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ACARA ratings - how important are they?


SaffanZimbo

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We will be moving to Perth at the end of next year and I've been trawling the various forums trying to get an idea of schools etc and may be driving myself crazy in the process! I really want to get my two girls into a good school but we will not have the money to pay for a private school and with all the unknowns of where OH will be working (FIFO or not...) it proving to be an absolute minefield. I've looked as ACARA ratings in various suburbs/areas and they do vary greatly.

 

Rightly or wrongly I would like to stick to an area SOR which has good transport links to the CBD and Airport but rentals are considerably higher in those areas and more limited than some of the surrounding suburbs. I don't mind paying more in rental to get a good school but am I overthinking this? Ideally in 2-3 years we would like to buy a house in the same area as it is a catchment area for 2-3 really good government schools..... On our LSD in April we drove around the area and it made me more certain it was the area for us.

 

OH thinks I should relax and wait till we arrive next year before thinking about schools etc.....

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think league tables can be misleading. My daughter graduated last year and she told me that some schools only invite the brightest pupils to sit exams (take the level 3 subjects) in order to keep rankings high. Her school had an education support centre were pupils if capable of being in main stream classes were actively encouraged to do so. My children (as I've said on numerous threads) are chalk and cheese, my daughter is academic, was in an academic extension programme and had her sights set on achieving an ATAR to get her into UWA, my son, whilst certainly not dumb, is also good at sports, music and generally has more interests. We personally found that Leeming SHS met both their needs, my daughter got into UWA (the school has done very well academically these past 2 years and also has a science academy), my son is thriving, played in a rock band, been elected to student council and has actually been getting some excellent grades and showing a passion for learning we hadn't really seen before.

 

I tend to lean to the idea that if the environment is right then your children will have their needs met and achieve what they're meant to.

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I think league tables can be misleading. My daughter graduated last year and she told me that some schools only invite the brightest pupils to sit exams (take the level 3 subjects) in order to keep rankings high. Her school had an education support centre were pupils if capable of being in main stream classes were actively encouraged to do so. My children (as I've said on numerous threads) are chalk and cheese, my daughter is academic, was in an academic extension programme and had her sights set on achieving an ATAR to get her into UWA, my son, whilst certainly not dumb, is also good at sports, music and generally has more interests. We personally found that Leeming SHS met both their needs, my daughter got into UWA (the school has done very well academically these past 2 years and also has a science academy), my son is thriving, played in a rock band, been elected to student council and has actually been getting some excellent grades and showing a passion for learning we hadn't really seen before.

 

I tend to lean to the idea that if the environment is right then your children will have their needs met and achieve what they're meant to.

 

Thanks. It so reassuring to hear from those "on the ground" so to speak as moving half way across the world is stressful enough without the worry about finding the right school etc. Your words of wisdom are spot on (as usual!). The schools do the same here to beef up their SATS results. Do you have any thoughts on West Leeming Primary vs Rostrata Primary? These are the two in the areas I like and both have before and after school clubs which is something we will definitely need.

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West Leeming is near to us (my children went to Leeming Primary), I know West Leeming has a specific catchment area (not sure about Rostrata) - but to be honest, all the primary schools in the area have good reputations. If I was pushed I'd say West Leeming, but nothing more than it's more familiar to me and my neighbour teaches there

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What do the league tables tell you about a school? What sort of learning environment exists if the administration is focussed on ratings? How do your children feel when they are there? What do the other children say about the school? What does the learning environment look like, is it a celebration of effort or achievement? What sort of children do you have, are they academic? Creative? Sporty? Confident? Introverted? Musical? Do they dance? Cook? Take things apart? Have secret friends?

 

It's really impossible to say whether any school will be right for your child and personally I'd be far more likely to dismiss a school with supposedly higher ratings but then I've worked in learning and development for a great many years, my wife and I and our children are creative and we've always chosen schools because they've felt right.

 

Wait until you get here, have a look around, visit some schools and see what your children think.

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Thanks for the replies. Must admit that my LSD trip in April was great as we had a look around a few schools but will definitely need to revisit some when we move as as mentioned its really the on the ground "feel" of the school which the statistics don't take into account.

 

Our two are currently as a very small school (210 pupils) and so looking for a smallish school in Perth which caters for both the introvert and extrovert child as we have one of each.....

 

My oldest daughter is already asking if there will be French, ballet and swimming at her new school... the younger one wants to know if they have a pirate ship (shape of the climbing frame at her current school)...

 

One of the reasons I love this forum is the awesome advice I get (it keeps me sane tbh!). :smile:

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