All parents will experience the excitement and anxiety associated with choosing a school for their child. It’s a massive milestone for families and should therefore involve thorough planning and lots of conversation. After all, there are lots of things to consider. To help you get started, I have teamed up with a prep school in Surrey, who have the following advice.
Start with a family discussion about your priorities for the school. It’s important to get the decision right for the child in question, but it will also affect the rest of the family, so have a think about what you all want. For instance, does the school need to be on route to either your own or your partner’s work so that you can drop your child on the way? Perhaps you’d prefer it to be within walking distance or on a suitable bus route. You should also think about any special educational needs your child might have and whether you’d prefer a single-sex or a co-educational school. Would you like there to be boarding facilities?
Once you have a list of priorities, you can start to do some research online. Have a look at some of the school’s websites and rule out any that don’t tick your boxes. On the websites, you should be able to find more information about things like the curriculum, the pastoral care, the facilities, previous exam results and latest inspection reports. Have a look to see if there are any extra-curricular activities available that your child might be interested in. Eventually, you should have a short-list of schools that you’d like to visit.
Book yourself onto a few Open Mornings so that you can go along to the school and get a real feel for it. You’ll probably know in your gut if it’s right for your child as soon as you walk in the door. Chat to the teachers and students if you can, asking lots of questions. You should also pay attention to the facilities. Do they look modern and clean? Does it seem like a safe environment? Take your child along if you can and observe how they interact with their new surroundings.
Nb. Collaborative post.