Discover what options are open to you when finding a school to suit your child. There are many schools in the UK; these tips will help you to look for the best education for your child.
Which school would suit you and your child?
• Do some research. Don’t just presume your nearest school is your only option.
• Don’t be afraid to enquire direct to each school about tours and open days.
• Consider what your child is like – sociable, sporty, creative, musical? This can help you focus on primary or secondary schools which have facilities and particular learning sessions that enhance these interests.
• Consider your child’s needs – whether your child has physical or mental needs that demand specialist attention or is what is considered ‘gifted and talented’, local schools must provide for the whole spectrum of abilities.
• Visit the website for Ofsted who inspect all schools in England and publish their findings. Here you can find the most recent reports concerning schools you are considering.
Applying to a school for your child
• Make sure you know what the key application dates are for your local area, missing deadlines can mean you miss out on your first choice.
• Go to the education section on your local council’s website and you will find detailed advice about when and how to apply for schools in your area, for all ages from Reception Year (age 4) up. They can also advise you about distances from your address to nearest schools.
• Do your research two years before a change of school to allow time to check options and the council’s long application processing period.
• Your local council can advise you regarding faith schools which might have particular admission policies.
Other types of schools
• If you want to apply to a ‘free school’ or direct to a private school, check out their websites as each establishment will have its own specific process.
• It is advisable to plan a few years ahead in case your child needs to go through any preparatory education before joining a particular private school. This includes under-4s education.
• For more about considering private education, go to the website of the Independent Schools Council.
Don’t panic! League tables only tell half the story. The personal experiences of other families will give you the best idea of whether a school is right for your child or not.
Pass it on – get the right answers from school
Useful tips about How to talk to your child’s school.