Isla, Tracey and Lulu Blackley. Isla will be going to NIS. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

How to pick a school for your child


Parents across the region are currently united in making a tough decision that could shape the path of their children’s’ future education.

Deadlines for enrolments in schools for all ages are either fast approaching or just passed. However, the process can leave many scratching their heads over the best choice for their child.

Parent Tracey Blackley says that she talked to a lot of people, who all had different experiences with different schools, before making a decision for her daughter Isla’s intermediate schooling.

“At the end of the day I think it’s what you make it, as long as you motivate your kids, they’ll be fine. It’s only two years.”

Nelson Intermediate deputy principal Simon Patel says we are lucky to have such a great choice of schools in Nelson.

“Ultimately, students need to be comfortable in their place of learning, surrounded by supportive friends and teachers. For the vast majority of students this means their local school is an ideal choice”

Nelson mother Rachel Cooper says that their local school had always seemed like the natural choice for her daughter Ciara.

“After visiting the school and receiving the parent information sent home, we knew we had made the right choice.”

“The school offers so many things that Ciara is interested in.”

Broadgreen Intermediate principal Peter Mitchener says the two intermediate years are such a critical time of pre-adolescence when many lifetime beliefs and hobbies can be formed.

“Since I have started at Broadgreen I have been really appreciative and impressed with the collegiality and support I get from the other local intermediate schools and we definitely don’t go out to recruit enrolments. It’s more about sharing the process and opportunities in the next stage of their schooling.”

As far as secondary schools go, Nelson College headmaster Gary O’Shea believes that between the ages of 12 and 15 girls and boys learn very differently.

He says girls are generally more mature and articulate, meaning boys can be too fearful of giving a wrong answer to contribute in class and that having your child in a single-sex school during these key years can make for a calmer and more focussed learning environment.

“Boys will often put each other down, in particular if girls are around. ”

“The posturing, the ‘I can be the bad kid, the clown in the classroom’ to try to impress, all of those immature behaviours of boys are reduced in a single sex school.”