If the time has come to choose a school for your child, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make for them and will influence their progression, their friendship groups, and even their interests. Read on for some tips on how to choose and what to consider from a prep school in Elstree.
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Understand the Different Options
There are lots of different types of schools in the UK, so it’s worth understand what each of them entail before you make a decision.
Think About Your Priorities
Start by thinking about your priorities as a family when it comes to your child’s school. Here are some examples:
- Does it need to be within walking distance of your home or on a suitable bus route?
- Would you prefer to send your child to a single-sex school?
- Are you looking for public or private?
- Do you need boarding provisions?
- Does your child have any special educational needs that need to be catered to?
Think about the daily needs of your child and your family as a whole to help you determine your priorities. Once you have figured out what it is you actually want from a school, you can start your search.
Do Some Online Research
Most schools have a decent enough website for prospective parents to get some idea of what they have to offer. So, do some research and look into things like the curriculum, the after-school clubs, and anything else that interests you. Then you can start to narrow down your search and rule out some definite no’s.
Look at League Tables
It’s worth taking a look at the league tables to figure out how students typically perform in certain schools. This is important, but it’s worth noting that it doesn’t give you the full picture of what the school has to offer, such as their extra-curricular provisions.
Visit the Schools
Once you have ruled out your definite no’s, you should have a short list of potential options that you can go and visit. Most schools have open events for prospective parents to attend, but you should always take these with a pinch of salt as everyone will be on their best behaviour. It might be better to arrange a visit for a normal day so you can see if everything runs smoothly. Pay attention to the following things during your visit:
- Do the students seem happy and well adjusted?
- Are the facilities clean/modern/safe?
- Are student projects showcased around the building?
- Is there somewhere nice for your child to spend their break times?
During your visits to the schools, be sure to ask lots of questions so that you can make the most of the experience. Try and chat with both teachers and students and pay attention to how friendly and approachable they seem. Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
- What are the school’s aims and ethos?
- What options are available to students in terms of extra-curricular activities?
- How do your pastoral care team deal with any problems, such as poor academic performance or a bullying issue?
- Does the head teacher get to know each child individually?
- What is the staff turnover?
These are just a few ideas as you are sure to have you own set of questions.
Listen to Your Gut
You know your child better than anyone, so you shouldn’t be afraid to listen to your gut. When you visit the schools, you will get a good sense as to whether or not your child is likely to be happy there, and your parental instinct is usually a good judge.