Choosing The Right School For Your Child

 

Which Schools Should I Apply To?

 

Choosing the right school for your children can be an incredibly daunting task; your decision will dictate where your child will learn, grow, socialise and develop for the foreseeable future. If you begin the selective process early, and include your child in the research, you can take some of the stress out of the situation and feel more confident in your decision. Here are three simple steps you can take to aid in the process:

 

Step 1 – Write out a long list of potential schools

 

The best way to kick start the process is to form an indiscriminate list of schools that are either within the maximum journey time that you wish your child to make (90 minutes seems to be the average benchmark among parents) or schools that you are happy for your child to board at. Speak to friends, teachers and parents about schools they have considered – you may find some great choices you have not yet heard of. Once you have built this list, it will be much easier working through each school until you are in a position to create a shortlist.

 

At this point, it is useful to browse at the league tables and Ofsted reports of each school on the list. The league tables serve as a decent outline of a school’s academic achievements, but they should most definitely not be the final say in making choices. Schools often change rank each year and some schools opt out of appearing in them. Ofsted reports are a much more reliable guide for a school’s standing. They have insightful summaries of each school and full reports which offer detailed information on all aspects of school-life. Try to decide what is important to you, as a parent, when selecting where you would like your child to attend.

 

Step 2 – Work with your child

 

It is of the utmost importance that you include your child in the selection process for their secondary schools. Not only will it push you further towards a suitable shortlist, it will also motivate your child to work harder in preparation for the schools’ exams and allow them to come across in the best way during their interviews.

 

It is best to first focus on the social aspect of schooling when looking at schools with your child. Will they do better at a smaller, contained school or a larger, more social one? Is your child more suited to a single-sex school or a mixed one? Where are all your child’s friends from their current school going? Is there a particular learning ethos that you and your child connect with more than others? These are all questions to consider when examining schools with your child; and should further shorten your list.

 

Next, you should evaluate your child’s strengths and weaknesses – assessing their suitability to the schools on your list. You will need to consider whether certain schools provide  the specialist facilities that will cater to your child’s strengths in both academia and extra-curricular activities. By doing this you may find scholarships and bursaries which your are eligible for – further influencing your choices.

 

Step 3 – Finalising your shortlist

 

By working with your child and figuring out what you deem as important in secondary education, you should have a clearer picture of your prospective schools. Once you have assessed whether you meet the admissions criteria for each schools, you should have been able to shorten your initial indiscriminate list into a neat shortlist of a maximum of 10 schools. You now have to undertake the task of ranking them in order of preference. Visiting the schools on their open days (Grammar School dates are available on this website) is a sure means of influencing your preference. You have the chance to physically examine the school and its facilities, a chance to encounter pupils and teachers at the school and an opportunity to ask any questions you may have to either the Headteacher or Admissions Officers.

 

Once you have viewed the schools individually, it will be clear which call out to you. It is important you trust your instinct when finalising your ranked shortlist. Different schools fit different students – only you and your child know which will be the best fit for you.

 

If you have any other questions or queries regarding entry into London Grammar Schools, or need help/advice on choosing the right school for your child, feel free to call us on 0207 384 2792 or email info@11pluslondon.co.uk