Moving house can be a stressful experience, especially for your children. Having the tools to research schools near your new home before you move can help make the process easier for everyone.
School is much more than a place of academic learning for your children. Its where they practice social interaction, make friends and learn how to deal with people who are different from themselves, where they develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world, and where they discover and develop their talents. School also has a key role in teaching right from wrong and in forming your childs core values and attitudes that they'll take through life.
Each school offers a different blend of pastoral care, academic achievement and preparation for life, depending on its leadership, its teachers, its culture and history and the profile of its students. So when considering where to move house its important to do your homework on prospective schools.
There's no substitute for visiting schools and meeting parents for an honest appraisal, but if you're considering a number of potential locations how do you make choosing a school a manageable task?
Three steps worth considering:
1. Work out your priorities
Ask yourself some questions before you start, so you're clear whats important to you:
Would your child be happier and more confident in a smaller or larger school?
Do you think a single-sex or co-ed school will be better for your child?
How much weight will you give to independent inspectors view of the schools?
What are the key academic criteria important for your child? For example for the Primary phase, that might be:
- none at all, you may feel its too early for that and your child feeling safe and being happy are much more important
- the proportion of students attaining Level 4, the Governments expected standard in numeracy and literacy, in Key Stage 2 tests
- if you think your child is particularly able, the proportion attaining Level 5+
- value-added scores– these show the relative progress students make from 7 to 11, taking into account socio-economic factors that might have an impact on attainment
What are the key academic criteria important for your child? For example for the Secondary phase, that might be:
- the proportion achieving 5 good GCSEs and/or 3 A-Levels
- the average points score per pupil in their GCSE and A-Level exams
- value-added scores, showing the relative progress students make
If your child has one or more special educational needs, how well will those be met?
How important is the profile of the other children at the school?
Is the inspectors view of the quality of teaching or class size more important?
Can you afford or do you want to pay for their education?