A good school is one that our kids can fit in and enjoy going to everyday.

By now, the "every school is a good school" mantra must have reverberated both online and offline to the point of staleness. A parent who goes by the online moniker Lock, however manages to encapsulate its essence in a fresh definition based on her personal parenting experiences:

"I have 2 kids and have experienced 3 different 'types' of schools. Darling Daughter (DD) who just completed her PSLE this year was from a mission girls' school with PSLE results that are nothing to scream about. Top students usually scored around 15 marks lower than the national top scorers. And the number of students with >250 usually ranged between 15-20. Hence, in terms of academic achievement, I would consider DD's school not a good school. The students in top classes were not stretched and not much work was given even during the mths/wks leading to PSLE. In fact, I don't credit DD's excellent PSLE result (she is among the top 3%) to any of her teachers. It was I who coached her on all subjects, other than Chinese. Btw, DD has no tuitions in all subjects, except for Chinese.

But DD's school is a good school for her cos DD has blossomed into a confident young lady with strong leadership qualities. It is possible that the various character development progs and leadership opportunities the school has helped to nurture her in these areas. Where the school had failed to develop her academics potential, it had developed her confidence and leadership qualities. So, on the whole I would say that DD's sch is a good school. The lack in academic excellence can be supplemented by me.

Darling Son (DS) was in a top neighbourhood school from P1-P3. Just a few years back the national top scorer was from this school. Consistently, the sch has 50-60 students scoring >250. So, most would agree with me that this is a good school. I knew I would not have to worry for his PSLE as long as DS remained in the top 2 classes in this school. The school has very strict discipline as well, so the kids are generally very well-behaved. I like the school and would say this is a good school. But it's not a good school for my DS. The amount of work upset DS (frankly I find the workload insane as well but that's the way to ensure good PSLE results right!). Because of the strict discipline, kids were often scolded for playing too loudly during recess and there's a no ball games rule as well. All these did not go well with my active DS. While he continued to excel academically, he was not enjoying school life as much as my DD.

Then, in P4 this year, he was transferred to one of the sought-after top schools. His classmates and teachers were great and he was challenged academically. He enjoyed himself more in this new school. It is a good school for him but not for me. Personally, I find school discipline too lax. Bullying is quite common in this school and DS was picked on a couple of times. Parents can be snobbish and inconsiderate (judging from the way they drop off and pick up their kids in the school compound.)

So, what's my point? A good school is not one with excellent PSLE scores, nor one with excellent programmes but one that our kids can fit in and enjoy going to everyday. In that sense, all schools can be considered good schools as different kids have different needs and we have different types of school to cater to these needs. A parent's view of what's a good school can be quite different from a kid's view."


The Czar (Site Founder)

Dated 16 December 2013


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