Choosing a secondary school for your child is the second biggest decision you will make for your family, with choice of primary school being the biggest! Our best advice to you is to look at all the choices available. You know your child best and will get a good “feel” for whether a school is appropriate for your child once you get inside and look around. The best thing is to be able to look around the schools when their students are working, rather than just having a session in the Principal’s office.
There are many other concerns raised when this decision looms on the horizon. The following information answers some of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive on this issue.
“When should I begin the process of enrolment for secondary school?”
Because Government grants to independent schools are based on numbers of students enrolled, most schools are keen to enrol students as soon as possible. This can often lead to implicit concerns about not being able to enrol your child where you want to unless you “get in early” by enrolling children before Year 7. We have found this concern to be misleading.
Of course parents should begin to look at schools while their children are in primary school at The Launceston Preparatory School and the actual enrolment process for high school can take place while students are still with us. But we encourage parents to book ahead for Year 7 and still allow their children to reap the benefits of a “Leavers” year at our school (Group 6). At the end of this document, some parents of recent Leavers who have the benefit of hindsight describe the value of children completing their primary schooling at The LPS.
Students themselves start talking about their prospective high schools quite early, often in Groups 4 and 5, which can start to put pressure on parents! This arises from a natural concern from children to get their futures set in concrete as quickly as possible in order to allay their fears about uncertainty at this significant period of change in their lives.
The important thing is to reassure your children (and yourselves!) that, by the end of their Leavers year with us, they will have their futures mapped out and will be as well equipped as anyone to tackle the challenges of secondary school.
“Will I miss out on a Grade 7 place at another independent school if I don’t start my child there in Year 4 or 5?”
As explained above, we have never found this to be the case. Indeed, many parents who have moved their children late in primary school in order to be “first in, best dressed” have rued the decision later. This has been for many reasons, especially because of a later understanding that
(a) their children would not have missed out on a place by staying at The Launceston Preparatory School, providing the application for Year 7 was lodged and approved well in advance, and
(b) changing schools actually imposed twice the disruption and change upon their children, since they invariably go from a Grade 6 of 25 students to a Grade 7 of at least 100 students as new children arrive from other schools, thus reforming new groupings and friendships anyway.
Interestingly, one local independent secondary school is actually encouraging parents to keep their children at The Launceston Preparatory School until the end of Grade 6 because that school believes it gets a better equipped student that way!
The other thing that needs to be clearly understood is that The Launceston Preparatory School treats Group 6 as the end point to our teaching and learning experiences. If a child leaves our school earlier, they will miss out on many experiences that are important in developing them as fine young citizens capable of coping well with the challenges of their secondary years and beyond. In addition, children in Group 6 receive more rights and responsibilities as seniors of the school. It is often seen as the “icing on the cake” from the students’ point of view!
“Should we sit “practice” scholarships before Grade 6?”
Before undertaking this process early, parents need to think carefully about whether they want their children to actually leave The Launceston Preparatory School before the end of their primary schooling, as there is a high possibility of children being awarded a scholarship.
If it is purely practice in a scholarship-style examination that parents want for their children, such practice occurs within The Launceston Preparatory School anyway. Students in Years 3 and 5 are required by the Federal Government to be tested in Literacy and Numeracy and this occurs annually in May. These tests are conducted under examination conditions. They test mathematics, reading, spelling and writing and parents are provided with feedback later in the year, showing how their children’s performances compare with children of the same age around Australia. In addition, teachers within our school conduct other practice tests each year prior to the Scholarship testing dates.
If you wish your child to sit for a scholarship (usually held in March/April), please do so while he/she is in his/her Leavers’ year. It has left some parents in an awkward position when they have applied for scholarships in Years 4 and 5 and then been offered them earlier than they had intended. It is sad for children to have to leave The LPS before they have had time to enjoy the benefits and privileges of their final year at primary school.
Also be aware that scholarships usually only offer a small proportion of discount on fees, commonly around 15% – 20%. This also usually only applies to tuition fees and does not cover the many other levies and costs. Financially, parents are often out-laying more money to have a student at another school on a scholarship than they pay in normal fees at The Launceston Preparatory School.
“Should I send my child to the secondary school where his/her friends are going?”
