It’s that time of year again. The time that schools start opening their doors for next years prospective parents to come in and have a look. In hope of them choosing a school for their children.
It’s now time to apply for my youngest sons primary school place. Already having 4 out of my 5 sons in school. I obviously am not a stranger to the school application process, so I though I would share my hints and tips choosing a school for your child.
I hope, with this post, to be able to put a few stressed out mummy minds at ease with my tips on what to look for when choosing a schools.
If you’re choosing a school and applying for a Reception place for next September here’s a few things to think about:
Speak to your friends and parents of children in schools in your local area. Find out which school their children go to. Are they happy with it? What do they like about it? Did they get their first choice? Is there a lot of local competition for places? These parents will have a very good idea of what to expect from previous years.
Consider the practicalities
How will your child get to school? Who will be looking after them? Does your current childcare provider do drop offs at your chosen school?
Read the Ofsted report
Yes read a schools Ofsted report but don’t take them to heart. It’s not the be all and end all. It is just a very small snapshot of the school and it’s performance. Keep in mind that the reports and data may be years old.
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Go and visit the school
This really is the most important thing to do in the whole process. Many schools hold “open evenings” where the school will do a talk about informing parents about the school and a chance to meet the teaching staff as well as classroom tours. Take a pen and paper or use the notes app on your phone to make a list of questions and things you want to know. I strongly advise trying to visit school during the day when the children are there to get a real feel for the place.
Check out the schools website
On the website the school they, by law they have to publish the amount of funding they receive for under privileged children, details of the curriculum, admissions criteria, admissions policy, behaviour policy and SEND policy. Also links to OFSTED reports and performance data. You may also find out details of extra curricular activities, lunch menus and annual events calendar.
Don’t just put one school on the school application
You might well feel there is “no other choice” and this is the “only” school you want your child to go to but your Local Education Authority might not see it that way! I’ve seen so many parents disappointed not to get their first choice school and then placed somewhere completely random as they hadn’t put second or third choice schools down.
Go With Your Gut Instinct
Keep in mind that this is the first stepping stones to your children’s future. That school plays a huge part in preparing your children for the big bad world in the future. Keep in mind your personal expectations, morals and beliefs. Do not be scared to ask any questions, no matter how silly they seem. You will know if its the right school for your child.
Have you got any great advice for looking at and choosing a school? Let me know in the comments below.
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