Quoting YY here:
"Personally on looking back I'm very glad my girl went to a Christian secondary school. It was a close-knit community infused with warmth & caring which tenderly nurtured her sensitive soul. My personal prejudice is that in a Christian school the emphasize on academic merits is less 'brutal' and the children are exposed to the idea that God is involved in every detail of your life, in your studies, your family & in your social life.One of the main reasons we chose our kids' school was because it is a Christian school. At the school, the emphasis on values and nurturing spirituality is very prominent, which is what I love about the school.
Whereas in a highly-competitive non-religious school (like RGS for e.g., but not exclusive to RGS) the ethos held up to be nonnegotiable are performance excellence, diligence & cut-throat competition.
In a highly-competitive, non-religious school there is not much time given to ideas that one has value & worth in simply being a unique individual--regardless of one's performance. I would imagine that ideas of 'caring for the weak ones amongst us' would be perfunctorily endorsed as a characteristic of a civil society, but without the kind of commitment to it that would come from a school run on Christocentric ideas of universal love & selflessness."
I know schools, like companies and organisations, can make many lofty claims about their values that they don't actually uphold. But from what I can see at their school, they really do put their words into action. Everyday before school begins, there is devotion led by either a teacher or a member of the Pastoral Care team. A prayer is said, a verse read and a short story told to elaborate on the verse. During exam periods, the chosen verse is usually something the kids can relate to, like on God's guidance during difficult times. Every Friday, a member of the Pastoral Care team will address the kids during assembly, either telling a story or teaching a lesson from the bible. There is a prayer box in the canteen where any kid can put in a prayer request. The Parent Support Group collects the requests and prays for the kids. At the end of the school year, there is a Closing Service to give thanks to God for seeing them through another year.
Apart from these activities, because the school is a Christian school, it is a natural magnet for children and teachers from Christian families and this is another big plus for me. I like the fact that my kids are being surrounded by like-minded peers and teachers who uphold the same love of God and Christian values in their everyday life, especially during the impressionable primary school years. In one of Lesley-Anne's journal entries in p4, she wrote about being undecided as to whether she should become a vet or a dancer when she grew up. This was the comment written by her teacher:
Doesn't that just warm your heart? I'm pretty sure you won't find this in a non-Christian school even if the teacher is a Christian because it would be considered politically insensitive.
The Christ-centricism is very strong among the kids at the school. I recall an amusing incident when Lesley-Anne was in p1. She had tripped when she was alighting from the school bus and grazed her knee. As she clutched her bleeding knee in pain, a friend said, "I'll pray for you" and immediately launched into prayer for God to heal the knee! Of course in this case, it would have been more practical to help her to the sick bay but it was touching to see that resolute, innocent belief that God can fix anything. Faith of the children.
This is only my experience with my kids' school, so I cannot speak for other Christian schools. But I suspect it should be the same elsewhere. I have heard, for instance, that the Parent Support Group at ACS also prays for the students. Kenneth and I both studied at Catholic schools, and the focus on spirituality there was not so prominent. But then I do think there are differences in the ethos between Catholic and Christian schools, just like there are different practices in the Catholic and Protestant churches. (Just my opinion!!)
After having seen Lesley-Anne blossom after five years at her school and Andre two, I can say with absolutely certainty that choosing that school for my kids has been one of the best decisions we've ever made as parents.