Beat the waiting list blues

You’ve done your homework, you’ve looked at all the options and, finally, you’ve found the perfect school for your child. Now it’s just a matter of getting in. With long waiting lists at many independent schools, it can be difficult to obtain a place at your preferred school but there are a number of ways to improve your child’s chances. offers this commonsense advice to parents.

Be organised. Submit the necessary forms, fees and documents correctly and on time.

Show interest. Book a principal’s tour, visit on open days, get to know the school well.

Don’t despair. If you do end up on a waiting list, let the school know that you remain eager to enrol your child when a place becomes available. Parents often put their children’s names down for several schools. Waiting lists can shrink quickly when it comes time to make a final decision.

For many families though, the most stressful aspect of the application process is the enrolment interview.

St Andrew’s Cathedral School registrar Bruce Perry has these tips for a smooth interview.


  • Arrive on time. If you’re running late, call ahead to let the school know.
  • Don’t answer questions directed at your child. Remember that the purpose of the interview is to get to know the student.
  • Ensure that your child is dressed to impress. Either in a neat and clean uniform or in good casual clothes that conform to the school’s dress code.
  • Be honest. Non-disclosure could jeopardise your child’s enrolment prospects.


  • Answer questions calmly and directly. Be polite. Don’t fidget, don’t slouch, don’t chew gum. Offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact.
  • Do your research. Prepare a few in-depth questions that show you’re truly interested in attending the school.
  • Always try to answer in full sentences, not just Yes or No.
  • NEVER check your phone during an interview.

Think tank calls for greater school choice

The Centre for Independent Studies has released a new report calling for greater variety of school choice. The One School Does Not Fit All study argues that Australian students would be better served by the introduction of more educational options. The report canvasses policy options including scholarship tax credits and education savings accounts to help parents access the best school for their child.

Read more 

One School Does Not Fit All research report: Jennifer Buckingham and Trisha Jha for the Centre for Independent Studies

Coverage of the report by the Australian Financial Review