I’m beginning to think that although we are supposed to have a ‘choice’ here in the UK about which school to send our children to in reality there isn’t much of a choice and you get stuck with the school closest to you. However, if you are lucky you might find yourself in an area where there is a choice, you may be able to afford fees or, if you plan well you might consider moving in time to make sure that your child will get a place in the school which you think will suit them best.
Without a doubt, whichever avenue you choose to take, choosing a school for your child can be a daunting process. There are so many things to consider, and it can start to feel as stressful as house-hunting! Below are a few key tips to help you choose the best school for your children.
Does it meet your cleanliness standards?
Without a doubt, schools are probably one of the worst places you could go to if you were trying to find somewhere clean and hygienic. If you don’t want your child home sick every fortnight, make sure the school you’re considering has decent hygiene standards. Chat to them about their cleaning schedules (is it daily, weekly, fortnightly), and enquire who does it. A volunteer grandmother might be thrifty, but a professional company like AMC Commercial Cleaning is far more likely to do the job properly.
Are the students performing?
School results for younger children can be difficult to assess, but you should still be able to find out how the school is performing across basic literary and numeracy targets. If they are under performing, find out why and what they are doing to improve the results. Do your research before assuming anything. Ofsted is the best place to start.
Will your child have a life outside the lessons?
At all ages, it is vital that extra-curricular learning and activities are encouraged and given time to thrive. Whether it’s sports training, arts and crafts activities, or even playing in the garden, development happens in all areas of life, and it is important that the school can encourage these many aspects of life. Check out what sports and creative programs are available to your child, and find out about their school curriculums.
Does the school’s values align with your own?
It would seem odd for an outspokenly atheist family to send their child to a devout religious school, but it can go much deeper than this. Perhaps it is a matter of who is welcomed to the school, what integration do they have for students with special needs, and the manner in which the classes are taught. You may want a school who focuses on pushing your child academically through rigid class structures, or you may prefer somewhere your child can develop their opinions, opting for a looser class structure. These little things make a difference, and are worth considering.
Do you think your child will be happy there?
No one knows your child better than you, so there’s a good chance you will be able to figure out how they would respond to the environment. Learning and development only happens if they are content, so choose a place that you think they will love. If in doubt, ask them what they would like to do. Its really important to take your child’s opinion into consideration, after all, they are the ones who will be there everyday!
What did you look for in a school? Share your thoughts below.