Advice For Parents: Finding The Right Primary School For Your Child

Where does the time go? It seems no time at all since your baby started walking. And now he or she is off to school. It’s a big step for both of you and one of your first milestones. Finding the right primary school for your child is a daunting task for parents.

Pre-primary is the first year of compulsory school for children, though some may be enrolled in kindergarten already. Every child is guaranteed a place at their local school. However, you can still apply to a school outside of your locality.

Information Gathering

The first step is to gather as much information as possible about the schools in your area. Look through as much data as you can, including academic ranking. This will provide you with the stats. However, word of mouth recommendations are invaluable. It’s hard to record every parameter with numbers. Some things, such as happiness, self-confidence, etc., cannot be measured. Not everything can be plotted on a graph. So it’s important to talk to friends and family. Ask them about their children’s schools and what their thoughts are. If possible, speak to their children too. Ask them about what they do in school and whether they enjoy it.

When you have begun to narrow down your options you can look into those schools in a bit more detail. Start with their websites and consider the following:

  • What are your first impressions?
  • What picture of the school do you take away with you?
  • Was there anything that really stood out?
  • What is their unique selling point?
  • What do you think they can offer your child?
  • What policies do they have in place on things like bullying and inclusion?
  • What extra curricular activities are offered?

Another consideration is whether to look at state or private primary schools. This is a very personal choice and will depend on your family’s circumstances. Both types have much to offer. Though, private schools are usually associated with higher grades and a better standard of education. It is important to look at both options and decide which would be best for your child. And how you can help them succeed.

Visit The Schools

Once you have gathered your information, the next step is to visit the schools you’re considering. Enroll for one of their open days or give them a call. Walking around a school and speaking to teachers and students will help you get a feel for the place. It will help you to work out whether it will be a good fit for your child.

Put together a list of questions before you visit, so you don’t forget anything. Starting school is a big step and a daunting time for children. So it’s a good idea to ask how staff help new students to settle in. What do they do if they seem lost or unhappy? How do they help to reassure them?

Also ask about class sizes and how many teaching assistants they have. This will give you an idea of the learning environment.

Some schools carry out parent surveys. If this is available, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy. It may fill in some of the blanks for you.

Other factors will be personal to you, such as whether there are morning and after-school clubs available, etc.

Choosing a school is a serious task and one that is very personal to your family. Gather as much information in the early stages as possible, to narrow down your choices. A visit to the school will then help you determine the best choice for you and your child.

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