Choosing the right school for your child can be a daunting and difficult task. It is a deeply personal choice and one of the biggest decisions you will make as a parent. To help you with your decision-making and to take some of the stress away, our Enrolments Team share some key insights into how you can select the right school for your child.

Before you even consider which school is right, you need to have a complete picture and understanding of your child’s potential to succeed at different things, in different environments. As a starting point, meet with your child’s current educator to discuss their needs and have a think about the following:
1) What are your child’s interests, strengths and weaknesses?
2) What is your child’s learning style? Does you child need more a more/less structured environment?
3) Are they academic? Do they have an aptitude in sports, arts or they a technical learner?
3) What is your child like in their current classroom setting? Quiet? Outspoken?

Having a complete picture of your child’s needs makes it easier to think about what you want and need from their potential school. Remember every child is different, so what works for one of your children may not necessarily work for the other.

As a starting point think about the school environment - single-sex or co-educational learning, private/independent/public and religious affiliation. These personal considerations need to be researched extensively, taking into regard your family views and values.

Aside from these points, it is important to consider the following when looking for either a primary or secondary school:
- Location
- Academic program and performance
- Class size and support services
- Goals, culture and facilities

The location of your child’s school in proximity to your home. You will be going to school every single day, twice a day for a matter of years, so it needs to work for you also – especially if you get stuck unable to do a drop-off or pick-up.
If the school isn’t in proximity to your home, but is a viable option, consider if it is close to other family members? Does the school offer a bus service? Is it easily accessible by public transport? Is there a before or after school programme?
To support families who wish to attend Mentone Girls’ Grammar from surrounding suburbs, we offer a private Bus Service. Our personalised service means that we try to accommodate families and will allocate stops according to the families who use the service. Further to this, our unique location in Mentone means we are also well served by numerous public bus routes and are just a 5-minute walk from Mentone Railway Station. If these options do not work for your family, we also offer Out of School Hours Care program via Camp Australia.

Whilst most schools follow the Australian Curriculum, each school does vary its approach in teaching and the breadth of subject offerings. When selecting a school for your child think about which teaching approach will see them excel. In junior years, compare International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme vs hybrid learning. In the senior years, you will need to decide between Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Aside from the school’s teaching approach, it is important to assess their subject offerings, as well as their co-curricular subjects and extra-curricular activities.

At Mentone Girls’ Grammar our Junior School students are provided with intentional teaching based on the principles of the IB Primary Years Program. This program supports a unique blend of inquiry and play-based learning with developing complex intellectual, emotional and social skills. Students in our Junior School participate in their core subjects, but also have the opportunity to be involved in co-curricular activities such as inter-school sports, individual instrumental music tuition, creative arts and areas of STEM.

Our Senior School students follow the VCE program, which aims to foster strong wellbeing and enterprising preparation for the future in tandem with a rigorous academic curriculum. Aside from their core subjects, these students also have the chance to participate in a vast array of co-curricular opportunities to enrich their school life. Such opportunities including participating in the Girls’ Sport Victoria (GSV), performing arts, Enterprising program and even public speaking/debating.

To further assess a school’s suitability, research their academic performance via their NAPLAN and ATAR results. This information and other nationally consistent school level data can be found on the MySchool website. How do the school’s results compare to those of other schools? What special achievements or recognition has the school received?

Mentone Girls’ Grammar VCE results illustrate that an impressive 42.1% of students from the Class of 2022 achieved ATARs of 90+. This is an additional form of recognition for students who have successfully met the demands of studying a high-level of mathematics subjects and a language in their VCE program.

Different schools have different goals and priorities – they could be based on academic performance, sporting achievements, or creative and performative displays. To understand the school’s goal and their ethos look for opportunities to hear the principal’s strategic vision. Research and read the school’s strategic plan, and determine if it aligns with your family’s values. If the values do align with your family, you may consider the school to be a viable option for your child.

To fully understand a school’s culture, it is best to attend an open day. This is when you get to see a school at its very best - with the programs, teachers and facilities all on display. However, it is also important to book in a time to take a school tour on a normal school day, where you have the change to observe students at work and see the school running as per normal. This also gives parents the freedom to ask personalised questions, relating to their own child and situation.

Parents need think about the following things when on a school tour:
- How does the school present itself? How do the staff present themselves?
- Who are the students – current and alumni? Where are they from?
- What facilities does the school have? What condition are they in?
- What is the vibe of the school?

At Mentone Girls’ Grammar we welcome the opportunity to take prospective families on a tour of our School where we can showcase our students, their achievements and our state-of-the-art facilities.

Schools differ in sizes - from a couple of hundred students to thousands of students. This also means that class sizes with student to teacher ratio varying greatly. The student-teacher ratio reflects the teacher's workload and how available they are to offer services and care to their students. Many students and teachers find that the lower the number, the better the educational process and learning will be[1].

Whilst schools do everything, they can to support their students, the level of support does differ. When researching schools think about any specific program or assistance your child may need and assess whether the school can assist. What is the availability of pastoral care programs, student counsellors/psychologist, in-house tutoring, sports training and music lessons – just to name a few.

At Mentone Girls’ Grammar we pride ourselves on being a small school, where every girl is known, seen and heard. We work with your daughter to find her passion for learning through our curriculum and co-curriculum programs. We can also support her with our Learning Enhancements specialists, School Psychologist, School Chaplain, and provide well being support in our Mind Body studio.

So how do you know when you have selected the right school?
Parents need to narrow down their choices and really explore the above to gain a feel for the school and determine if their child can excel in that environment. Ultimately parents want to see the best versions of their children at school. To me that means that they will love their school and find their tribe, be supported and extended and have opportunities to be actively involved in the things that make their hearts soar.