Choosing The Right School

The school you opt for today, may very well be your child's alma-mater for the next fifteen years. Therefore, choosing the right school can be the single most influential factor on your child's future.Right-School

These guidelines have been cited from an independent article published in a UK magazine by author and education pundit 'Afshan Saher'. They are being published here as an unbiased analysis to help facilitate parents in choosing the best school for their children.

1. Ask the Students:
Arrange to be shown around by a couple of older pupils or find another way to chat to some of them out of earshot of the staff. Ask questions about the everyday school life:

  • Teaching
  • Bullying
  • Friendships
  • What they like best about the school

But most of all, look at them. Is this how you want your child to turn out?

2. Look for Interactions:
What are the younger children like? This is the crucible into which your child will be pitched. Do you like the way they play and work together? How do staff and pupils interact? What do the lonely children do?

3. Checkout the Environment:
Make sure you have plenty of opportunity to observe classes as you go around. Are the children absorbed, energetic, listless, disorganized? Is the classroom environment uplifting?

4. Assess the Principal:
What's the head of the school like? She or he is crucial to the running of the school and your child's happiness. Staff need the head's support in decisive situations. Look for one respected by pupils and staff and one who gives you time.

5. Assess Academics:
How good is the school academically? By this we mean, how good will it be for your child? Is there a sufficient cohort of children similar to yours in outlook, ability and gender etc doing well enough to provide a consistent supply of role models? Look for popular subjects and enthusiastic children and it'll give you an idea if the teaching is inspirational. Do pupils enjoy working? What are the end results like, both absolute and value-added?

6. Academic Support:
How well is learning supported? Are there crisp systems for monitoring progress, encouraging excellence, responding to underperformance? It needs to be easy and acceptable for a child to ask for help, whether it's keeping up-to-speed in maths or advancing knowledge in a subject.

7. Opportunities:
How good is the school at other things you and your child care about? This will be a personal list ranging from morals to interests. Every school's prospectus is filled with formulistic fluff that amounts to 'We do it all', but how many students actually are a part of some school society or club and what's their standard? Does everyone who wants to play cricket get to be in the school team or only the best? Are children with special needs appreciated or just provided for?

8. Presumptions for Future:
Where do kids go on to after passing out from the school? What higher study choices will they have? How well will their academic background serve them in life and career choice?

9. The Overall Impression:
All sorts of little things might have struck you during your visit to the school and accumulatively created a distinct impression of the school. Give these feelings weight. A school's character is embedded in its staff, its environment and most of all, in its pupils. A rude receptionist or a teacher taking the time out to talk, shows the real spirit of the school.

10. Trust your Judgement:
Most importantly, trust your own judgement. No one, not the teachers or other parents know your child better than you and what you, as a parent, want for your child.