Our research supports Christopher Bantick’s view that parents choosing a school are attracted by traditional values but I wish that his recent article in Fairfax media had not been headlined Old-school values still appeal in modern world.
As an accomplished and colourful writer, Mr Bantick used ‘old school’ as a controversial peg on which to hang his story covering everything from what he called ‘the latest educational fads’ to NAPLAN, student streaming, how schools are run, independent public schools and more.
There’s not enough space to go into these matters and to save space I am going to delete the words ‘old school’ even though I do not agree that it has become a pejorative term.
I like Mr Bantick’s ‘glass half-full’ view that society is increasingly looking to values of respect for law and those who administer it as being desirable for social cohesion. I agree that parents are attracted by values that ‘stand for discipline, respect for authority, academic achievement for its own sake, scholarship, goodness and common decency.’ But values are not owned by any one segment of the community.
Our schools embrace various cultural and socioeconomic categories, reflect different religions or are non-denominational, and observe a range of teaching philosophies. Some schools are long-established and others much younger. They are in metropolitan and country Victoria.
But they all observe values that they have established to meet the needs of their communities and that’s their strength. Over the last eight years we have been asking parents why they chose a particular Independent school. Almost 40,000 parents said they chose their school because of the emphasis on the development of sound morals, values, beliefs and attitudes.