Selecting a School


MAIN CONSIDERATIONS

  • Day or Boarding?


    Decide whether you want your child to attend a school in your area as a day pupil or a school further afield as a boarder. About 85% of children are day pupils .Most boarding schools also have day places so children can convert to boarding later, if they wish.
    An increasing number of schools offer weekly boarding, where the pupil comes home at weekends.

  • Co-ed or single sex?


    Another major decision is whether you wish your child to be educated at a single sex school or a co-educational school.

  • Admission Policies


    The school year starts in September but it is advisable to start looking at least a year in advance, as place can be filled upto six months in advance. Most schools have Open Days in October. Think about when to introduce your child to a school. Most prep schools do not accept pupils in the final year. Senior schools are not keen to accept students halfway through a two year course i.e. year 11 (GCSE) or year 13 (A level).
    Schools usually interview prospective students and will ask for a report from your child's current school. Those children that they are considering, will need to sit an entrance exam, testing their levels of Literacy and Numeracy.Older children will be subjected to a broader exam also testing languages and Science.

  • Comparing schools


    Ask for a copy of the school prospectus. Once you have identified a school or schools which interest you, you should contact them for a prospectus (you can do this by e-mail) and/or visit their website.
    Visit the schools you are considering. Most schools have open days for prospective parents, but try also to make an appointment to visit on a normal working day and speak to the principal or a senior staff member.
OTHER FACTORS

  • Class sizes

    - schools vary: in most prep schools, classes will be between 15-20, but in some senior day schools they may be as big as 30.

  • League tables

    - this of course is an important factor, but one of many when choosing the right school for your child.

  • Curriculum

    - is it broad and balanced?

  • Examinations

    - exam performance reflects schools' academic policies and a high-flying school might not suit your child's needs.

  • Admission

    - many junior schools admit pupils on a first-come-first-served basis, so early application is advised. Most senior schools set some form of entrance test.

  • Discipline

    - is discipline stricter or more relaxed than you would expect? It is importunate to choose one where your child feel comfortable and motivated.

  • Location

    - good air, road and rail links?

  • Facilities

    - choose those schools with the best facilities appropriate to your child's interests. i.e. sports, music, drama, art.

  • Recommendation

    - what is good for one child is not necessarily good for the next. A good recommendation from friends or family is always useful, but bear in mind that schools change over time.

  • School fees

    - these should be detailed on the schools websites. Specialist fees planning companies are available to help plan finances. see School Fees Planning