Choosing the Right School
By Jenny Dalton Editor Natasha Nkantu
Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions parents face. As a parent, you soon come to the realisation that you have to let your child go. A large part of their life will now be spent under someone else’s care and authority. It can feel like you have no control, but you do. You have control over which school your child attends, this includes control over the quality of education they receive.
When looking for a school for your child, the school closest to you is an obvious choice. Many school places in the UK are awarded based on proximity. But before you sign on the dotted line, visit the school, talk to the teachers, parents and students.
Look at the school’s:
Curriculum and class sizes– Different children are excel at different things. The curriculum being taught should be right for your child. You should question, ‘Will my child be happy at this school?’ and ‘Will they get the qualifications they need to achieve their goals?’
Facilities and resources– School shouldn’t feel like a chore for your child, they should have an enjoyable experience. Some children will take part in extra-curricular activities. You need to question, ‘Do these facilities and extra-curricular support my child’s interests and talents?’
Student support systems– Whilst you are not there, you want to know that your child is supported and help is available if they need it. You need to ask, ‘How does the school support new students?’
Location– You may not always be available to take your child to and from school. Make sure that the school is in a safe area and is within a good travelling distance from your home. Question, ‘Will travelling to this school daily be manageable?’
Latest OFSTED report– You can check how good the school is rated by OFSTED.
Most importantly, ask yourself, ‘Will my child be happy at this school?’. Therefore, you should involve your child in the decision making process. Their hopes and opinions are as important yours.
Most schools hold open days for prospective parents. They are a good way for you and your child to see the school’s facilities and meet staff and students. These days can dispel doubts and raise them. They give you with a ‘feel’ for a school, an idea of its atmosphere and ethos. But remember open days are a chance for schools to ‘put their best foot forward’, to show off their achievements, so remember to do your research.
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We have a Parents for Life course which raises the awareness on the importance of positive parenting and strategies on how to enhance your relationship with your child through key life stages.