It is Open Day season; School gates countrywide are poised to welcome a new wave of applicants. Whether this is your first foray in to the world of blackboards and playgrounds since your own school days, or your child is in their final years at primary school and you are looking ahead at next steps, chances are you will be searching for some practical advice to assist you in narrowing your selection in order to find ‘The One’. Sometimes choosing a school for your child is as easy as geography – the one closest to home is the right one; this is not always the case.
First and foremost, when choosing the right school for your child it is worth noting that there are other factors aside from academic study that are significant if your child is to flourish during his or her next stage of education; some subtle factors that can often be overlooked.
A good starting point is to peruse school websites. The way in which a school describes itself can be a very useful indicator as to whether the school is right for your child. A simple sentence can say so much. ‘A friendly and spirited community’; ‘Excellent academic standards’; ‘Nurturing a love of learning’; ‘Individual attention is at the very heart of our educational philosophy’; Which one speaks to you most?
Trust your instincts. There is as much school choice for a four year old as there is for an eleven year old with each school boasting a ‘usp’. You know your child better than anyone else and the predominant question you need to ask yourself, when having to make a choice, is whether your child will be happy; the fact is, happy children learn, whether they are eleven or eighteen.
Finally, there is only so much that a prospectus and school website can portray; one needs to experience the intangible side of what a school offers. There is no substitute for visiting a school; the trick is, however, to look past the Head’s presentation to uncover what the school is really like. Most schools will hold open days and some will allow parents to visit during the normal school day. Make time to go. When you do go, speak to the children. Talk to them about their experience. Children will talk from their perspective and tend to be honest in what they say.
At Wandsworth Prep, we appreciate how difficult a decision it may be to choose the right school for your child and understand that this can be somewhat of an illusion for some. Wandsworth Prep is a Prep School and preparing children for the vital next step in their education is at the forefront of our minds. In order to ensure that your eleven year olds leave us at the end of Year 6 destined for a happy and successful future, ready to develop in to well-balanced 18-year-olds, prepared to go out into the wider world, we work hand in hand with you. Just as we do not underestimate the enormity of a decision it takes to entrust us with your child’s education, we place as much emphasis on the first step is as we do on the last.