Choosing a School

The signs have gone up at school and the children’s centre reminding parents of children who are starting school in September 2013 to apply for their reception class places – so what are our top tips for choosing a school?

  1. Find out which schools are in your local area – DirectGov have a find schools page which is very helpful!
  2. Consider individual school admissions criteria – usually factors like distance from the school, siblings, faith (if a faith school) and special educational needs to work out which schools are most appropriate for your family.
  3. Don’t rely on league tables and Ofsted reports – whilst these do give an indication of the school things change between Ofsted inspections and some schools that score highly in results tables have  a strong emphasis on academics and homework from early on which might not be what you want for your child.
  4. Visit the schools on your shortlist and see what you think – try going to open days (some schools have sessions where the children can go along too) and arranging separate visits to see the school without children – think about your gut instincts about the school, do the children look happy? is the building tidy and clean?
  5. Ask questions about – staffing and class sizes (do they mix age groups? how and why?), extra support available (are there teaching assistants / classroom helpers – are parents encouraged to volunteer in the school?), the facilities available for sports, music and ICT and the extra-curricular activities throughout the school. You might also want to find out what before / after school (wraparound) care is offered.
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One thought on “Choosing a School

  1. We did all of this before primary and secondary decisions were made. Tough times but you offer sensible advise. All areas are different, but thanks to the national curriculum we were surprised and pleased to find we were struggling to make a decision based on real differentiation between the schools. Home life and parental expectations play such an important role outside of the school day.

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