Choosing the Right School for Your Child
We all want the very best for our kids and we are all acutely aware of how important their education is, as well as what difference a good or bad school can make to a child’s future. Consequently, parents all over Britain have to, at some point, navigate the intricacies of our education system and try and find a good school nearby. It is not uncommon for parents to relocate their entire family in order to be in the catchment area of a suitable school. Not only do parents have to find the right school they also have to decide between public and private education.
The issues of which education system produces the best results for children and for society is one that is constantly being debated up and down the country and with such passionate arguments being flung so freely between each side, it’s easy to see why parents are confused about which is right for their child. There are numerous misconceptions about both systems. Ultimately, the right school for your child will come down to them as an individual, so below is a quick guide to help you and your child decide on the right school for them.
Public or Private?
It is best to work out, first of all, which system, public or private, you think is best for your child. It is OK to be open to both options. Obviously, this will give you more choice down the line. Private schools charge tuition fees and this limits who they are open to. There is no simple answer as to which system is better; both have their advantages and disadvantages and children can succeed in both systems.
Once you’ve decided what the parameters of your school search are, it’s time to begin looking! Generally, it is important to be within the catchment area of your desired school, for private schools this is sometimes less important but for state schools, it is often hard to get a place in a school that you aren’t in the catchment area for. If for example, you are looking for a private school in north London such as Salcombe Preparatory School then you can use the official online London school atlas to find schools near you.
If it is very important to you and or your child that they get into a particular school, then you might have to consider relocating. Whether this is viable is obviously dependent upon your individual circumstances, but it can sometimes make the difference between securing a place or not.
Once you have identified a shortlist of potential schools then you need to evaluate them. The internet is an excellent tool for this and by searching for the school name and words such as ‘review’ or ‘experience’ you can find links to online discussions about the school. It is also worth checking the Ofsted website.
However, in the last couple-of-years there has been a big increase in parents choosing to home school their children. Reasons can be due to a lack of school choice, unmet special educational needs, which can lead to parents making the decision to homeschool a special needs child. There are also the "rigour and limits" of the current school curriculum, and pressure from the school on families etc,.
Choosing a school or choosing to home school your child is often a stressful experience and it is natural for parents to keep worrying right up until they know that their child is settling in well. We all want the very best for our children, particularly where their education is concerned. Do as much research as you can beforehand and you will be able to make the most informed choice that you can.