Choosing A Secondary School - Homework for Parents!

September 2, 2015

Homework for Parents: Choosing a Secondary School

starting secondary school

The following points should be essential to your decision-making when it comes to choosing a secondary school for your child. Use this guide and you will be one step closer to making the right choice.

1. Consider more than Ofsted reports 
Of course it’s important to consider schools’ Ofsted reports, and all the websites, literature and adverts around your list of top schools. But remember, there is much more to choosing a school than the marketing each school conducts.

It’s important to look behind the headlines and consider every relevant aspect of a school.

2. Is your child eligible?
The most important consideration for your shortlist is whether your child is eligible for entry in the first place.

Most schools have a policy of proximity when considering admissions, so before you begin your detailed research, make sure that they will be eligible.

3. Be honest with yourself
When choosing a school, be honest with yourselves as parents. Are you looking at a particular school because you are impressed by their literature and talk of high standards, beautifully manicured grounds, great social activities and brilliant academic achievements?

Or, are you considering primarily by bearing the opportunities for and talents of your child in mind?  Try to personalize your choice as much as possible by accounting for your child’s needs.

4. League tables 
When thinking about your child’s move to secondary school, a useful port of call is the government’s performance information website. League tables are a great source of objective information on schools’ true performance; they measure how children of different abilities perform year-on-year.  

5. Talk to other parents and visit the schools
It’s useful to speak to the parents of children already attending the schools that you are researching.

It’s also essential to visit a school to get a good sense of it.  Speak to students when you get there as they are likely to give you the real picture of what the school is like and help you to see it from their point of view.

6. Consider the tone 
When visiting your child’s prospective school(s), try to get a sense of the tone of the environment. Is the school very formal or does it seem to have a more relaxed atmosphere? Does it focus more on the arts or mathematical subjects? Does the school welcome students’ freedom of expression or are they very disciplined?  

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