It is natural that your child will want to continue his/her school as much as possible within his/her comfort zone, so you might find yourselves under pressure to conform to your child’s wishes! Be assured that, with a complete primary education at The Launceston Preparatory School behind them, your child will cope well with whichever decision you make.
“Why should my child stay at The LPS for Grade 6?”
Parents of recent Leavers answer this one …
“During the 8 years schooling each of our 3 children received at The LPS they grew from quiet, shy little men into caring, thoughtful (about others and the world around them), respectful young adults. They have learnt to embrace learning and not be intimidated by it.
The two older boys went on to thoroughly enjoy high school and the middle child now has grown from a child who had little confidence in his own ability to one who is taking on advanced classes and is disappointed if he is not achieving at this level. He does so not because he is overly clever, but because he has had such a wonderful work ethic instilled in him from a young age. He really wants to do well for himself. He is not afraid to have a go, ask questions if he is unsure, or do the hard yards homework wise.
Our youngest is about to embark on high school. He also was extremely shy and unsure of his abilities. He is now a very hard worker and also is keen to do well.
Most importantly, the three children all became caring, “conscious” human beings, questioning and learning about the world rather than just accepting what is. They are very thoughtful and kind to others, and although they are keen to do well, they are equally pleased when others do well too.
The LPS has taught them to be humble and not seek accolades for accolades’ sake. Of course, they are thrilled if they are noticed either academically or sportingly but it is not the sole reason for their effort.
The final year at The LPS is a wonderful year. During this year, the students are given leadership roles which they relish, and they have wonderful bonding times with their class at camps. They are also stretched academically, as the teachers, by now, know the children’s strengths and weaknesses extremely well. They are given extra help where needed, all in a very caring, supportive environment. It is in this final year that all 3 of our children blossomed.
Simply, throughout their years at The LPS they were allowed to learn and develop at the rate which suited them best, not by the rate of a pre-determined curriculum. There was no pressure of comparisons or competitions which could put them into neat, little boxes on the academic radar.
We are so thrilled our children experienced their very crucial, formative years at The LPS.”
(Parents 2001 – 2011)
And again …
“We feel incredibly privileged that all of our children have had the opportunity to enjoy their entire primary school education at such an inspiring and supportive education centre.
We began our association with the school in February 1996 when we entered the kinder room to leave William in the care of Christine Armstrong, while we quietly and nervously crept out of the back door careful not to be seen. We need not have worried as when we arrived at 3pm to collect William he was adamant that he couldn’t leave as he was ‘not finished yet!’
Throughout their years at The Launceston Preparatory School each of the children has developed a love of learning and a desire to do their best, whatever they try.
Our more recent experiences in the upper primary years have been extremely positive and invaluable in the development of our children’s self-confidence, self-esteem and being a part of the school leadership group. The level of increasing responsibilities, opportunities and expectations culminating in what each of our children describes as the best ever year at school, “THE LEAVERS YEAR!” and what a wonderful year this has proven to be.
We have been delighted in the transformation in each of our children during this year. We have seen them grow in confidence and seen an increased level of responsibility and maturity. Leavers are encouraged to grow with added responsibilities given to them, whilst in a familiar and supportive environment.
The two leavers’ camps have been of particular importance with the previously top secret Waddamana Camp now being able to be openly discussed, finally, in our house! The grade 6 year cements wonderful relationships between students and between students and staff.
We and our children wish they could stay at the Launceston Preparatory School forever. Inevitably they must move on but they are able to tackle the new challenges of high school equipped with confidence and a respect for themselves and those around them.”
(Parents 1996 – 2007)
And more …
“It is with deep gratitude that we wish to thank all the staff and the Board of LPS for providing such a wonderful education for both (our children).
We would highly recommend The Launceston Preparatory School to anyone that wants to send their child to a small, caring and highly professional primary school in Launceston.
We have seen our oldest child emerge from Year 6 into High School, making a smooth transition to a bigger school with ease after her primary years at LPS. We expect (our second child) will transition to high school just as easily.
We think the final ‘Leavers’ year at LPS has been a great opportunity to build our children’s character. They have gained poise, focus and a strong bond with the school, their teachers and with each other.
We feel we will always be part of The LPS school community but will miss our daily interaction with staff and students.
