There’s a lot to consider when looking for a school for your child. There’s the curriculum, location, school ethos, performance, and overall learning experience. With so many boxes to check, it can be quite a confusing and tedious process. Places can be very competitive too which adds to the pressure on parents. So, the earlier that you can get started on your search, the better prepared you’ll be.
To give you a helping hand, we have teamed up with a sixth form college in Hertfordshire to share our top tips for choosing a school for your child.
Hear What Other Parents Have to Say
There is no better way to find out what a school is like than from those that have been in the exact same boat as you and can comment on their experience having sent their children there.
While you may be able to find dozens upon dozens of reviews online, it’s important that you are mindful of where they are coming from. It’s relatively easy to set up a fake account and leave trolling reviews to spite a business which is why we recommend steering away from Google.
There are school specific, trustworthy websites out there to help you such as the Good Schools Guide. They have been helping parents to find the best private schools for their children for the past 30 years and feature only genuine advice and guidance.
Talk to Your Child
The most important person to consult in this decision is your child. They will be the ones attending and having to adjust to their learning environment which is why you should give them the opportunity to have their say and a look around.
Schools usually host a number of open days for parents and their children. When they are there, they will be able to get to know the teachers that could potentially teach them, get familiar with the layout, and see whether they see themselves being a student there.
Review OFSTED Reports
A great way to make sure that a school’s right for your child and doesn’t have any areas for concern is their OFSTED report. They are based off objective school assessments that look into a range of areas. This covers everything from leadership to how they deal with students with complex needs such as SEND and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Schools tend to have these inspections every 4 years so they may not necessarily be a true reflection of how they are.
Speak to Other Parents
Reviewing lots of sources will help you to make the best choice possible for your child. Your “parent friends” may be able to tell you about what they’ve found out. They can help you to double down on the research and see if there’s anything that you have missed.
Follow Your Gut
As a parent it’s important to always listen to your gut. There may be things that don’t feel quite right as you’re walking around the grounds of their new school, and while you may not be able to pinpoint what it is exactly, you shouldn’t ignore it either. If you’re not 100% about their school, it will be a difficult decision for you to come to terms with once they’ve settled in.
Location plays a huge role. While it may initially be for convenience, attending a school that’s close by will help your child with their attendance and punctuality. They won’t need to worry about missing their bus or traffic along the way which will make for a nicer start to their day and one where no learning is missed.