Things to Consider When Looking for a New School

When it comes to sourcing the right school for your child, you'll want to find the one that most suits your child, providing them with the best opportunities. You'll also want to find  one that works well around around your family life. So just how do you get started when it comes to researching and then finally deciding on the right school for your child? I've put together some tips and advice to help you get started! 

school classroom

Ask around
One of the best ways of gaining an idea of whether a school might be right for your child is by asking the parents and children attending that school for their opinions. They are likely to be able to give a truthful account and summary of their experiences which is a great way of finding out how the school functions, how they deal with any problems and whether their child feels happy and settled there. If you have any family and friends with children attending that school currently, asking them to share their thoughts is a great place to start. You can also look at the Ofsted Parent View section of the Ofsted website where parents are able to express their views on a setting.

Internet search
One way of discovering which schools are in your local area is by doing an internet search, for example by typing 'best secondary school in Leicester'.  You can then look at each school's website to see whether it seems like a good option for your child. 

Reports and reviews 
You can access the Ofsted reports for different schools via the Ofsted website or from the school's own website. This will give you a good indication of how the school is performing and what areas they might need to improve on. It is important to be mindful however, that a lot can change in a short space of time for example, the school may have had new leadership so it's definitely worth visiting the school and speaking to the staff. You can also look up newspaper reports of achievements and events that have occurred within the school. This can help you get a good idea of the school's values and successes. 

It's true that sometimes you just get a clear 'feel' for a setting which can only come from visiting and being inside the premises. Always trust your instincts as you know your child best. Visiting the school will give you the opportunity to see how the teachers and children interact, the behaviour of the students and whether it seems like it has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Look out for little details which will give you an idea of how the school is run. For example, do they showcase artwork and awards? Are children encouraged to seek support if they are being bullied or struggling with mental health? You may even spot a vape detector!

The location of the school definitely needs to be considered when you're searching for the right school. Not only do you need to consider whether you live within the catchment area for that school but you'll also need to be mindful of how easy it will be for your child to get to school. Will you be around to do the school runs or will your child need to use public transport, for example? If the school is in walking distance from your home, this can be hugely beneficial and will save lots of time in the morning and afternoon. 

Goals and ambitions
Have a look at whether the school particularly excels in a particular area or whether extra curricular activities are offered. If your child loves sport for example, you may wish to pick a school that has great sporting facilities, promotes and encourages sports and can really help nourish their particular interests. Whatever your child's passion, it's worth looking for a school that can help develop and support their interests, helping them to fly even further in this particular area.

Finding the right school for your child doesn't need to be a stressful experience but by following these top tips you'll be able to narrow down your search in order to find the one that suits your child best. 

*Collaborative post