How can I be involved with my child at The Launceston Preparatory School?
The Launceston Preparatory School places great value on the role of volunteers for many reasons. Foremost amongst these is our philosophy which views education as a partnership between home and school. Therefore, to have parents, other family members and carers working in our school to assist children reinforces the interdependent role we share. It also sends a positive message to children that parents and the school believe each other is important and that learning transcends any physical boundaries between home and school. We believe it is also an important way of encouraging parents to feel comfortable about entering the school and contributing to their children’s education.
The following information answers some of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive on this issue.
“What sorts of tasks can I help with?”
There are many opportunities for parents to assist in our school. They include:
working with children on a one-to-one basis on literacy, numeracy and physical skills
assisting small groups with art, craft, cooking etc. activities
sharing areas of expertise with children
assisting at sporting events and in team coaching roles
via Parents’ Club, helping to organise fund-raising and other events
attending working-bees to maintain the school’s physical resources
working in the library to mend and shelve books
patronising school functions to develop a sense of “school community”.
This list is not exhaustive and we welcome parents to make other suggestions to the Co-Principals for ways in which they might assist in a volunteer capacity.
“What protocols do I need to observe?”
For most tasks, staff will prepare the necessary materials and program and explain requirements to volunteers. Every volunteer will bring their own approach and personality to the task and we believe this enriches our school. However, volunteers are requested to adhere to the task at hand and not introduce their own initiatives to school activities without first checking with relevant staff or the Co-Principals.
Obviously, volunteers may develop their own relationships with the children with whom they work and this adds a positive dimension to the program. It is important to note, however, that things said by students to volunteers are to be treated in confidence; if volunteers believe the issues raised require action, they should be referred immediately to either the child’s class teacher or the Co-Principals. Similarly, volunteers need to be discreet in what they say to students.
“What do I do if I’m not sure of what to do or have a concern about a child or task?”
If volunteers have any queries or concerns, they are requested to raise them straight away with the Co-Principals – if we do not know of problems, we cannot fix them. Please do not go home or to other parents without having your concern resolved first with the Co-Principals.
Why is a healthy lunch important at The Launceston Preparatory School?
The Launceston Preparatory School believes health education is an important part of the school’s curriculum. Our program aims to enrich your child’s understanding of a healthy lifestyle and how to maintain a healthy body. Nutrition is one component of our program that aims to assist your child in making healthy food choices. Eating healthy food during school hours reinforces the skills learnt in the classroom.
A range of healthy food provides the fuel and energy for your child to continue working and learning to the best of their ability. The following information answers some of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive in regard to student lunches.
“Why can’t I send chocolates, lollies, chips etc. in the lunches?”
We encourage parents to send healthy natural foods rather than processed/pre-packaged food in lunch boxes. Healthy foods include sandwiches, rolls, salads, cold meats, cheese, yoghurt, home-made cakes, soup, pasta, etc. Chocolate, chips, lollies, etc. are not considered to be healthy foods and are best left at home for after-school treats. Students should have fresh fruit or vegetables in their lunch every day along with something substantial such as sandwiches. Sending healthy natural food reinforces the benefits and nutritional value of these foods.
“Is water the only drink we can send in the children’s lunches?”
Yes, students only drink water from their flasks whilst at school. Fresh water is one of the best ways to re-hydrate the body and to quench thirst. Flasks can be easily refilled on hot days when additional fluids are required. It is vital for your child to be refreshed and ready to work after returning from play or sporting activities. Drinking only water at school reinforces the importance of water as part of a healthy diet and also encourages your child to drink water as part of their daily routine.
Additional benefits of water:
water is much easier to clean up
flasks can be refilled at school, ensuring your child always has enough to drink
it best hydrates the body
students are not ingesting additional quantities of sugar and preservatives
students are not tempted to drink from other students’ flasks
it does not attract wasps in the same way cordials and juices do, posing a hazard to children’s safety.
“Why do teachers supervise the eating of lunch and check students’ lunch boxes?”
All students eat their lunches together under the supervision of duty teachers or in their rooms on wet days with their home group teachers. When children have finished their lunches, a teacher will check their lunch boxes before they are able to go and play.
This ensures your child is eating the lunch you have taken the time to prepare and is not sharing it with others. It also enables staff to encourage students to return to their seat and continue eating or drinking if required.
