Choosing a school for your child can be quite a difficult and daunting experience, as there is so much to consider. Single-sex or co-educational? Public or private? With so many questions and considerations, it’s perfectly normal for parents to feel anxious about choosing a school, which is why I have teamed up with St Catherine’s School to offer you the following advice.
First of all, think about your child’s personality, interests and their academic strengths, and look for a school based on those factors. Do the schools’ cultures, values and teaching methods suit your child and your family as a whole? It might be worth sitting down as a family and putting together a list of the things that are most important to you in a school. For example, will you be happy with your child walking to school or is it on route to your work? Is your child a music fanatic and are private lessons available at the school? Is your child sporty or athletic, would this be catered for at the school of your choice? Many schools now offer school sports tours in a range of sports and to a range of countries, so this is something you could address. Once you know what you and your child both require from a school, you’ll be able to narrow down your search.
You can learn more about a school by browsing their websites and downloading their prospectus. It’s also worth looking at their old inspection reports to learn about their reputation. To get a real feel for the school, you should most certainly pay a visit on a normal school day. Are the teachers friendly and welcoming? Do the students seem happy and are they made to feel involved? What are the class sizes like? Also consider the facilities; is the dining area kept clean and tidy? Is there a nice outdoor play area for break times?
No matter what decision you eventually make, be sure your child is happy with it. After all, they are the ones who have to spend most of their time at the school, so it’s absolutely vital for their wellbeing that they are happy there. Involving them in the decision may also help to ease their anxiety about their first day there, which is an added bonus!