There comes a point when every parent goes through the process to find a school for their child. It can be a difficult process – you might have a different opinion on choice of schools than your child; you may be moving to a new area; or you may be looking at an independent, fee paying school for your child. Whatever the scenario, help is on hand to ensure you find the right school where your child is happy.
So we have put together some general advice to help you not just find a school, but to find the right school.
Moving area – finding a school in an area you are not familiar with can be very tricky, especially given the amount of assistance given by existing primary schools to get their pupils into the right secondary school. The best place to begin is by making a shortlist of schools in the area you are moving to, you can do a postcode search here. Once you have your list, contact them and find out when they are open for you to go and visit. The whole process can then be broken down into a simple, enjoyable exercise for you and your child.
Find an independent school – if you are looking for an independent school for your child then your options will become much narrower. Outside of major towns and cities there are often only a handful of independent, fee paying schools to choose from and you may already know what these are. Independent schools will always have open days or open evenings where you can call in and take a look around to see if it is right for you. As they are fewer in number, it is likely you will need to use the school’s transport service to get your child to and from school each day, so check where this stops and picks up in relation to your home.
Find a school with good OFSTED ratings – OFSTED ratings work on a numbered rating from 1 to 4, with 1 being the best (Outstanding) and 4 being the worst (Needs improvement). A school in category 4 will sometimes be put in what is known as Special Measures, meaning it has outside assistance from the local authority to try to improve, and the senior management team can be replaced if they are deemed to be ineffective. Whatever the scenario, every schools’ OFSTED rating is published online and can be viewed for free, so always go and take a look to find out more and use them to help you find a school.
Find a school your child is in disagreement with – quite often you will have a differing opinion than your child’s. This will almost certainly be the case when you come to find a school for them. They may favour a school where their friends go, or which has the best sports team, or is nearest your home, whereas these may be the schools with the worst OFSTED ratings, or the worst transport links, which you (rather more sensibly!) deem less adequate.
Finding a school is often a very simple process but for some there are a few more hurdles to overcome. When there are, help is at hand from a variety of sources to make sure you find a school your child is happy at.
LocalSecondarySchools.com is the largest database of secondary schools in the UK. Contact data, directions, OFSTED reports and parent reviews are all available for all secondary schools making it easy to find a secondary school.