Children are not made to eat every last scrap of their lunches if they genuinely can’t – a balanced diet of sufficient food to sustain children for the afternoon is what we look for. Monitoring of lunches enables staff to reinforce healthy eating habits and ensures your child is ready for an afternoon of work.
We have increasing numbers of students coming to school with food allergies. Banning allergenic foods can lull parents into a false sense of security as there is no way of guaranteeing that every child’s lunch box is completely free of potentially harmful ingredients to all other students. Supervising children while they are eating and reinforcing our regulation against sharing foods is more efficient in protecting children from foodstuffs to which they are allergic.
Lady Gowrie Tasmania is the provider of an Outside School Hours Care service on site at The Launceston Preparatory School. The program operates in the LPS Multi-Purpose Hall operating from 3pm until 6pm, Monday to Friday inclusive during school terms (on days when students are expected to attend school).
The program plans to meet the individual and group needs of children. Activities are provided to address the diverse age group of the children that is from 4 – 12 years of age. The daily program includes:
a combination of indoor and outdoor activities
a space for quiet activities – homework, games, reading
art and craft experiences
a nutritional snack
The program is licensed by the Department of Education. Lady Gowrie Tasmania has a long and proven history of child care and education service provision and is committed to ensuring that mandatory and regulatory requirements are adhered to at all times.
There is a daily sessional fee, currently $19.00 per child (5yrs-12yrs) or $26.00 per child (4yrs old). Most families will be eligible to access Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate which will reduce this fee. Further details are available from Lady Gowrie – Alanvale.
Parents with booking inquiries should contact Lady Gowrie – Alanvale Centre by phoning 63 315106, by email email@example.com
How do I organise medications that my child may have to take at school?
Your child’s health is our concern and we wish to assist wherever possible. For the health of your child and others at The Launceston Preparatory School we have specific protocols to follow when sending medication to school. No medication should be in a child’s bag, lunch box or left in a classroom without the home-group teacher being notified. A staff member will administer all medication unless permission has been given for the child to administer his or her own medication. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to the different medication requirements of your child.
“My child needs to take medicine for a few days at school; what do I need to send along?”
All medication required at school by your child must be accompanied by a signed note to the home-group teacher.
The note should include:
your child’s name
name of the medication
dosage required by your child
time of day or when medication is required
any possible side effects your child may experience
contact phone number for parent/guardian
storage details – refrigerator, etc.
if the medication needs to go home each night
The medication must be presented to the home-group teacher on arrival at school and should be contained in a plastic bag or envelope including the medication, note and anything needed to administer the medication.
“How do I up date my child’s medical information?”
It is vital for the safety of your child all school medical records are accurate. If you have any changes to make please notify the school office on 6334 0234 (phone) and update your child’s medical record immediately.
“My child uses the same medication frequently at school. How do I organise keeping a supply at the school?”
Daily or frequently used medication should all be detailed on the child’s school medical form. If a supply of medication is to be kept at school, parents must give their written consent before medication will be kept. The medication should be given to the home group teacher as soon as it arrives at school. It should be in a bag that is clearly named and should include a note explaining how and when the medication is required. (See note details above.) An expiry date should be clearly recorded on the bag.
“How do I give permission for my child to administer his/her own medication?”
This most commonly refers to asthma medication although other medications may fit into this category. All details of the medication should be recorded on the school medical form and updated as needed.
A letter giving permission for the child to self-administer medication is required from the parents and will be kept in the students’ files. This letter must be handed to the home group teacher before the child is able to use his/her medication as required. It will be at the school’s discretion if the child is able to keep the medication in their bag or if it needs to be kept in the medical cabinet for safety precautions.
“Can I send extra medications along on school camps?”
All medical details must be recorded in detail on the camp medical form to ensure camp staff have accurate information. All details of the medication must be recorded clearly, including:
name of child
name of medication
reasons for taking the medication / condition
when medication is needed
any possible side effects your child may experience
contact phone number for parent/guardian
storage details – refrigerator, etc.
Many medications taken on camp by students are sent along ‘just in case’ they are required. Please ensure if the medication is needed the staff have all the relevant information to assist your child. All medications will be collected by staff unless the parents have given written permission for their child to self-administer asthma medication, skin creams, etc.
