How to choose the right school for your child...
As a parent, choosing a secondary school is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make and it can be challenging, not least because there's a wide variety of schools available, nowadays.
By and large, the first major choice is "state or private" – admissions for the former being co-ordinated by local authorities, while the latter handle this process themselves.
Just as importantly, however, you need to consider your child's personality, how they might fit into a certain type of establishment and their opinions on where they think their needs will best be met.
You may not entirely agree with their choice, but it's important to remember that they are the one who will be attending the school – and for a good few years to come.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
So they must feel confident that they'll fit in, be happy there and make friends, especially if the friends at their current primary school will be going elsewhere.
Equally well worth considering are any specific subjects they enjoy – such as languages, maths or music – as there may be a school locally that's able to develop these interests.
For example, there are specialist schools that focus on one type of subject while still following the National Curriculum.
And if your child is particularly bright or has special needs, it's important to choose a school that's able to give them the relevant support.
Once you've made a decision on the type of school you're looking for, you clearly need to do your homework on the establishments available to you.
This is where your local authority can help with information on those in your area and information such as admission criteria, number of applications received each year and number of students.
For details of independent schools, contact the Independent Schools Council (ISC) – www.isc.co.uk
Once you've drawn up a list of suitable schools, obtain a prospectus from each one to gain information on issues such ad policies, facilities and admissions procedures.
Of course, one of your main considerations is how well the school is able to support your child's academic development, so you'll want to know about its current levels of success.
Achievement and Attainment Tables for schools and colleges are produced every year by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). These list National Curriculum test results for every school and can give you an indication of how well each school or college is doing.
An Ofsted report is also available for every school in the country, covering the standard of teaching and pupil achievement.
Independent schools are similarly inspected – either by Ofsted or by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
Full reports for state-maintained and independent schools can be found on the websites for Ofsted (www.ofsted.gov.uk) and ISI (www.isi.net).
Finally, visit each school, talking to staff and taking a look at the work completed by the students. You can learn a great deal by observing how well students and teachers work together.