Whether it’s time for your child to attend school for the very first time or whether they’re making the move upwards and onwards to high school, finding the right educational setting for them requires doing your homework. You may only have a few in your area to choose from, but you should still give them all a chance. Here are some of the factors to consider that could help you to make the best decision.
Take a tour
All schools will have open days, allowing parents and prospective pupils to look around. Whilst you can’t judge everything about a school from its open day (teachers and pupils alike will all be on their best form), you can get an idea of the resources on offer. Try to focus less on what is said and more on what is not said. If guides and teachers seem to be avoiding an topic, don’t be afraid to probe deeper. Also pay attention to the condition of the classrooms. If there’s no attempt to put up eye-catching displays and if furniture looks dilapidated, it usually shows a lack of care.
There are some schools that have some form of speciality. Schools such as Leicester High School for Girls are single-sex, which can attract many people looking for a more focused learning environment. Similarly, there are schools set up for specific religions such as Sacred Heart Catholic Secondary School and schools set up for specific disabilities such as New College Worcester. On top of this, there are even schools that have extensive departments in one particular subject such as music, technology or science.
Go by grades
Good grades can be a good indicator of a good school. However, these schools are also very competitive to get into and will often come with high entry requirements. You may not always have had to get a certain grade beforehand, but you may have to live within a local radius. When opting for private schools, those with good grades will often have the highest fees.
For this reason, it can be beneficial to look at schools with mid range grades. These will often still have the resources to get your child achieving high grades without the strict entry criteria. Schools with low grades are worth avoiding.
Consider the location
Whilst you shouldn’t settle for what’s on your doorstep, you don’t want your child to have to travel miles every morning to get to school. Either you will have to drop them off by car, or they’ll have to take a bus. Some areas will have free school buses, whilst others won’t have these services. Taking a train may be another option, but this too will add up costs.
Some eager parents may move home so that they’re closer to the school of their choice. This is a drastic measure but for parents and children with sights set on a particular school, it can make things more convenient.