What Outdoor Education opportunities are available at The Launceston Preparatory School?
We work progressively at developing the outdoor education programme for The Launceston Preparatory School. In their final three years at our school, children will have four outdoor camps – one in each of years four and five, and two in year six. These have not been assembled in any haphazard fashion but, like any new curriculum development, with conscious reference to the needs of our students and our school philosophy.
The following information answers many Frequently Asked Questions involving camp experiences at The Launceston Preparatory School.
“Where does my child go on camp?”
Currently, children attend camps at Hobart, Port Sorell, Mt. Cameron (East) and Waddamana. However, these experiences will not remain exactly the same forever. It is essential to our philosophy that things should not always be done in one way just because “that is the way things have always been done”. The rationale behind this programme will endure, but may be implemented in different ways at different venues in succeeding years.
“Why does the school conduct camps?”
Our school is committed to the education of the whole child. If we are to be true to this philosophy, we must be constantly aware of learning that goes on both within and outside the classroom. “The whole child” is not just one who is literate and numerate, but one who is physically well developed, exposed to the arts, appreciative of the world around him or her and in whom qualities such as leadership and co-operative skills are fostered. An outdoor education programme is therefore a necessary component of a well-rounded education.
The aim of our form of education is to prepare children for life, not just a career but for any twist and turn that the children’s lives may encounter. Such skills are not only learned within the classroom; they are learned through living and learning together in a diverse range of environments and under a variety of conditions. In the shorter term, we are also preparing students for high school. Wherever children progress to secondary school, they are likely to encounter further outdoor education experiences, some of them quite rigorous. We want our students to be as well equipped as possible to meet the challenges of those ventures.
We are also conscious that children learn in different ways. Some children learn best with books and pencil in hand; others develop and reflect their learning best in practical ways. All learning styles are considered daily for individual children, but an outdoor education programme provides one more avenue for the promotion of different learning styles. An outdoor education programme further enhances the “doing” part of learning, allowing students to apply in practical ways the concepts they have discussed at school.
The experience of community living is a big learning experience! Having to get through showers so others may wash, considering the needs of others who share our cabins, eating together as a big group etc. – can be new experiences which teach students much about themselves and how to get along with others. Sometimes even activities like setting a table, washing dishes and caring for personal belongings are new encounters! We like to think that such practices continue beyond the camp experience.
“How long are the camps?”
The first three camps of our current outdoor education programme are conducted over three days (two nights). The final camp at the end of the Leavers’ year runs for five days (four nights). The time that students spend away from home can be a novel experience and allows an important way of maturing in learning to cope independently of family. While we certainly do not wish children to grow up too quickly, it is a valuable experience for children to learn that they can survive happily without Mum and/or Dad.
“Does my child have to go?”
The outdoor education experiences we offer are an essential part of our curriculum, not an optional extra. We understand that some children are wary of being away from home but believe that this is one more thing we can help them all learn. Whether the child is eight or twelve, we provide constant reassurance and support for children who are experiencing life away from home for the first time, whilst simultaneously guiding them to an awareness of their own independent capabilities.
“How much does it cost?”
Currently, the cost of camps varies between $170 and $230. This covers all transport, accommodation and catering for the duration of the camp, plus the benefit of having qualified teachers from the school on duty with your children twenty-four hours a day. It does not represent the total cost of the camp; this is substantially subsidised by the school.
How much sport can my child be involved in at The Launceston Preparatory School?
Students participate in a wide range of sporting activities at The Launceston Preparatory School. Kinder students have two sport lessons timetabled throughout the week. Five to nine year old students participate in a sports lesson and also a skill lesson that may relate to swimming, gymnastics or team skills. Nine to twelve year old students participate in a skill lesson relating to swimming, gymnastics or team skills (depending on the time of year). They also participate in Friday afternoon sport rosters. Senior students also have the option to represent their school in roster sports out of school hours.
The following information answers many Frequently Asked Questions involving Health and Physical Education activities at The Launceston Preparatory School.
“Do students have a regular Health Education lesson?”
All 5-12 year olds participate in one health lesson per week. This is part of their weekly timetable and seen as a valuable component of the school’s curriculum.
