Choosing a high school
By Linda Drummond |
Choosing a high school

Back when we went to school chances are that your parents chose your high school either because it was nearby - or simply because it was the high school that your local school fed into. But now it seems that we're overwhelmed with choices about our children's secondary schooling. Here's what's on offer for your child.

Local public high schools

The local public high school is undoubtedly the most inexpensive option, and it often offers an array of other benefits as well. Many high schools have an area of speciality and expertise - have a look at their websites to find out more.

Private schooling

For some private schooling is the expected norm, others will save to ensure their child has access to the highest level of amenities that money can buy. Private schooling is expensive, so it's important that you have all the figures before making the commitment. The fees are often only the start - so make sure you've budgeted for tuition, uniforms and extracurricular activities.

Religious high schools

If your child has attended a religious primary school then continuing on in this vein may be your choice. With an emphasis on Christian values, religious schools can offer moral guidance that appeals - and because they're semi-private, religious schools can also tend to offer higher levels of infrastructure and teachers due to their fees. But that's not always the case, so it's best to check out any school first before making a decision.

Other independent schools

For small, specialised classes and an alternative form of education there are a range of independent schools in New Zealand. Some of these have their roots in Waldorf (Steiner) or Montessori education, while others are completely independent.

What's right for your child?

Some children show talent, aptitude or interest from an early age - while others tend to cruise through life. Talk to your child about what they want from their schooling - and do plenty of research into what's available in your area. You'll want to find a balance between academia, interests, affordability and accessibility. Consider the other children attending the school and what types of friendship they may offer as well. Drive past the schools at lunchtime and before and after school. Do the teachers and students seem happy?

Questions to ask

Start researching schools well before you need to. Attend any open days and feel free to ask the following questions of the school's you're interested in:

  • What facilities are available?
  • How is technology utilised?
  • How many children attend this school and how many children are there in each class?
  • Are there programs for special needs: eg slow learners or gifted students?
  • What kind of extra-curricular activities are on offer?
  • What are the school's academic results?
  • Are there specialist teachers available?
  • Does the school seem well-maintained and inviting?


Find more about communicating with schools:

Ready Set Learn


This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand's largest online educational resource.


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