The Transition from one stage of education to the next can be a challenging experience for parents and pupils. Employees Matter speaker and education consultant, Dee Francken, makes school selection simple, with these top tips:
1. Get on top of the bureaucracy:
Every Education Authority and Independent School has its own deadlines and rules, as do Faith Schools and Academies. Find out the details well in advance. Only a small proportion of places are awarded on appeal in the state sector; make certain that you meet the criteria, or you may be disappointed.
2. Look at the school’s website and/or prospectus:
See what the school thinks is important, and what information they give about admissions, the curriculum, extra-curricular activities as well as the ethos of the school. Look at the leavers’ destinations: where did pupils go onto next?
3. Take a look at the school’s Inspection report:
These reports can be found on the internet and often give valuable information about the school, and most importantly, about the quality of teaching and learning. Make certain that the report was written within the last 3 years.
4. Go to the Open Days:
Look at the work on display. Is there evidence that your child will be stretched academically as well as supported if they have an area of weakness? Speak to current pupils if possible. Do the Head and Senior Management have a clear vision for the school?
5. Ask the important questions:
What are the results like? How are pupils supported if they are struggling? Find out about pastoral care, class size, setting by ability, homework policy, bullying and discipline polices.
Consider travel implications, the choice of single sex or mixed schools and the issue of following a sibling: In the end, each child has to be treated as an individual. Your choice has to be the school which you feel best fits your child.