School is arguably one of the most important times of a child’s life! Years in school are transformative. It’s the moment our children learn how to socialise and have conversations with other children. It’s a time where they learn to support each other, work with each other and develop their own interests. This is why choosing the right school for them is imperative to their happiness and progress!
So, where do you begin when it comes to choosing a primary or prep school for your little one?
The Logistics – Catchment Area
The logistics of choosing a school will be the thing to think about. Catchment area, Ofsted reports, stats and leagues tables are usually the first pieces of information that parents rush to find out.
A catchment area is where a school has a defined geographical area from which they will accept applications. Parents might choose to take schools and catchment areas into consideration when they are moving to a new house. But what if you want to apply for a school in a different area? That is allowed, but it is at the school’s discretion whether they accept outside their catchment area and what the criteria is for that acceptance. It is recommended you apply to more than one school to ensure you receive a place in a school, in case your first choice is over subscribed.
Independent schools are inspected by ISI and reports will be found on the school website.
Will My Child be Happy?
The most important question to ask yourself when choosing a school for your child is “will they be happy here?” And that really is the most important question. If your child is happy, they are much more likely to want to learn and want to engage with school, not to mention how it affects children mentally and physically if they are unhappy. Speak to your child, ask them what they want, what they enjoy and what is important to them, and then make a guided, realistic decision based on their answers. When it is time to visit the schools that you have considered, trust your gut instinct. Is there an uncomfortable feeling? Do you get a bad vibe? Take everything into consideration to ensure your child’s wellbeing.
Have a Look Around
Visit your chosen schools and learn as much as you can about them. Having a guided tour can be of real help as you get to ask any questions that pop into your head when you’re walking around. You also will ideally get to meet the teachers and get to know some of their ethos towards teaching. Seeing the classrooms and the facilities such as the library or sports hall will give you a good idea as to where the school’s priorities are.
Here at St Peter’s pre prep, Devon, we want your children to be happy, healthy and successful. Book a visit with us! If your children are already in school – have a look at our tips for getting back into the school routine.