Choosing the best school for your child isn’t always as simple as finding the nearest school or sending them off to the same school as their older siblings.
Children are individuals with different interests, needs, talents and goals.
One school, while perfect for one child, may not be the best fit for another.
That’s why it is important to do your homework before you choose a school for your child.
Here are five tips to help you make your decision.
1. Carefully and honestly identify your child’s needs, talents and goals.
The best place to start is by considering the individual needs of your child. Think of what your child’s goals are. Identify any talents they have that could be nurtured at school. Think of any difficulties they’ve encountered at school so far and what they might need to overcome them. Consider whether they’d benefit from a single sex school and consider if they’d be better off at a separate school to their sibling.
2. Ask your child’s opinion
If you’re looking for secondary schools for your child the best place to start is, not surprisingly, with them. Ask your child where they’d like to go. They’ll probably have a good idea of what the schools in the district have to offer and where their friends are likely to be heading. Involving them in the conversation will make them feel as though their opinions are valued and will help them feel more positive about the school and their future.
3. Do some homework
There are many ways to find out more about potential schools for your child. Make a list of the schools in your area then check out their websites, ask for copies of their student handbooks or annual reports, look at the myschool website and talk to other parents in the area. Don’t be shy to phone the school if you have specific questions.
4. Ask about the school’s extra-curricular activities, specialities and areas of expertise.
Schools are as individual as the students they teach and it is important to be aware of their strengths and advantages. Many have comprehensive sport or music programs, while others are deeply academic. Some schools offer excellent programs and support for gifted students or those with learning difficulties. Look at your child’s talents, interests and goals and consider how they’d be nurtured and supported at each of the schools.
5. Take a tour of the school
The best way to get a good understanding of a school community is to visit and see the school firsthand. Most schools have an Open Day and you can always make an appointment and ask for a school tour – they’re usually happy to offer this to prospective students and their families. Before booking a tour, see if they’re partnered with School Places as you might be eligible for a discount if the placement is within the next couple of years. Once at the school, look closely at the mood and behaviour of the students. Look at the uniform and how it is worn. Inspect the facilities and the grounds and absorb the atmosphere of the school.
This blog post is sponsored by School Places.