Skip to content

The Principal’s dilemma (A) 2014-131.1

14 May 2014



Mill Park Heights Primary School Principal Deborah Patterson faced a problem. Increasing numbers of parents were pressuring her to enrol their children before they were emotionally, intellectually or socially ready. Their demands contradicted the advice of kindergarten teachers, and conflicted with research that starting school too early could lead to enduring problems with development, behaviour and achievement. Patterson found herself having the same conversation year after year as she tried to convince parents to delay enrolment. Though the evidence for her argument was sound, it was not enough for some parents, for whom the financial strain of childcare was becoming too unmanageable. This was a common problem in “mortgage-belt” suburbs like Mill Park. Few alternatives to early enrolment in state primary schools offered a financially viable solution. Patterson’s dilemma was how to respond in a way that would create public value, both for the children and their parents, within the constraints of the education system.

This short case study, now in two parts, is an update of the 2011 case Ready to Learn: Mill Park Heights Primary School’s Pre-prep Program. The new version allows teachers to break the class discussion into two stages.Part A can be used for teaching public value, particularly balancing financial factors against evidence for good public policy, particularly within the education system.

Read more:

Authors: Marinella Padula
Published Date: 14 May 2014
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Content Length: 2
Product Type: Part A, Primary resources, Short story, Update