School Open Days can be exciting and, let’s face it, daunting for parents new to this ‘choosing a school’ thing. So, it’s important to do a bit of preparation before you attend.
First of all, think about what’s most important to you when choosing a school for your child. Is it academic achievement, is it behaviour management, is it the overall feel of the school, is it the teachers, is it the facilities and resources? It might be a combination of all these things.
Begin by writing down all the things you hope for from your potential school and use that as a jumping point to any essential questions you need answered.
While every school will provide you with a handbook covering the essentials of school life, giving you a good overview of the school and its approach, you may have more questions about the school’s teaching philosophy, approach to discipline and what life is like outside the classroom for its students.
So, go prepared with any questions you have, but another way to gauge whether the school is right for your family is to just have a look around you. Do the students appear happy, do the teachers seem approachable and friendly, can you picture yourself and your family here? Sometimes these observations can carry the most weight, and even if your questions have been answered well if any of these things don’t seem right then it may not be the school for you.
Chat to other families with children at some of the schools you’re considering. They can give you insider knowledge and share what they like best about the school. However, always come back to your first list of what’s most important to you as this can vary from family to family. Make sure you’re choosing based on your own needs and values and not what is talked about as a ‘good school’.