Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I've Chosen a Boys School...

and the OPO's (Other Peoples Opinions) are coming thick and fast.


You may have noticed, the Little Man starts Big School, Kindergarten here in NSW, in 2012.

There has been lots of blogosphere discussion lately about school choices and making choices for your individual child and your family.

We have chosen an independant, religious, all boys school.

This and this, in part explains why I have always thought single sex schools were a good idea for high school.  Choosing one from Kindergarten is something I had not previously considered. 

I had no idea how controversial we were being!

I've mentioned before how we had some enlightening moments last year at his pre school when he rebelled against a teacher (and her regime).  The then Director, had a chat with me about rethinking our school plans for him.  I had already been going down the same path.

Our original plans were pretty much the same as our own educations - the local Catholic primary school followed by whichever Independent Catholic High School they got into.  This would most likely have been a boys high school (again, like us).

The Workaholic had been nudging me for a couple of years to apply for the school we have decided on.  He saw only positives in this school. I was resistant as I saw no reason to change our plans and it is not Catholic.

I obviously changed my mind and applied to the school once the pre school weighed in.

Since we decided on this new route, I have had a niggling worry about the lack of girls in primary school especially since my boys do not and are not likely to have sisters.  This has been exacerbated by the dreaded O.P.O (other people's opinions) which come thick and fast without any invitation from me.

Last week it was all highs and lows on this front.

It truly amazes me how people feel it is their right to give me their opinion on my son, the school and our choice to spend so much money on the boys education with no guarantee of genius at the end (WTF??!!).

At this point I would like to say that I went to a couple of independant girls schools.  At great sacrifice by my parents.  We had very little money and lived in a tiny terrace house in Enmore (before it was trendy) but they chose to spend money on my education because they saw the value in it.  I have always been grateful for the opportunities and perspective it afforded me and never had a doubt that I would pay for my children's education, if it were at all possible.  My reasons for this is a whole other post that one day soon I may just get too.

But, this is MY opinion and I have no need to comment on or judge other peoples choices.  Just the same as I wont tell you that removing all of the vowels and replacing them with y's in your child's name will not make her unique, it will just make her curse you everytime she has to spell it for someone, for the rest of her life or until she changes it by deed poll. Oops, sorry, my internal judgmental voice is showing...Resuming normal transmission.

Anyway, this week I have been bombarded by opinion, including a barked over the shoulder (I swear it was scary, agressive), "THOSE PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN THERE FOR 20 YEARS AND WILL BE FOR ANOTHER 20" to which myself and the mother of ex students of the school, who I was actually having the conversation with, across the room, raised our eyebrows and did not mention it again.  As I later worked out what, his "problem" was, well, I think anyway, that there are no girls in the primary school.  This man did send his own boys to said school from year 5 though, so I could be wrong, but I certainly did not want to find out what his point was! I also found out later that he had taught there...

Luckily two things happened last week that outweigh all of the negative feelings I have had and the negative opinions I have received.

Firstly the Head of the school spoke to the parents at an orientation session and ran through the school's approach and benefits for the boys.  I loved that he told us to expect physical confrontations and very dirty school uniforms.  I especially loved that he is so hands on and knows this new group of boys already, after just two sessions.  Best of all though was his statement "You've chosen this school, a boys school for your child.  Now, back off, trust us and leave the education to us".  It's hard to explain why this impressed me so much, probably because it is something I would say one of my pet hates is people who don't take the ball and run with it, be it in reality or metaphorically.  I expect them to know what they are doing, they have been doing it for a long time.  I'm not being lazy and shuffling the responsibility onto the school, I just expect a school full of boys to be pretty good with , um, Boys.  It definitely reconfirmed my own opinions about raising and educating boys and I came away feeling so sure that we have made the right choice. 

Then, my Uncle, who knows about this stuff because he taught in boys schools for his entire career and still, now in his 80's, writes the textbooks that Aussie kids are using for maths in all sorts of schools right now, was visiting from across the country, so we had a really good chat yesterday.  It was he who gave us the our family reference and convinced me initially that I wanted my boys at this school for their 13 years of education when I was baulking and considering what year to apply for.  He directed me to some wonderful studies on boys schooling and educational psychology for boys as well as some brilliant ideas for my take over of bringing up at the Parents Association.

At this moment I am so thrilled that my boys are going to have an education tailor made for boys and how they learn.

I'm not so excited by the prospect of fees and uniforms for the next 16 years...

So where do you stand with regards to offering and receiving OPO's??


  1. Hello there...I am new to your blog, and I admit, it was the title of the post that drew me here....
    I am Denyse (no offence taken at the Y replacing an I...that was my dad being a smarty pants when he didn't get to call me Jennifer)
    My working life has been as a teacher, deputy principal and school principal K-6 in NSW state schools. I was educated in mixed sex Primary, then girls state high school.
    For each child who has parents who love, care, research and want to very best for him/her in education....there will be choices made which suit that child & that family's philosophy, budget, location and more.
    This is what you have chosen.
    The best that you can determine based on your child's needs.
    I cannot for one minute think that "anyone" has a right to a comment unless invited. BUT
    for some reason, once you become 'different' in your choices in things...out come the OPO. That's all I can say. It is a human condition. If we are vulnerable and unsure OPO will sway us, if we are sure, then OPO will run off like teflon coating.
    That's all. That's your decision. And you & your son's dad agree.

  2. One of my sentences has not made much sense...due to editing - sorry..."research and want the very best" it should read. D

  3. Hi Denyse, I've been over at your site a few times when I've seen posts that grabbed me too! You hit the nail on the head re 'different'. I expect the Mum's who are sending their kids to the local STeiner and Montessori schools cop it too. Now that I have made sure I am 100% certain it's right for us, I am just like teflon as you say, but I wish people would think before they offer advice. I niavely thought it would go away once my kids were past the baby advice stage! I'm pretty outspoken and I certainly don't offer unsolicited opinions.
    At least you aren't Dynyse. LOL! I had just met a Mydyssyn (I kid you not!) when I wrote this post. Poor kid. Thanks for visiting. ;)

  4. All I can say is good for you! The world is full of sticky beaks who have no clue about you, well done for doing what's best for your boys :)


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