Queensland parents embarking on a fact-finding mission to select a future school for their child are invited to experience the culture and programs of independent schools first-hand at an Open Day or school tour.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson urged parents to visit their local independent schools to see their campus facilities, meet their dedicated principals and teachers, and get that all important “feel” for the school.

“Queensland has a very diverse independent schooling sector comprised of schools that embrace different learning philosophies or faiths; boarding schools; mixed and single-sex schools; as well as specialist schools that cater specifically for children with disability, Indigenous students or disengaged students,” he said.

Mr Robertson said parents assessing schooling options placed a high value on the opinions of family and friends and school visits.

Almost six in 10 parents visit two or more schools before making a decision, according to ISQ’s most recent What Parents Want survey.

Many Queensland independent schools run specific Open Days, while others invite parents to drop in year round. Check with your local independent school on their parent welcome programs.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden said parents today had access to vast amounts of information on schools through individual school websites, the national My School website and a range of other online school guides.

“But nothing can replace the experience of visiting a school and meeting its principal, staff and students,” Ms Kloeden said.

“These personal experiences give parents a valuable insight into how a school fosters a child’s love of learning, keeps them engaged in school and supports them to achieve their best,” she said.

“It also gives parents the opportunity to ask questions about what matters most to them.”

Parents surveyed by ISQ nominated the following top five reasons why they chose an independent school:

  • the school helps prepare students to fulfil their potential in later life
  • good discipline
  • high quality teachers
  • the school fosters a responsible attitude to school work; and
  • teaching methods and or philosophy.

These reasons are highlighted in an ISQ Open Day video.

Ms Kloeden urged parents not to leave school selection until the last minute or they could be left disappointed.

According to ISQ’s survey, seven in 10 parents start assessing education options at least two years prior to their child starting school. Almost 30% of these parents said they started thinking about schools before their child’s birth or just after their child was born.