Truth bombs are never easy to drop.
Sarah Haynes spoke about private schools putting their image ahead of the welfare of their students.
It was a very public smack-down and one that received a standing ovation from the audience.
You can watch said smack-down here:
It’s not just schools that have lost their way. I think we all have.
We’ve become seduced by school academic records and sparkly facilities.
I think we’ve forgotten that the real goal in high school is to get our children through emotionally unscathed.
Isn’t real goal making sure that our children walk out of their school gates for the last time – be private or public – brimming with excitement, having had six years of inspiration, nurturing and guidance?
We want them to graduate with a sense of their place in the world and an understanding of the importance of social justice, the concept of privilege and the responsibility to give back.
We want them to understand that their behaviour has consequences, that integrity is everything and that they should strive to remain curious throughout their lives. We want them to leave high school with strong minds and open hearts.
Remind me again what that has to do with world-class aquatic centres and academic perfection?
At what point did we all start falling for the brochures and believing that a beautiful uniform, a Latin motto and an Olympic sized swimming pool was the biggest gift we could give our child? At what stage did so many of us agree that a happy high school experience could only unfold in a high school that boasted a “zone” netball or rugby team?
This is not about choosing private or public. Both can be wonderful. This is about digging deeper and making different factors a priority if you are lucky enough to be able to go ‘high school shopping’. Let’s start by putting inclusion, respect, balance and community service at the top of our list.
Ask how the school – private or public – “lives” its motto? Do they celebrate only academic achievements and sporting prowess? Or do they also celebrate the students who show resilience and empathy in extraordinary circumstances? Is there a sense of warmth and creative energy at the school? Does it feel welcoming and inclusive? Are they involved in giving back to the community?