitutes the right school for you! Your 12-year-old child might not be able to give you a detailed list of secondary school requirements, but you can help them narrow down their list based on their interests, talents, and preferences!

For example...

Some questions you and your child can consider: 

Tip 3: It’s what YOU make of it

Even after all that deliberation and conversation, please remember that choosing a secondary school is not the end of the story

Rather, it’s the beginning of a wonderful and exciting new chapter! No matter what school your child goes to, it’s only the start – not the end! 

Avoid falling into the trap of thinking that this secondary school decision will “seal their fate” or “close certain doors forever”. You and your child continue to have the freedom and the power to make the best of any secondary school they go to.

All the best to all students receiving their exam results soon, and to all parents who are striving to respond mindfully instead of react instinctively to their children!

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