Having a child should be simple. You conceive it, birth it and then keep it alive and healthy until it decides it doesn’t want you around because you’re too old and buggers off to live somewhere else. At least that’s what it says on the box.
The reality is sadly fraught with obstacles and little nitty gritty details that need to be ironed out. Such as: your baby needs to be weaned and the only food in the house is jalapeño peppers and single malt whisky. Or else: your toddler has started running around and so you should think about removing your collection of replica unsheathed samurai swords from their rack by the front door.
Or simply: your child needs an education and so you must choose a school for him/her.
Tales abound of heavily pregnant women queuing up at certain private schools to be silently judged by the head teachers, who, with ultrasonographic eyes, peer into the soul of the unborn progeny and determine whether it would be a worthwhile addition to their cohort of students. Like Caesar, their thumbs up or down can make or break a life.
So, should you be in the unenviable situation of having to plan the entire future of the most important person in the world to you, here are the things you should be mulling over:
Location location location
For the love of all that’s holy, if the world were War and Peace, we’d just about fit on the final full-stop. Where your child’s school is should make absolutely no difference. Yet it may.
Depending on whether you’ll be the poor bastard trucking your progeny to and from their place of pedagogy, you might want to take into consideration traffic routes, distance and rush hours when choosing the appropriate institution of learning. Either that or use the school transport, in which case you can happily wake up in the moonlight, place your child on the pavement at the corner and go back to bed, in the secure knowledge that they’ll somehow make their way to school in one piece.
You may get to know all about the people who are going to shape your heir’s future by word of mouth or by actually knowing some of them. This is Malta, you’re probably related to at least one of the teachers at the school. This is possibly one of the most important factors, since these guys will possibly be spending more time with your kids than you yourself will.
You (probably) chose the other parent of your child, so makes sense that you’d want to choose good candidates for the post of character-builder. And no, Sarah, “that PE teacher has a really hot patata!” doesn’t cut it as a reason to send your child to Saint Wotsit.
If your child is going to live up to the expectations his nanna has of him, then he’d better get those academic juices flowing. Asking prospective schools for the results their students obtain sounds like a reasonable thing to do if you want the best for your child.
Having said that, academic excellence is not everything, and you might be more interested in other markers of achievement. Either that, or the fact that your toddler can shit herself at the count of three has convinced you that she’s going to make it whatever happens anyway.
Just think mummies: as you cradle your growing bump, you might be jostling a future Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin Spacey or Adele. But also, keep in mind that, for every world class concert pianist that assails our ears, who knows how many others totally failed to fulfill their potential and merrily hum along to the New York Best jingle on the radio?
Stuff your school allows children to do after they’ve done the boring shit that a conventional education demands of them may be just as important to you and your spawn. Check with your prospective school whether they offer banjo, parkour and animal husbandry as extracurricular activities. This is especially important for parents who intend to fully live through their children. After all, even though I didn’t get to be a rock star, little Jason should be given all the chances he can get!
Church, private or government school
Finally, we’ve got to the one most parents will be mulling over. I hope you don’t expect any information as to which is best, because forty different experts have seventy different answers to that. You’d think that being religious would prompt you to try and get your pup into a church school, yet many sworn atheists’ offspring hear daily Mass at a church school, and many staunch believers send their kids to heathen learning pens.
Also, you’d think that paying through the nose for your precious one’s education would guarantee sterling tutelage and rubbing shoulders with only the best. The reality is that no private school will make or break a student’s intellect, and drug-dealing murderers send their children to both government and private schools too. So this one is up for grabs, folks. Just keep in mind, no matter where you send the screaming larvae off to in the morning, you’re the lucky fucker ultimately responsible for what they turn out to be. So good luck! I’m off to look at my spreadsheet again…