How to choose the right school for your child
Independent schools are at the forefront of educational achievement in every way. They are the most academically successful schools and offer excellent teaching, extensive facilities and an astonishing breadth of co-curricular activities.
Over half of ISC pupils’ A levels were graded A/A* in 2015 and over 92% of pupils our schools went on to Higher Education.
Parents choose independent schools because of these high classroom standards but also because of what they offer outside the classroom as well as a highly professional approach to pastoral care.
Teachers provide an education that is attractive to both parents and children. This is because the independence of our schools means they have fewer restrictions and the freedom to focus on each pupil’s individual needs.
With so many great independent schools to choose from and with such strong credentials, here are a few tips on how to make your decision a little easier.
Consider the differing types of school. All independent school have strengths which will suit different children. For very bright children there are a number of highly academic, selective schools. For musical or sporty children, there are schools with excellent facilities which offer professional coaching and encourage pupils to put time into these activities. If your child has special educational needs or a disability, he or she will need specific support and there are many independent schools which offer the best provision in the country for this. Make sure you find out about extra support, specialist staff and appropriate facilities.
Take note of the wealth of co-curricular opportunity available. Involvement in a club or society will almost certainly form an important part of your child’s school experience so it is worth looking at the variety of opportunities available. You’ll find everything from debating to sailing to Combined Cadet Force and all the options will help add to an exciting, broad and stimulating all-round education.
Attend school open days. Because every independent school is different, it is important to attend school open days with your child. These days provide an excellent chance to talk to teachers and existing pupils about what they like about their school. Meeting with the admissions team, registrar or head teacher is also useful. Viewing a school’s inspection reports will also give a good indication of its strengths.
When visiting a school on an open day pay attention to the behavior of pupils – are they happy, polite, respectful, well-presented? Do staff and pupils have a good relationship with one another? Does the school have well maintained facilities? How academic is it? Is it selective or non-selective? Will it cater for your child’s talents in music, drama and sport?
You should come away from any visit to a potential school feeling impressed but at ease.
If you like what you see, arrange an appointment with the head teacher and take it from there. Good luck and enjoy it!
By The Independent Schools Council
Image used from ISC