Making the Right Secondary School Choice

blackbird

It’s time to make that BIG decision. With the date for closing of applications drawing near for secondary school admissions, how do you know you are making the right choice?

We were in this dilemma last year and I can tell you, it’s a tough one.

Private, State or Grammar – This is a tough choice as it all comes down to capability and well…money. You need to apply for places in private and grammar schools and sit entrance tests. The entrance tests are competitive and your child will need to study for them. Make sure you are making the right decision. It doesn’t end with the tests as grammar schools have a very stringent curriculum and your child will have to keep up. Don’t push her into something she is not  ready to do.

In applying for secondary schools last year, I learnt a few things.

Here are my tops tip on making Secondary School Choices

  1. There are OPEN evenings for a reason. Go to them and ask questions. Don’t be embarrassed to ask what seems ridiculous. It’s your child and you know her better than anyone else.
  2. Make your child a part of the process. Make sure she attends the school open days with you. Let her ask questions if she likes as well.
  3. Keep the lines of communication open – Talk about the schools and the choices you are making. You may like one school while your child may like another. Put forward both reasons of argument.
  4. Check the school reports – Although I don’t really recommend this as making it a basis of your choice, you need to check reports about teaching in general and results. If your child is an achiever she will be an achiever anywhere.
  5. Check the after school and extra curricular activities – they are just as important for all round development of your child.
  6. Proximity to home – Your child will probably be making her own way to school so check that it’s convenient. I know we went for a school that is quite a way away but it involves a direct bus and it’s easy to get to.
  7. You have 6 choices to put down. Use them all. I know of a friend who put one school down, didn’t get it and landed up getting a not-so-great school for her child.
  8. You can change your mind until you submit your forms to the LEA. Use the time given. Don’t be in a hurry to submit. You may have a school at the top of the list and then come to know something that may make you change your mind. Don’t submit until you are really sure. (keeping within the closing date of course)
  9. Talk to other mums who have children in the school. Most mums in primary school will have children attending secondary. Talk to them and find out about the school, behaviour, system of learning and homework.
  10. Check for requirements for individual schools and make sure your application is complete. Church schools require additional forms to be submitted directly to schools.
  11. Choose a school that you know your daughter will fit into – if she’s into sport, check for the sporting opportunities; if she’s into arts check for a school that strong arts focus. It’s no point putting her into a Maths focussed school.

The transition from primary to secondary is huge and you need to make sure that your child will be happy and thrive in the school environment.

All you can do is hope that the school you have chosen will be the best for her(and that you get it) and then it’s up to you to help her make the most of it.

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