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Thread: Private school vs. Public

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Christchurch
    Posts
    153

    Default

    Hello,
    Yes, Cathedral Grammar was very good. And Selwyn House has a reputation of being inthe same league...and St Margarets, and Rangi.
    I do have a piece of advice though.
    If your child(ren) are approaching year 8, the last year of primary school, consider a primary school that has an upper school/high school attached. As an American, used to much more competition and more options, the exam/entry process is a bit of a learning curve, and stressful, since there are few options if you don't get the school you want. My son entered Cathedral grammar in the 4th term of year 7. Five terms later he was finished.... If there had been space, it would have been much better to enter into year 7 at St. ANdrews/St. Margarets for girls, and then skip the year 8 test/interview/wait and see process. If you are in the lower schools, you walk into the high schools pretty much automatically. It was all one more hassle, one more stress, and one more school change than we needed when wwe were in our first 18 months here. And, nobody gives you a full picture, or good advice....everyone just advocates the choice they made...? I think Amrericans are much more critical and open about discussing their child's school. Here, you often hear a giant cheerleading chorus...for whatever choice the crowd made.

    When you visit any of these top schools, St Andrews (STAC),Christ's, Rangi, St Margarets, you will find a number of Americans (representing more than our proportion immigrating to NZ). And upon talking with them, you hear them repeat their dissatisfaction with local schools.

    US schools encourage competition, narrowing the focus on studies, and individual achievement. NZ schools encourage a wider bredth of topical exposure, less competition until year 10-12, focus on a better balanced life, and a great deal more social skills.

    Plus, since all the race for awards/clubs/honors...does not effect your university entry process....the ability to develop interests/sports skills offers more opportunity.

    If you are demanding about a quality education, coming to NZ is a learning experience for parents. The system and goals are very different.

    Jen

  2. #12

    Default

    Hi Jen- thanks sooo much for your information- your advice does apply to one of our girls. (year 7 next year) Do you have any idea what the acceptance rate is from the feeder schools (such as Selwyn?). I think most of the schools are full until next year (at least for our children's grades) so we would have to do another school for a half year (while applying to the bigger schools). We'll find out more in a few weeks when we visit the schools. Also- I didn't notice any testing requirements to get into these schools? We have been living in Europe for the past year and have experienced the same thing about Americans being apt to be more critical about the school, curriculum, etc. Thanks again!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Christchurch
    Posts
    153

    Default Transitioning from Grammar to High School: Private Schools

    Hello Again,

    Yes, some of the schools have tests and interviews. The other thing they do is talk to the various headmasters...Christ's College sits with Cathedral Grammar's Boys headmaster and reviews each childs academic and sports performance.

    Its a very fuzzy system...and I have never read anything published about their entry rates. However, each school can tell you where their year 8 students went: Cathedral Grammar year 8 boys: 2 to St. Andrews, 2 to Boys High, Rest to Christ College.
    My son interviewed, and tested. He got into all three. The Boys High 'Lottery' is a bit of a fraud (but that is a seperate issue). St. Margaret/Selwyn...they will b able to tell you exactly where last years class went.

    You should visit...it makes all the difference. And, we had our son visit with us on a seperate, second tour of the school. Unlike some public schools you get a very keen sense of individual tone and character. FOr the first time we took his input very seriously. We felt he had reached an age of some judgement. Fortunately his preference met with our preference.

    My son is coming home on Friday...he is already begging to stay at school next weekend! Gosh...this is such an unbelievable change from years of complaints about boring classes, difficult peers, discipline problems in the class room...blah blah blah... He has more good friends to choose from than ever before...not an unpleasant complaint... Wow!

    yours,
    Jen

  4. #14

    Default

    Hi again- unfortunately we aren't bringing our daughters for our trip in a few weeks (we are flying from Europe so the flight will be 24 plus hours through L.A.- brutal!)- and we're meeting with relo firm. We still haven't decided 100% if we are moving to CC or going back to U.S. - our visit w/these CC schools will have a huge impact on our decision (my kids attended one of the best public schools in WA). We are very much attracted to some of the positive things that you have mentioned that differ in the NZ schools. We have also found a few of these positive things in their current school in Europe but they are just too darn bored right now (and one of my daughters espcially is starting to dislike school)

    You mentioned that "all the race for awards/clubs/honors...does not effect your university entry process"- why is this?

    thanks again for your input! L

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    ChCh as of 06/11/2004
    Posts
    288

    Default

    FWIW there was an article in the ChCh Press today about schools and their NCEA exam results. The full school tables and article is here:-

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/thepress/3992859a6009.html

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Christchurch
    Posts
    153

    Default Great Test Results

    The article is very helpful in test results. The statement contained about the bacheloriate program students contributing to a mmisinterpretation in noteworthy. None-the-less this serves as a guideline. I also know the Kaiapoi and Rangiora public schools (which lots of the Brits swear by) and I would say the relatively low scores do reflect my overall impression of them.

