Our years spent finding the perfect Governess or pastoral staff for our clients has taught us many things, however what stands out most is the sheer complexity of choice available to parents when selecting how to educate their children and the stress attached to the weight of importance in getting it right.
Although selecting the right school for your child should be a relatively simple choice unfortunately it can be fraught with challenges. We have found though that the more information a parent has to hand the easier the decision can be.
So, by offering our handy tips we hope to make the road you travel just a little bit less rocky.
Be organised - researching all the different school options can be time-consuming and will deliver you vast amounts of information in the form of prospectuses, letters, open day invites and emails.
It is very easy due to the sheer volume of information to become disorganised and if you’re not careful you will start to confuse the schools.
Before you even move into the world of open days, exams and registration deadlines you want to have all the information as easily accessible and organised as possible.
Start early - Although you and your child might feel an instant connection with a school it is best to review all your options. This will take a while, so it is vital to allow plenty of time to finally consider all the options to ensure you’re fully satisfied with your final decision.
Schools are happy to deal with early queries and will provide all the necessary literature early as to allow you to make a shortlist which you can then visit for open days.
It is also worth noting that deadlines are becoming earlier and earlier. The beginning of Year 5 is a good time to start with research.
Look at more than just league tables - Choosing a school should involve considering lots of different factors but league tables should only be one of them as they only show one side of story.
Ask any school you are considering for their value-added or progress data as this indicates how much children improve when attending that particular school.
Consider what is important for your child’s needs - Ultimately any parent is looking for a school where their child is going to receive a rounded and fulfilled education and be happy.
It is therefore imperative to carefully consider what is important to your child inside and outside the classroom so that you can chose a school that will cater for their own personal interests.
There are many different elements that schools choose to focus on including sports, arts, music and even cathedral choir. Each offering your child a fantastic chance to learn how to manage their time, grow in confidence and develop their talent.
For those considering a boarding option, there are a multitude of boarding choices where you will find contemporary sleeping areas and friendly, cheery and ultimately responsible house parents who genuinely take a vested interest in the future of your child.
Visit prospective schools and attend open days - narrowing your choices down can often be the hardest part of the whole process as there are so many different schools out there.
School visits and open days really are the best option to see the school in person as they give you and your child an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the school as well as meet the Head and other teaching staff as well as the pastoral staff who are often not available on private visits.
This is your time to ask questions so that you can make comparisons with other schools and ultimately be able to make an informed decision. Take a list of questions you would like answered and if possible, chat with the pupils as well as the staff.
It is also important to not get carried away by any Hogwarts style building or Olympic sized swimming pools because, whilst impressive, they are only a small part of your child’s education.