“When can my child participate in school teams?”
All senior students (groups 4-6) participate in rostered sports matches on Friday afternoons in Terms 1 and 2. These teams train once a week after school. Teams playing in rosters after school train during the lunch hours. Group three students are encouraged to join training sessions to gain valuable skills and experience for the following year.
“Do students participate in school and inter-school carnivals?”
All students (K-6) participate in school cross-country and athletic carnivals. Students in groups 2-6 participate in the school Swimming Carnival. Students from group 3-6 are selected to participate in the inter-school carnivals for swimming, cross-country and athletics.
“Are there any additional programs to assist my child with motor skill development?”
A motor skills program involving students of various ages is run throughout the year to assist students with both gross and fine motor skills. Daily Physical Education opportunities of fifteen minutes between some classes are also provided. This keeps children active and promotes learning in the classroom as well.
“Do you have a swimming program?”
Students from Prep to Group six are all involved in our swimming program at local swimming pools. Students swim in small groups for the majority of one term.
“How can I provide more sporting opportunities for my child?”
The emphasis of our school’s sporting programmes is upon improvement of skills and participation. We believe that this fosters a healthy lifestyle, positive growth and allows children to experience a range of sporting pursuits rather than channelling them into one field. However, if parents wish to provide even more sporting opportunities for their children there are a range of clubs (such as “Little Athletics”, etc.) who provide activities after school and at weekends. These can be located through the yellow pages of the telephone book.
What are the expectations of homework at The Launceston Preparatory School?
All too often, homework becomes an end in itself rather than a means to an end. The Launceston Preparatory School maintains a view of homework that is consistent with our whole school philosophy – homework should be for the purpose of enhancing learning, not just a task to keep children busy.
The following information answers many Frequently Asked Questions about homework at our school.
“Why should my child do homework?”
There are two main reasons behind homework at The Launceston Preparatory School – the practice of skills and the development of self-discipline with time-management.
In practising their skills, children may be completing work begun in the classroom or they may be working on areas in their own development which need strengthening.
Time-management skills are some of the most important that children will learn and will continue to affect their whole lives. Homework helps the development of time-management skills because children have to learn to be responsible for completing their homework thoroughly within the allocated time and returning it to the relevant teacher on time. Sometimes this is the next day; for others it may be once or twice a week. The older the child becomes, the more responsible he/she should become for managing his/her homework on time. A parent completing homework and ensuring its return does not assist the development of the child.
“At what age should my child be doing homework?”
We commence training children in this skill from the moment they enter our school. In the early years, it is more informal, with children being encouraged to read every night, talk with their families about the day’s activities, investigate materials and information relevant to what they have been discussing in class, etc. As children grow older, their homework experiences become more formal.
“How much homework should my child be doing?”
As an approximate (minimum) guide:
4-6 year olds should be spending 10-15 minutes per night;
7-9 year olds should be spending 20-40 minutes per night;
10-12 year olds should be spending 45-60 minutes per night.
“What should my child be doing for homework?”
Sometimes the homework is teacher-directed, covering work that has not been completed within the allocated time at school, or extra practice that a child needs in a specific skill. However, children should be completing homework every school night so, if work has not been set, children should set their own tasks. These should be relevant to their needs and areas being investigated at school, not just a favourite activity. Unless a considerable proportion of homework is self-directed, children will never develop the interest, motivation or discipline necessary to cope with the inevitably increasing load as they progress through secondary and tertiary education.
Depending on the age of the child, homework tasks should include:
reading (fiction and non-fiction) every night
practising multiplication tables
drawing, sketching, cutting and pasting
writing shopping lists, playing “shops”, assisting with actual shopping
pursuing research in reference materials, visiting the local library
reading newspapers, viewing/listening to the news and discussing it with the family
inventing (games, new worlds, machines, etc.)
writing plays, poems, letters, stories
playing cards, board games
taking photographs, labelling and captioning them
drawing/investigating maps; knowing where the family is going on holidays etc.
playing ball games individually or in teams, swimming
skipping, playing with hoops, quoits, etc.
playing an instrument, singing, composing songs
knitting and other craft work, making puppets, threading shells, pasta, etc.
helping with household tasks (e.g. cooking, washing and drying up, setting the table, etc.)