    When you take your university exams, you are not filling out endless applications for placements as in the US....a history of every award or club you have recieved a gold star from. Those life enriching events that make you well rounded are seperate from University exams. In my opinion, while it has taken some adjustment for us as parents, and our role in encouraging our son's education, this system is very well rounded. My son is free to explore new interests, and participate in a sport where he is a second tier palyer...not number one, without concern over missing out on an award...that would end up on his college application.
    For example, our son is a very good swimmer. In the US I would have kept him in that direction...looking towards college applications. Now he wants to learn how to play squash and be on the sailing club. They aren't going to win him awards towards college...but he has a wider field of interest and experience now. Has learned a ton from the sailing program. ANd loves squash.
    When you move here you will see that this is a very small country where the ability to socialize and make friends is important...already I meet friends and friends of friends in other NZ cities.. They say that everyone in NZ is only twice removed (not six steps away). The emphasis on social ease, skills, and all around development is important. And, I think the kiwi spirit of 'fixing anything with 8 guage wire' is reflected in the emphasis of having a broad early education. Specialization starts around year 10/11 and then University. In the US, you may already be tracked in a direction (especially in math) before year 8.

    Go Rangi Girls! great test scores again!

    Yours
    Jen

  7. #17

    Default

    Hi Jen- I hear you...one of the major reasons we aren't rushing back to the U.S. My oldest daughter was on a traveling soccer team and she had to give up a lot of her other interests/sports to play on the team. (plus they have tryouts every year for the team which is stressful) Either the kids end up being forced to narrow their choices or else they end up being overscheduled and burnt out at a young age trying to do "everything" - (or too much of one thing). Not to mention- good luck being eligible to play on the high school sports team if your kid hasn't been playing it since age 5! - its that competitive! Also, a lot of school time in the U.S. is spent preparing the kids for the state tests that are given in certain grades (and determine how much federal funding the particular school will get based on scores, improvement, etc.) - which is frustrating for the teachers and the students. Anyway, we are looking to move to NZ by choice (not job driven at this point)- I know it isn't the perfect place, but overall it sounds like you are very satisfied from an educational standpoint- good to hear.

    Also the above post with link above re: NCEA scores is helpful- is there a similar list for Auckland schools? I couldn't find anywhere?
    L

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Christchurch
    Posts
    153

    Default School

    Yes, what you mentioned about sports and school is exactly what we were experiencing. And since when did playing soccor your entire childhood become the end all? We were in the swimmin rut, the tennis rut. What is you love two sports with overlapping seasons. Inthe US you choose one and stick with it...so you can make the team the next year...and the next year. i wasn't expecting my son ( any of our three sons. We have only the youngest one here) to earn his living off of the sport. I wanted healthy fun for life. Unfortunately, in our area, if you weren't focused you would be nixed out for highschool teams. And, forget about University. No wonder kids re growing up with weight problems. This certainly contributes. My kid is into one sport or another Tues-Friday, and then Saturday too. On Sunday, he goes to the gym or the Rugby field with his 'mates'.

    ANd, we were also in the same test score rut. It started in grade 3! When our districts split, the principle actually lied to us to get our son into his school, because he tests so well. Good God. WHen the administrator clued me in, mid way into the term, we were out of there.

    My kids had over an hour of homework in total starting in year 2. It made activity in the dark, dreary winter impossible. And, I was exhausted trying to help little ones who just wanted some play time...and much to fidgity and cranky for that!

    I am sure Auckland must have something similiar published. But, if you have job options, come try Chch. We were planning to be on the North Island. A strange event caused us to come to the S. Island, which we had not visited before. Chch is a unique place. Big enough to be a city, small enough that you are not anonomous, and have the advantages of a big town. Wait till you see what a snap the traffic is here. (Auckland is the second most sprawled city after LA) NZ is great. CHch is fantastic. And, I love our little town on the rim of the city.

    Btw: we have Vonage. It has a US tel number, if you are in the US, a call costs the same as tinging Atlanta. If you have questions you can call on that. Anything else you need pre-visit?

    Jen and Bill

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Cambridge, Waikato
    Posts
    2,586

    Default

    This really fascinates me - the system in the US. At the moment we are working our way throug "The Sopranos" and I have noticed (I don't know whether it's accurate of course - it's only a TV programme after all) how much pressure there is on Meadow Soprano in her final years at school to get solos in the choir and stuff just so she can get in to a good college. It looks really tough and must stop school from being much fun. What happens if you have a bright but introverted child, who doesn't do sport or singing or anything, but is v clever - do they just have to go to a rubbish college? Just curious really...

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Christchurch
    Posts
    153

    Default Schooling your child with Mafia Money!

    Ammerican Culture...such a refined thing!!

    Yes, it is a problem. Kids have grades, Scholatic Aptitude Tests (Taken in year 11 mostly, and operated via a Princeton operation at a National Level) and then extracurricular achievements (awards, honors...)

    In the case you described, the kid has an edge on grades and SAT scores. Better find something he is good at...chess, writing, math team, music....something. For a top school, it takes more than grades and SATs. For kids aiming high, this is a long competition for awards, honors, positions...for that University application.

    Or, buy the placement...like on the Sapranos! Make a big donation to the school. George Bush went to Harvard...how'd ya think he got in!

    btw: Today's NY TImes discusses the Harvard Endowment, largest of all US Schools, 3rd largest in the US. The Bill Gates Endowment/Trust is the largest. nytimes.com

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