Dogfooding: Would you send your own kids to your school?

It’s a curious term that I came across in the business section of my newspaper this morning. In business ‘eating your own dogfood’ refers to the scenario in which a company uses it’s own product to demonstrate its quality and capabilities.

Of course, there are many extenuating circumstances in the decisions we make for our own children (present company included) – but in principle, is your school the kind of school that you would like your own children to attend? When I had my own sons at school with me it hit my hip-pocket. Not so much in the cost of fees, but the regular question  as I crossed the playground… “Mum, can I have some money?”

In business, and in particular for business leaders, this speaks of corporate loyalty. The article makes reference to a question put to Melinda Gates about i-devices, to which she answered, “The wealth from our family came from Microsoft, so why would I invest in the competitor?”.

As a child I used to wonder if the employees from a TV channel were only allowed to watch their own station at home.

The former chief executive of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, recently admitted on radio that his zeal for Britain’s biggest supermarket stretched to the contents of the family’s fridge. Asked if his wife Alison had ever shopped at rival Waitrose, he said: “Occasionally, but I would complain so much that she wouldn’t bother.”

He even bribed his kids to inform if his wife popped into Waitrose (the competitor). You can’t say the man’s not passionate about his supermarkets.

While this sounds a little extreme,  the principle remains, would you send your own kids to your school? Great school leaders would, almost with a parent-heart, want to create a learning community within which their own children would thrive.

So hypothetically, and even if you don’t have your own kids, how would your school stack up as first choice for your family?

Is the learning personalised so that your children would be engaged and stimulated?

Are there high quality relationships that would make your children feel part of a community?

Would the professional practice provide the best quality of education you would want for your kids?

Would they recognise you as the person at home?

I’m sure that there are other questions, but it comes down to passion for your school, and making it the best, so that even your kids would love it and thrive there.

So how passionate are you?


6 thoughts on “Dogfooding: Would you send your own kids to your school?

  1. I absolutely would send my kids to our school… and I did just that! We are a vibrant and caring family where students flourish!


  2. My three daughters not only attended the school at which I taught science, but I was the only science teacher any of them had in secondary school. It was a very small, rural public school in the wester US. I worried at first that they might be shortchanged by the limited courses and paucity of extra-curricular activities available, but I need not have. Each of the three graduated as valedictorian of her class, and all three had more than adequate preparation for higher education. Because our school is so small and remote, it has been a pioneer in offering concurrent (dual) enrollment classes, and each of them took several lower division college classes from university faculty via distance education.

    Several of my colleagues have taught their own children (and we have taught each other’s) with few ill effects. At least one colleague lives far enough distant that his children could attend other schools, but he has chosen to have his kids attend here as well.

    In the realm of small rural (US) schools, I am not unique.


  3. Coming from my experience in India, I have a very different outlook. Two of my closest friends had their parents teaching in the same school as we studied in and it tortured them that they were expected to be on the best behavior, top all classes, be a role model, etc… In fact, one tiny act of mischief and the news travelled to the parents! So much so that, one of the boys and me convinced our families to move us into a boarding school!
    I doubt I would want my kid to go through that, so unless I could be skilled as a parent to keep the “Dad” tag and the “Teacher” tag separate, I wouldn’t send my kids to the same school as I taught in!


  4. My daughter attends the school I work at. She went to a primary school in the UK my mum worked at too.
    I did send her to a different secondary school but moved her in year 8 because she wasn’t making the best progress and was unhappy.
    She loved my school from day one – just a pain on parents evening – have to get my mum to speak to her teachers! As my husband works late 😦


  5. An interesting thought… I would definitely send my children to my school based on an educational and pastoral care basis. However, I believe there are a number of other issues that have to be considered as well as these. Is the school a viable option financially for my family? How will the travel/distance affect my child and their peer relationships? Can my whole family be a part of the local community (the one we live in) if we commute out of area to go to school?
    To be honest, I struggle with this question about every six months, as I passionately believe that the education at my school is of the highest quality, but our family still has to juggle the other issues too.


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