How To Choose A School
Open Day season has started and corridors in schools all over the country are preparing to welcome the next applicant wave. Whether it is going to be your first journey into the sector of playgrounds and blackboards since you left school, or your children are just about to start primary or high school, and you need to approach the next step, here are five useful pointers that will help you to narrow your selection down so that you find the right one.
It is advisable to start finding out about the options in your local area about 2 years before you need to apply. For the best way to transition to a secondary school, you should start your round of Open Days in Year 5. It is a good idea to start narrowing those options down, so that when your child gets closer to an age where you will have to apply, then you can return to the schools that you liked.
Visiting schools provides a good opportunity to find out about the teachers, and more importantly what the head teacher is like, and who is probably going to be the greatest influence when it comes to the culture and ethos of that particular school. You should be asking these essential questions "Can I imagine my children playing on this playground with these children?" or "is this similar to my old school and that is why I have concerns about it or do I like it?" or "What do I think of the other parents?" Take a notebook with you and write down what you feel about the schools during each visit. If you are visiting many schools on the same day, this can be helpful to jog your memory when contrasting or comparing later on.
Do Your Digital Homework
It is not always easy to obtain an inspection report and key statistics about every school, but the School Guide displays the official performance data that comes from Ofsted and the Department for Education and provides each of the schools with colorful snapshots of the results and a summary Star Rating.
But even the data geeks such as us are aware that the statistics are only telling 50% of the story, and highly ranked A* academic dazzlers might not be the best fit for your children. School Guide also provides Parent Reviews, important feedback from people in the know, and a School Noticeboard, where the schools are allowed to upload photos and news to add shade and light to this raw data. If you're looking for a job in education, you might want to check out Treloar's jobs.
Take A Lesson In Language
The way schools describe and sell themselves is one of the best indicators you can use to decide whether the school will work for you or your child. Visit the websites of each school and look through the images and words that they are using to capture the school's experience. A few simple sentences can really say a lot. You can also find these descriptions by looking through magazines in your local area that usually runs Open Day specials where the ads are featured in the autumn. Here are a few examples of some of the sentences I have seen when looking for schools in my local area: "The most improved school in the South West", "A spirited and friendly community", and "Nurturing a love of learning", "Excellent academic standards". "Pure joy", "The happiest of education and exceptional results". Which of these resonates with you?
The Bus Doesn't Stop There
When you have found the school that has managed to tick all your boxes in relation to atmosphere and results, you should not overlook any practical aspects when it comes to how life will be for your child at that school. If you are driving your child to school, is the parking easy or difficult? or are there buses that serve this school in your area?