Whether it’s nurseries or senior schools you’re looking at, choosing a school for your child isn’t an easy task. It involves careful consideration which is why parents will often start the process at least a year in advance, allowing enough time to compare options, attend visits and make an informed decision. To help you along your journey, we have some top tips from a co-ed school in London for you below.
Type of School
In the UK we have private schools which require fees to attend, and state schools that are funded by the government through taxes. Within these two broad categories schools have their own approaches and ways of doing things so as a first step, we’d recommend understanding how different schools operate.
OFSTED and ISI reports are an excellent way to learn about how well schools perform. They are objective and provide parents access to a range of information. ISI inspections investigate independent schools and cover pupil achievement, personal development and much more. OFSTED reports are pretty similar, except they are for government funded state schools.
Despite most parents spending at least a year searching, there is no hard and fast rule, although having a long time frame to research and narrow your choices can certainly help.
While your child’s not enrolled at the schools you’re looking at yet, you can test the school run to see whether it’s feasible to make the journey every day. Making the journey at the same time they usually would will give you an idea of the traffic to expect and any other issues that may later arise. We’d suggest doing the same with public transport, especially if it’s a journey your child will be making alone.
Book an Appointment / Attend an Open Day Event
Most schools will offer parents the chance to attend an open day event where they can walk around their premises, speak to teachers, and ask any questions they have.
Take a Lesson
Some will even offer children taster sessions where they can sit in on lessons and have a feel of what they can expect.
Bursaries and Scholarships
If the school you’re looking to send your child to is a fee-paying school, we’d highly recommend you research the financial assistance that’s available. To help parents cover the cost of tuition, many offer bursaries and scholarships. While similar, the two differ slightly. Bursaries are means-tested and based on financial need, whereas scholarships are accessible to all and offered on academic merit.
Consult Your Child
In researching, sometimes parents forget the most important part which is to consult their child. As they will be the ones attending, they should also have a say. Open days are great ways to test the waters and gauge from their reactions whether they like it there. Also, they will be able to meet their new teachers and familiarise themselves with their new school environment.
Speak to Other Parents
We’d also recommend speaking to other parents like yourselves. It can make the job easier and help you pick up on things you may have missed in your research.
Trusted Review Sites
To follow on from the point above, a trusted review site can summarise how parents of the schools themselves feel and help you gain a much better understanding.
Go with Your Gut
Your gut instinct is never far wrong. Despite all the research and reasons pointing to a school being an excellent place to learn, as a parent it’s important that you’re happy with your choice as it’s the school your child will be attending for several years.