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What to consider when visiting a secondary school for your child

For those of you who have children starting in year 6, this year is the most important year for your child. They have the SAT’s in 2018, the school will be pushing them to get the most of this final year in primary school and preparing them for secondary school. For parents, one thing on their minds is which secondary school to send the children. It’s time to do the rounds, working out how many schools can you visit in one week, what should you be looking for, etc. Do you know what you should be looking for when you do the visits?

Here is a short list of things to think off during the secondary school visit:
The school
  • How many schools should you look at?: The requirement for secondary school selection is 6 choices. Select a minimum of 3 but try to see 6. Make notes during the visits. If you are planning on seeing a lot of schools, it will help you  remember the important points to each school.
  • Open evening or day visits?: A lot of schools have scheduled open evenings to allow a large number of parents to visit at the same time, but a good way to get an accurate impression of the school is to visit on a normal day. Contact the school ahead of the visit. A good school should be happy to oblige your request.
  • Are the facilitates well maintained?: Look at how well the other areas of the school are maintained; not only the teaching areas but dining hall, toilets, library, play areas, etc.
  • What are the classrooms like?: Go into a classroom and see how the tables ae arranged, what information is displayed on the walls, are the resources well organised, etc.
  • Do teachers know the children by name?: This indicates that the staff see the children as individuals, rather than just results.
  • Does the school have active governing body?:Do they have problems recruiting or do people stay to end of term?
  • How is the security at the school?
The students
  • What progress do students make?: Ask the question, make sure that all students progress at the school.
  • Are the children well presented and polite?: Not only visit during the open evenings but drive by in the morning and afternoons to check out the behaviour of the children on their way into and out of school.
  • How will your child journey to school?: will they walk to school, take a bus or train? How far away the school is to home may influence where they go.
  • What extra-curricular activities does the school offer?: what after school clubs or weekend events does the school do? are there activities  your child would participate in and enjoy?
The school community
  • Does the school have a well-supported, active PTA?: This indicated that the school involves and engage the parents  in the school to build a community.
  • Does the school offer wider curriculum?: For example, will there be an opportunity for your child to develop other skills in areas such as sport, arts or work related learning?
And finally
  • Can you visualise your child in the school?: Will it suit their personality?

There are many things to consider but only you will know the right school, for your child,  when you see it.