Choosing a School [Quick Guide]
Education is the best gift a parent/guardian can give to a child. Having said that, open day season is around the corner if you’re anything like most parents, the top schools are on your radar.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your child’s first time joining the world of blackboards or if they’re looking to change their school. As long as you’re part of the next wave of school applicants, you want the absolute best for your child. That’s why we’ve devised this short 5 step guide to help you choose wisely:
Anytime you embark on something, prepare. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It’s, therefore, a good idea to start your research way before choosing a school, preferably 2 years before.
For the transition to secondary school, you should start your first round of Open Days 5 years before your child can join a particular school. This way, you’ll have a general understanding of your choices, hence narrow down to your top choices. And as the time nears, go back and refresh your research.
Visit Your Top Options
The internet has lots of edited photos and videos. That’s why you need to see things as they are on the ground. That said, visit your top options, interact with teachers and if possible, talk to the head teacher. Most times, the headteacher represents the body of ethics and culture in a school.
While walking around a school taking mental notes, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can I picture my child playing here with these kids?
- How do I feel about the other parents?
- Is this similar to my old school, and if so, is that why I like it or am worried about it?
To compare and think about impressions, carry a notebook and jot down all important notes. This way, when comparing schools, you can prompt your memory using your notes.
Numbers: They Never Lie
Getting all the inspection reports and key performance statistics can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Schools typically have a School Guide that displays all the official performance data from the Department for Education. Although you may not go through all the nitty-gritty, you can get a summary of their performance through their Star Rating.
But remember, high-performing schools don’t necessarily mean that your kid will thrive. Numbers are only part of the story. Even the top schools could fail to meet your child’s needs.
Luckily, School Guides also come with parent reviews. Consider these to contain vital information from those in the know. Schools also have noticeboards where they post information and these can shed light on what you need to know, unedited. And if you’re looking for a career in education, you might want to check out Hampshire education jobs.
The Devil Is in the Details
Sure, a school seems to be perfect at face value, but what are they really telling you? How are they selling themselves? The language and images a school uses in marketing itself can be a brilliant indicator of what they are really about.
One will say ‘Excellence in Academics‘, another will say ‘Most improved school in the Central Area’, while another will claim, ‘Raising free-spirited, loving people who are of benefit to the society.’ Which statement matters the most to you? The devil is in the details!
Reality Vs What’s on Paper
While a school may perform well and tick all the boxes, it may all be a good fantasy. How far is the school from home? Does the bus stop at yours? Can you afford the school? Be practical and choose a school that will be easy to fit into your daily lives.
With these 5 pointers, we’re sure you’ll choose the best school for your child. All the best!