Once it is time for your child to head off to school, you have big decisions to make. One school is not the same as another, and it’s important to make sure that you pick the right tutors, environment, and school for your child.
A school is not just a place for learning, it is a place to grow as an individual, meet friends, learn new skills, and to further enhance their personality and have life experiences. It’s vital that the environment allows for growth on an educational and personal level, and that the tutors who teach your children, connect with them in the most effective way.
Do you look at statistics on the best performing schools in the area, or do you go with what feels right for you and your child? It’s personal, but both have to come into the decision.
Finding a school which is local to you and is also high quality isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve. For instance, if you live in London, you have a huge range of schools to choose from, but not all of them may suit your child, or your expectations. Most schools accept children within a catchment area, and will only consider applications from those who live outside of that catchment. Private schools will usually cast their net a little wider, but then you need to think about the travel side of things. If you go for a boarding school, you also have cost to factor in, and whether your child is going to be comfortable being a long distance away from their home.
Every part of choosing a school for your child is personal, and only you know your child the best. Education is vital, and it needs to be quality, but it also needs to be convenient logistically.
Every school is required to submit information to the education department, and from there statistics are generated in terms of how well the students in that year performed. This reflects on the tutors in that particular school and gives parents an idea of whether it is a quality place to send their children.
Some parents don’t pay 100% interest to these statistics, whereas other parents focus on them a lot more. Again, it’s personal, but you should certainly pay some attention to it at least. A school which is consistently performing at a low level is not a school you want to have on your short list. This shows that the methods in place for tutoring kids are not effective.
A school which has good statistics is a much better bet. Of course, if you can find a school with amazing statistics, ones which are consistently high quality, then that is a good school to have on your short list. This type of school is also likely to be over subscribed or have very high admission requirements. If this is your school of choice however, don’t let this put you off.
Does your child have any special interests which a school could cater for. For instance, if your child is very sporty, you should be looking towards a school which has a great selection of teams they can possibly play on, and if your child is musical, you could look towards a school with a reputation for enhancing musical skills. These interests are not just hobbies, however having your children happy and enjoying the things they’re doing is a must. School is about education, yes, but education is also in interests.
Are there are any possibilities for extra tuition with the schools you’re looking at? If your child has a maths weaknesses, is there a maths tutor who does lessons after school? Can you pay for extra tuition? Identifying your child’s strengths and weaknesses will give you more information in term of what you need here.
Do you go for a private school or a state school? Again, this is personal choice and a lot of it comes down to finances. If you can afford to send your child to a private school and you find one which will really suit their needs, then go for it. If on the other hand you don’t have the funds for this, you can still source out the best state schools for their needs, and still expect high achievement and results.
A lot of the private versus state argument comes down to stigma, and it is a personal decision you need to make.
Of course, you shouldn’t base your decision firmly on where your children’s friends are going, but it does have to come into it to a certain degree. If your child has firm friendships and his or her close buddies are going to a one particular school, is that school somewhere you would consider sending your child? Is it a school which is going to get the best out of them academically and personally? If so, go for it, because they will be very happy as a result. If not, you should still look around, because at the end of the day you have a duty to find the ideal place for their future growth. Friendships will still be friendships if they are strong enough.
Finding the best school for your child is not an easy journey to go down. You will be stressed, you will be overwhelmed with statistics and choices, and you will then have to go down the application and interview route. Don’t forget to ask your child what they want too! A joint decision is always going to be the best decision here, taking into account the other factors we have talked about above.