When you started school, the chances are that your parents chose your school either because it was nearby or because they attended the school. But now we’re overwhelmed with the many choices.
What choices do you have?
The local public school is undoubtedly the most inexpensive option and can offer a number of other benefits.
For children who are achieving academic excellence, an independent or private school can be the preferred option. Children apply and sit a test and often have an interview after meeting specific criteria. If your child has a talent for dancing, drama or music a performing arts school could be option. In these schools children may have to submit an application form and audition to be accepted.
Private schooling is expensive, so it’s important that you get all the figures before making the commitment. The fees are often only the start – so make sure you’ve budgeted for uniforms, textbooks and extracurricular activities. Remember that there may be bursaries and scholarships available at some schools and that you would need to apply early.
What about choosing a religious school?
You may want a school based on Christian values or another religion; these schools offer moral guidance that appeal to some parents.
What should you look for in a school?
Talk to your child about what they want from their school – and do plenty of research into what’s available in your area. You’ll want to find a balance between academia, interests, affordability and accessibility. Consider the other children attending the school and what types of friendship they may offer as well.
Drive past the schools at lunchtime and before and after school. Do the teachers and pupils appear happy? Speak to your friends and see what they say.
Start looking into which school is right for your child long before you need to. Attend any open days and ask the following questions of the school’s you’re interested in:
- What facilities are available?
- Does the school seem well-maintained and inviting?
- How many children attend this school and how many children are there in each class?
- Are there programmes for special needs e.g. for challenged or gifted pupils?
- What kind of extra-curricular activities are on offer?
- What are the school’s academic results?
- What is the discipline like?
- Are there specialist teachers available?
- How is technology used?