Tips for taking the stress out of choosing a school 

Choosing a school for your child is one of the biggest decisions that families will make – but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Mentone Grammar Registrar, Pernilla Eklund Allan, offers some helpful tips on how to enjoy the process of finding a school that is the right fit for your family. 

I’ll tell you a Registrar’s secret…we actually want you to find the right school for your family, whether that is our school or another. The reason for this is that a school is made up of its people and the communal values they share. It is in the best interests of both the school and your family to find a community which aligns with your values and will support you in raising your child. While it is a big decision, it doesn’t need to be stressful. Too often, we are contacted by families who are overwhelmed by the choice, information overload and perceived pressures of making a decision. We want your family to really enjoy the process of learning about the exciting opportunities on offer for your child. Here are some of my top tips for taking the stress out of choosing a school.   


The golden question. 

‘How can I choose a school for my young child when I don’t know what kind of person they will grow into?’

I get asked this question a lot. Parents are, understandably, wanting a school which can support their child whether they become ‘sporty’, ‘arty’ or ‘academic’. In my experience, very few children can be neatly categorised in this way. At Mentone Grammar, we have students who captain the football team and then take the stage as lead in our latest musical, all in the same weekend. 

A well-rounded education suits every child. The more opportunities children are exposed to, the more likely they are to find their own unique combination of interests and, therefore, be engaged in their own learning and achievement. Look for schools which have great facilities, resources and programs, but more importantly, look for a school with a culture which encourages students to have a broad range of experiences and explore their own capabilities. School years are the very best time in our lives to learn about ourselves and find what motivates and excites us.  


Single-sex vs co-educational. 

Some parents already know whether they want a single-sex or co-educational school for their child based on their own experiences or their child’s preference – but many are not sure. My advice is to keep an open mind. It’s important to consider that your experiences are unique to the school you attended and the climate of the times, and may not be the same for your child. Not all single-sex schools will be the same and not all co-educational schools will be the same. It is far more useful to place the emphasis on school culture and their structure of pastoral care and support for the individual. Parents can find research online for both models to better understand the basis behind them. However, it’s helpful to keep in mind that it is only one of many factors which differentiate schools, so don’t get too bogged down by it. 

At Mentone Grammar, we offer the best of both worlds with our Together-Apart-Together learning model. You can read more and watch a short video on our website.


Visit schools as the first step, not the last. 

Families often leave attending an Open Day or School Tour to one of the final steps in their shortlisting process. However, there is nothing more powerful and informative than physically visiting the campus, so you can observe the students and staff and really feel the vibe of the school. It can completely change your decision.

It doesn’t have to be an official school tour or open day. If you prefer a more casual approach, check out the school’s website for upcoming events which are open to the public. Schools often have theatre productions, art exhibitions, musical performances and free parenting seminars which you can book into. These are a brilliant way to see inside a school without having to register your interest - and have a bit of fun in the process. 


At the end of the day, be guided by your heart and you can’t go wrong. More often than not, our families say they chose Mentone Grammar because it ‘just felt right’. The only way to determine if a school is a happy, positive place to be is to feel it, so don’t hesitate to contact the Enrolments Teams and ask to be shown around – that’s what we’re here for and we’d love to meet you.    



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