The choice of school is a subjective decision. You think you are paying for guaranteed quality of education for your child but if that was the case the price difference between schools would much greater than they are. While academic results are an important consideration, the reality is that you pay for the image that a school has been able to market to you. Like all companies, the marketing may not be authentic to the actual experience. How responsive you are to a school’s marketing tactics is based on an emotional reaction which is subjective. You then apply rational thinking to your decision, however, all buying decisions are emotional. In this case, you are buying an educational service rather than the end result of guaranteed grades.
The quality of a service is based on the consistency of delivery, value for money, satisfaction and above all the behaviour that you experience by the people employed by the service provider. All too often, parents revert to their childhood state when evaluating schools and succumb to accepting behaviours of yesteryear rather than evaluate a school on its merits of today. This is a natural and typical reaction of anyone in a position of authority but at what point is it detrimental to the development of the education industry as well as the customers receiving the service?
One of the greatest investments, you will make for your child is their education. While you evaluate the cost, facilities, grades and specialisms a school has, you have probably missed the most crucial part, the culture of the management.
Just like any other business, the quality of a school is based on its infrastructure; policies and procedures; staff roles and responsibilities; specialist skills; and leadership style. The attitude and approach to these elements are demonstrated by the behaviour of the staff and impact the strategies the school takes in how it meets it operational plan.
Unlike other businesses, schools have a greater moral obligation. Not only do they teach pupils how to behave positively, they can also cause life-long trauma when they do not take on the full responsibilities that come with that authority. You subconsciously download positive and negative thought patterns from authority figures from your youth. These then become your negative self talk and the cause of negative emotions and behaviours in adulthood. Your subconscious manipulation techniques and leadership style are dependent on these childhood experiences. Therefore, it is crucial that educational establishments take on the obligation of managing themselves to the highest moral values in order to deliver the highest quality of education service to their pupils and the parents.
A school that judges a child on academic grades alone cannot teach your child empathy. One that promotes themselves as innovative but imitates another school’s branding and marketing campaigns cannot teach your child creativity. If a school follows discriminatory standards with regards to their staff and teacher assistants, be it gender, race or age, cannot teach your child respect.
In order to evaluate a school fairly, in addition to grades, consider the values that you are most passionate about that you want your child to learn. Values are not taught in class, they are demonstrated in the behaviours of the adults, especially authority figures, and other pupils. Like any other service provider, evaluate them on how competent they are in delivering these behaviours within the fabric of the organisation. This will also indicate how authentic they are compared to their marketing messages and acquisition strategies. This authenticity is what provides your child with strong role models. They will subconsciously fall back on those role models as they develop through life.
Despite your knowledge, experience, and learnings, your future success is primarily influenced by the role models you had. Unless they are consciously aware of their behaviour, senior leaders and managers who struggle with managing their teams tend to have worked for successful yet negative role models early on in their careers. They are taught success strategies which later become a hindrance to their development, or simply out of date with regards soft skills and emotional development.
As with all organisations, be it government led or private or not-for-profit, the education providers who are able to behave authentically and manage themselves effectively will be able to deliver the highest quality of service. For you that is the highest return on investment you can make for your child’s future.