This column was published in the NT Sun Newspaper on April 2 2019 under the title Schools can be top drawer.

A recent article in the NT News (March 23 2019) confirms that schools can have an almost magnetic appeal to people. In her column School can seal the deal, Raphaella Saroukos confirms what many educators have known to be a truth for a long time, that “Parents are placing their child’s education first when it comes to buying into the residential market”.

She is absolutely right. When parents with school aged children are looking to buy a home, the qualities and characteristics of schooling opportunities is a prime consideration. Saroukos emphasises the point that “a school’s quality and reputation are a growing incentive for buyers who (in time) can enrol their children in certain middle and high schools.” These are the secondary schools available once children complete their primary school years.

Increasingly, schools advertise their wares and what they offer for students. This is happening through print, radio and television advertising. The vast majority of schools augment this outreach through websites, facebook accounts and by using the ‘My School’ application.

While important, promotion alone does not confirm the quality of education offered by individual schools.

The atmosphere or feeling generated by the way students, staff and parents relate to each other is of critical importance. This quality is not created by school buildings and facilities. It is about the way people connected with schools get on together.

Sought-after-schools have strong and practised values. An overarching quality is the respect that everyone within a school community has for each other. The best promotion that can happen is word of mouth, with satisfied parents, students and staff sharing their perceptions with others. This may lead to increasing school enrolments as others seek the same quality of education for their children.

Saroukos’ column illustrates this point. Those reading her column (and with school enrolment in mind) might appreciate her citing of parents who were motivated to purchase a home in Wulagi because of the school. Parent Shardae Harris is quoted: “I love the school, the teachers are great and Jamal (son) enjoys it … it’s better for us as parents to sleep at night knowing he loves going to school.” (Op cit)

The Saroukos column is focussed on housing in areas where the quality of schooling is known about by estate agencies. Aside from Wulagi, she confirms that other sought after school suburbs include Driver, Leanyer, Nakara, Parap, Stuart Park and Wanguri.

The quality of education on offer is a prime consideration for families buying houses in our suburbs.

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