Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions you can make. There are so many different factors to consider, from the size and location of the school to the facilities and extracurricular activities on offer. Here, we’ll explain what to look for, to ensure you make the right choice when looking for a school for your child.
A good academic background can give your child an excellent start in life. If your child has special educational needs, or if you feel they may need special focus on a particular area, it’s even more important to pay attention to how the different schools on your list might approach and accommodate these individual needs. Find out about the curriculum, which subjects are studied, and how pupils are supported academically (both individually and within the classroom environment), before selecting a school for your child.
Extracurricular activities and facilities
Does your child have a special interest that they would like to pursue? If you have a promising musician or a dedicated athlete in the family, it’s good to know that their talents will be nurtured in their prospective school. Some schools are famously sporty, whilst others might specialise in the arts, so when choosing a school for your child, pay attention to any subject areas in which they excel. Look at the extracurricular activities on offer, and check whether they have facilities like a swimming pool, sports grounds, music studio, library or drama studio.
You’re likely to choose a school that best fits your family. Does the ethos and teaching style of your chosen school reflect your family values? If religion is important to you, you might look to choose a school that underlies and reinforces your own particular faith. You should also consider whether you would prefer your child to attend a single sex school or a mixed establishment.
While your child is at school, they will be cared for in loco parentis by the staff. The school years can be a difficult time for some young people, so it’s important for parents to feel that children are supported and looked after, and any issues like bullying will be quickly and effectively dealt with. When choosing a school for your child, take the time to find out about the school’s approach to pastoral care and visit the school to see for yourself if the pupils seem happy and engaged.
After school provision
We all lead demanding lives and often work commitments make it difficult to fit our busy timetables around the regular school day. Finding the right school for your child will involve choosing somewhere that can fit in with everyone’s schedule. In addition to a convenient location, before and after school provision and holiday clubs are vital for many families, so check what’s on offer at your chosen schools. If you are looking at boarding schools, find out what options there are for flexible boarding.
Fees and bursaries
If you are considering fee-paying schools, financial issues are paramount. As well as comparing annual fees, find out what kind of extras you might need to pay for – uniforms, music lessons and other sundries can quickly add up. Ask the schools about scholarships and bursaries, and whether they have flexible payment options to help you manage the cost of your child’s schooling.
Do your research
Don’t forget to find out as much as you can about the schools you are considering, from different sources. Parental feedback can be really insightful when choosing a school for your child, and visiting the school itself is also vital. Prospectuses offer a great way to compare different schools and weigh up their pros and cons.
Aldwickbury School holds regular Open Mornings throughout the year. Contact the Registrar on 01582 713022 to make an appointment. You can also request a prospectus here.