With so much at stake, choosing a school can be overwhelming. And as our lives get busier, and the process gets more complicated, it can be difficult to know where to start. But follow our top tips, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the right school for your child.
- Think about your child’s needs – how do they learn best? Do they like to work independently or with extra guidance? Do they thrive or struggle under pressure? Finding the right school starts with your child, and their unique personality and learning style.
- Think about your needs – how will your child travel to school? Are you likely to be away from home, or move home? Do you have other children at schools in the area? It’s important to find a balance between what works for each child, and what works for the whole family. For example, if you know your job moves you around regularly – but your child works best with a set routine – boarding school could be a good option.
- Do your research – talk to friends, use online forums, search the news. There’s a lot you can learn about a school’s achievements, reputation and teaching style from other families, as well as their own website.
- Visit in person – online research is important, but it’s not a substitute for visiting each school in person. Attending an open day – or even arranging a visit during the school day – is the best way to get a feel for the school’s ethos and approach.
- Ask the right questions – what’s the school’s approach to learning? And to discipline? What’s the attendance rate? How does the school involve parents in their child’s education? What extra support is available, and what extracurricular activities are there? It’s important to look beyond the curriculum and academic achievements of the school, to understand how it will shape your child’s character and equip them for a fulfilling future.
For more advice on what to look for in a school – and what the top schools are looking for in their applicants – read this month’s interview with the Dragon School’s Admissions Registrar, Kate Heath.