Choosing a senior school for your child is a big responsibility, one that parents tend to underestimate. However, it does actually require some careful preparation and plenty of research; unfortunately the schools don’t fall in your lap. For that reason, a private senior school in Hertfordshire have put together the following tips, to help parents understand what’s involved in choosing a fantastic school for their children; one that ticks all the right boxes.
First of all, you need to think about what your priorities are as a family. What matters most to you? For instance, does it need to be on route to your office so you can drop your child off on the way to work? Maybe you’d prefer it to be walking distance? Does your child have any special needs that need to be catered to, like a disability or a language barrier? Once you have a strong understanding of what your requirements are for the school you can then start your research.
Try and gather as much information as possible about various schools in suitable locations. Have a look at their websites and learn about their curriculums, their inspection reports, their amenities and provisions. Look up the academic results for the previous year and see if there is a page of the website for leavers’ destinations, so you can find out what type of sixth forms and universities the students normally get into after their time at the school.
Other things are important too, like school trips, uniform and extra-curricular activities. Try and learn as much as you can about the school and prepare a shortlist of the ones you’d like to visit.
Most schools will have open evenings or other events that you can attend, giving you a chance to have a look around and meet some of the teachers and existing students. Take your son or daughter along to the event so that they too can get a feel for the place. After all, they are the ones who have to spend most of their time there so their opinion is very important. Whilst visiting the school, be sure to consider various factors. For instance:
- Is the building clean, well-maintained and safe for young people?
- Are the facilities modern/up-to-date?
- Do the school and the staff feel welcoming?
- Where do the students hang out during break and lunch time?
- Do the students and teachers interact in a polite and friendly manner?
Of course, this is a summarised list and there are lots of other things to consider when visiting a school, but you’ll usually know what feels right. Don’t forget to listen to the head teacher’s talk and try and get an understanding of the aims and ethos of the establishment. Think about whether those values are suitable for your child and include them in the final decision.