School fees. Distance from home. Private or public. Religious denomination. As a parent, you would naturally consider all these factors when choosing a school for your child.
But what about a school’s education philosophy?
The common perception is that a school’s philosophy is generic and bears no standing on the desirability of a school — so how important is a school’s education philosophy?
The fact is, it should be one of the first things you consider. Here’s why.
A school’s education philosophy differentiates a school from its competitors
Sure, a school aims to educate its students to achieve their full potential; but how? What principles underlie this education? What qualities do its pupils embody when they graduate? Perhaps like Phillips Exeter Academy in the United States the school’s education is focused on collaboration and community. Or maybe it is similar to Diocesan School for Girls in New Zealand which emphasises empathy, confidence, integrity, curiosity and excellence. Its these underpinning values that differentiate schools form their competitors and that you, as a prospective parent, need to look out for.
A school’s education philosophy gives a school clear strategic direction
This is important to prospective parents for several reasons. A clear strategic direction means that the principal, teachers, support staff and students know what to expect and what is expected of them. As a result of this, all of their efforts are likely to be aligned and therefore more successful in achieving their goals. Without a clear strategic direction, staff may be driven by their own personal philosophies. In this scenario, the school risks becoming a jack of all trades and master of none.
A school’s education philosophy helps make sense of decisions made
If you know what a school’s education philosophy is, you can understand and rationalise certain decisions that are made. For example, why a school chooses to allocate a large budget towards developing their leadership program instead of a new swimming pool. The more a school’s decisions make sense to you, the more confidently you can choose the school.
A school’s education philosophy is a benchmark to assess school effectiveness
Does the school align with its education philosophy? Are efforts made to ensure its philosophy is integrated throughout the entire school? If it doesn’t, this could be an indication of disorganisation, internal discord or simply a lack of care for the direction of the school. A school’s education philosophy is a great way to regularly assess its effectiveness.
Before you select a school for your child, it’s vital that you consider its education philosophy.
Interested in learning more about Scots' educational philosophy? Download your copy of our Brave Hearts Bold Minds brochure.