Parental perspectives: the reasons behind the choice of school

Alan Gardiner, from Killara

David (year 12) at North Sydney Boys High, Peter (year 7) at Killara High School and Michael (year 4) at Killara Public School

''My wife and I both came from a public school background and I certainly remember my school days fondly. It set me up well for my life, and I was hoping for the same kind of education for my own children.

''It's perhaps an easier decision where we live because all the public schools are very highly regarded. I really don't know what I would have done had I lived in another part of Sydney because it's just too hard to put myself in that hypothetical situation.

''We'd be paying a lot more money in the private system and we might have had better facilities and less crowding. But, while we could have afforded it, I don't think that would have had any bearing on the quality of education they receive.

We've had a lot of very good teachers and principals at our public schools, not universally but in general, and the schools have provided excellent opportunities for our children.''

Liz Hurley, from Erskineville

Son Hamish Waddell (right, with Liz) is in

year 11 at St Andrew's Cathedral School

''The pastoral care and access to teachers in the independent system has been really top-notch.

''I think because there is a sense of being a customer because you are paying that there is a level of security and accountability on both sides. I guess there's that sense of control or access that you have if you think things are going wrong. It's also the school's values and the type of all-round student it was producing.

The opportunities the school provided really appealed to us. It's not every day you get to see your child sing a mass at St Peter's in the Vatican.

''Our children are the most precious things in our life. It's not been an easy thing, financially, for us to do - it's not like we're rolling in money - but they're my kids and I want them to have the best.''

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