Lunch treats at the canteen

There is something special about parents sending their children to a Catholic School: a choice has been made.  As a family, they have actually chosen their school for their child.  So what exactly do we expect of our local Catholic School?  We have 332 families at my school and no doubt every one of those families would have different expectations at different times.

Over the past eight years as a Catholic Primary School Principal, I have interviewed hundreds of prospective parents and children and so have had the privilege of listening to many reasons why our school has been chosen.

For some, the reasons are purely practical; it’s on the way to work, my carer can collect easily from here, it’s a feeder school to various Catholic High Schools.  For others the reasons are philosophical; we want “values based” education, we like the style of education, we want structure or discipline for our child.  Sometimes the reasons are bizarre; we like the uniform or the lunch treats at the canteen!

Mostly, however, people speak deeply from their own spirituality.  They want their child to belong, to feel safe, to be loved and valued for themselves.  They want their child to hear and know the stories of Jesus, to feel they are part of a wider community – the Church.  They want their child to be part of the daily life and the special celebrations of that community.  They want them to know right from wrong, to be treated with dignity and be in an environment where they learn to treat others with respect.

All of these reasons speak powerfully of our own longing and need to belong, our need for inclusion and acceptance and a realisation that school is definitely part of the whole journey of learning about life and how we are a part of a wider world.  Realistically we can’t meet these expectations on our own.  It is only through genuine partnership with parents and parish that we can together achieve great things at our Catholic Schools.