Devonair

Blackwood High vs Aberfoyle Park?

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    Hi all!

     

     

    We are liking the look of Adelaide Hills area and see that there are some pretty good primary schools around there - Coromandel Valley and Craigburn both look good. I have 3 children, 10, 9 and 19 months. Just wondering what people's opinions are of the high schools in the area. I don't really want to move kids more than necessary - we are still in Uk at present- and ideally want them to "move up" to High school with their friends.

     

    I know it's a few years off yet but want to settle them as soon as possible. We have visited Adelaide before and all liked the hills area and it would be just about within our budget so just schools to consider. We haven't ruled out private but probably not in our budget.

     

    I have searched previous posts but was concerned that Aberfoyle Park was referred to as "Stabafoyle Park" and there was some mention of the Blackwood Head saying the all the girls looked like "s***s" or something when challenged about the length of their skirts! However, these threads were back in 2008 - am hoping Heads have changed as NAPLAN results from both schools are pretty impresive.

     

    Also, any recommendations for kindy for the littleone?

     

    Many Thanks in advance!

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    Guest pizzicarella

    Of those two definitely Blackwood High School!

     

    You also need to think about zoning issues, as high schools here are all zoned for the local area surrounding them - so if you were to live in say, coromandel valley, the kids would be quite unlikely to be zoned into Aberfoyle Park. Also, if your kids can get into the maths and science school, that is fantastic!! http://www.asms.sa.edu.au/

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    Sophia, can you expand at all on why Aberfoyle is so bad?

     

    Aberfoyle has had a bad name, but the latest 'word on the street' is that it is improving vastly because of a new principal, whereas Blackwood was great and then I have 'heard' it is known as Smackwood High and there are also bullying issues. My experience and opinion is limited to hearsay. Up to date opinions are great.

     

    Personally I think there are good and bad at all schools and sometimes a reputation can linger that is no longer deserved

     

    It would be great to hear from more people like Sophia who have had kids go through or at a particular school, or who know people who attend the schools.

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    Guest pizzicarella

    I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with Aberfoyle Park. I have just not heard that is is that 'great.' Blackwood on the other hand has a reputation as the best school in the hills. I haven't heard anything about bullying issues there - but I think it is fair to assume that there are such issues (Like all schools! :P). Perhaps Aberfoyle Park would have some advantages over blackwood as it has a larger enrollment and because of this more subjects to choose from, which is particularly important in the senior years.

     

    And, finally, for somebody living in coromandel valley, Blackwood is far closer.

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    My granddaughters both go to Coro Primary at the moment and, as they live at Bellevue Heights, they will probably go on to Blackwood High. The other reason for that choice is that they currently do the International Baccalaureate programme at Coro and can continue at Blackwood.

     

    (Belair Primar also has a very good reputation and I know several people whose children are doing well there).

     

    "IB programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world"

     

    Mud sticks and derogatory comments about schools, suburbs etc can carry on for years after the problem (if there ever was one?) has been sorted. Personal experience and firsthand knowledge from trusted friends is the only way to distinguish good from bad IMO and often it is purely a matter of personal preference that wins out in the end.

     

    Another interesting option is Urrbrae - which specialises in Agriculture/Science/IT rather than languages. An interesting option when you consider how much of our state is linked with farming, food production, olives, fruit growing viticulture (wines) Many children from Belair and Coro go on to there instead of Blackwood High. We have a friend who has taught in all three of these senior schools and his preferred choice is Urrbrae. http://www.urrbraehs.sa.edu.au/about_us/about_us.htm

    Edited by jtct

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    ... and there was some mention of the Blackwood Head saying the all the girls looked like "s***s" or something when challenged about the length of their skirts!

     

    I wouldn't worry about this too much - uniform standards at state schools are understandably a little less strict than at private schools, and all the girls seem to roll up their skirts to wear them as short as possible if the school is not really strict about it! Haven't you watched Home and Away recently??!! Apart from the fact that the actresses are 20-somethings pretending to be teenagers, the uniforms are pretty indicative of what you see here at just about all the state schools! Doesn't mean the educational standards are any lower though...

     

    At some of the private schools, the teachers actually patrol and give out detentions/penals if they can see any flesh between top of sock and bottom of skirt, but I have to say I think that is a little over the top too in 30 degree + temps sometimes!

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    Many Thanks for all opinions and for the links to Urrbrae and the maths and science school. Not sure that either of my two eldest are maths/science whizz's (yet!) TBH, my eldest will prob be fine anywhere as she tends to adapt/ make friends pretty quickly and is quite driven to do well but her younger brother needs a more "nurturing" environment, or else, left to his own devices, he would do v. little!

     

    Lots to mull over but thanks again!

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    Devonair, I totally understand your concerns but I think, even with a few opinions from here and the internet, you really need to see for yourself. Plus of course, things can change.

     

    The Staberfoyle / Smackwood thing has been going for years, mainly perpetuated by the kids! When one of mine left primary school one of his cohort went to Blackwood, considering it a 'nicer' school, but he swiftly relocated to APHS (Aberfoyle), where he was very happy :)

     

    I don't think there's much between them, although my vote would go for APHS, but they each have different strengths. For example, Blackwood have the IB program whilst APHS specialise in students with high intellectual potential ( IGNITE ), and have always been known for their music/dance/drama programs but are very good at focussing attention on kids who might need a bit extra help.

     

    The Australian School of Maths and Science is wonderful but is only for kids from years 10 up. Urrbrae is also a lovely school, but both schools expect potential students to jump through enrolment hoops, including providing old school reports, writing something that addressed the school's ethos and enrolment criteria etc.

     

    APHS is zoned, except for IGNITE students. I'm pretty sure Blackwood is but neither ASMS or Urrbrae are as they are special interest schools.

     

    I reckon Diane's spot on re.uniform. Despite each school's best attempts the students (particulary the girls!) do their best to thwart the school uniform policy. I mean, how many kids do you see with elastic bands wound round the back of their polos so they fit tightly!?!

     

    Hope that helps a bit,

     

    LC

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    Thanks LC

     

    I know what you mean about seeing for yourself. My daughter likes dance and my son probably would need some extra support at some point, so APHS would suit both on that front. It's very much about what suits the individual. Did look at Umbrae and maths and science and straight away thougt, hhm, would we get in? (since neither of my kids have ever professed an interest in Agriculture! ) Shame as both look like they employ more practical learning stratergies that certainly my son would enjoy but I always get the "fear" when there is an entrance interview/application process etc. as he would not have the confidence to shine in that situation.

     

    Had to laugh at "the elastic bands round the back of their polos" - the mind boggels!

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