Knowing how to choose the right school for your child can be daunting. Of course you want a school where your child will reach their full potential, but what else is important to you? Are you looking for a school which embodies your values? One which offers the right opportunities and a supportive community?
One of the first things parents can do is get an overview of the schools you are interested in. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Research online. Most schools have an enormous amount of information on their website. You can read about the philosophy, history and key information, such as what subjects and co-curricular activities they offer.
- Read their online school Newsletters and other publications. The Newsletter will give you an overview of the day-to-day activities in the school. School magazines are often more formal, but again, you can read about the highlights, key events and how broad and involved their community is.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to get personal. You can only get so much of the picture from a website, so you need to pay them a visit.
- Do the schools you’re interested in offer a Tour? Tours are a great way to see a school in action. You will be able to view classes, talk to staff members, and possibly also students. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the school from the people who work and attend there.
- Open Days. At a school Open Day you will be able to see everything the school has to offer. You will also have access to staff from every department who are happy to talk to you about what they offer and how they educate.
Once you’ve made your choice it’s time to apply. Here are some points to remember:
- Most schools interview three years out, so ensure you have your child’s application in on time
- Review the policy regarding application fees. Most schools will require you to pay a fee to apply and then another fee when a place is offered
- Include all the paperwork requested. If you haven’t submitted everything needed it can hold up, or worst case scenario, jeopardise the application.
Finally, stay in contact with the school. Attend community events, musical performances and plays. Not only will this keep you up to date with what is happening but your child will feel more comfortable there when they start.