Picking out a school for your child can seem like a daunting prospect, whether it’s the first school or they’re heading up to secondary school. You want them to have an opportunity to achieve their best, get the grades they need to accomplish their goals, and, of course, settle in and make friends. It can seem like a tough decision and one that you might agonise over but there are some things you can look out for.
While school league tables are often a go to resource for parents searching for a school, head teachers have urged parents to ignore them. The new tests introduced this summer to assess the ‘three R’s’ – reading, writing, and maths – and the higher demands mean that it’s not possible to compare the results to previous years, according to primary heads leader Russell Hobby. This year just 53% of pupils passed the test, compared to the 80% that passed in 2015. While 11,000 schools failed to meet targets, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are failing to prepare children academically, they could simply still be adjusting to what many considered a rushed change in the testing of year 6 pupils.
But if looking at the league tables isn’t the best option what can you do? Here are our 4 tips to choosing a school for your child.
Consider feeder schools
Nurseries and primary schools are often act as ‘feeder schools’ and have links with local primary or secondary schools where pupils often transfer to when they’re ready to go into reception or year 7. These are often the first place to look, as they’ll be able to establish relationships with teachers, get to know the environment, and your child is likely to have friends that are moving to these schools too.
Take a tour
Many schools will be open to you visiting or will have open days for you to attend. This can give you the clearest indication of the teaching style and how your child will fit in. What’s most important to you will vary from parent to parent.
Chat with parents
Talking with other parents is one of the ways to understand how the school cooperates with parents – do they keep you regularly updated on progress or simply send out school reports annually?
Look at extracurricular activities
Of course the academic side of school is important but so too are extracurricular activities and they could help your child settle in. From sports clubs to learning an instrument there’s often lots of opportunities as schools.
Check out School Reviewer
If you want more information on a school in your local area School Reviewer is the place to head.