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Who's School Is it Anyway!

14 February 2014, 20:00

My little girl has grown up and the time has come for us to start looking at prospective high schools around our city. Of course the reality with private schooling being unaffordable for the average family on the street we need to keep all the options open. This being said, we must also be able to not compromise on education.

Our town is known for its excellent schools, not only for academics but also for sport achievement. You would think that finding a suitable school should therefore be quite easy. Our application has consisted of some government schools and some private. Imagine my shock when the welcome we received (regardless of our social standing) at the private schools. A warm welcome by the staff and the girls alike.

Sadly my experience at the government schools have been that of sheer horror. Getting an application is almost impossible without receiving the 3rd degree. You have to fetch the application from the school, whereby you will be greeted by an unpleasant receptionist that makes it clear that you have interrupted her ‘very important’ work. Reluctantly you would be given application with a stern warning on how you really should apply elsewhere as there is no guarantee that your girl will be coming here.  Knowing that your finances would not allow for private education, unless a bursary or miracle comes to pass, with a heavy heart you take the application home to fill in.

Be warned not to phone and asked any question about the application as it would be inconvenient to answer any of your ‘pathetic’ questions. Eventually with all the documentation in order and ready to go to the open day, hoping, praying that just maybe the welcome would be a warm one.

So dear receptionist and secretaries please could you take more care in greeting prospective parents at public schools. Working at a government institution does not give you the right to pass your unhappiness on to the person coming through the door. We did not choose your job and it is not our fault that you have worked there for 30 years without recognition.  It is not our fault that you have a bad day every day this week and have been answering the same question to a 1000 prospective parents. A smile costs you nothing. A warm welcome makes parents feel welcome even if their girl does not get accepted at your school.

To the headmaster I plead that you get to know how your front line staff is treating prospective parents and aren’t just slapping on a smile when you pass by. Teach your reception staff some telephone skills in order for parents to want call back next time. Live what you teach so that our children will be proud of wherever they might be educated.

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