Top 10 check-points for parents when visiting a potential school.

Years of visiting schools with parents, as well as talking to school admissions teams about applications from our client families, have led us to conclude that the tips below amount to the most important aspects for parents to cover in a visit to a school. There are lots of other areas which you will cover during your visit, depending on the age and interests of your child. However, these are our top 10 that we recommend all families cover during their visit.

1. Meeting the head is crucial. Does their philosophy about education match yours and do they come across as a confident leader and well-respected by current parents?

2. Ask the question, what are the most popular subject choices at GCSE and A Level? Do these strengths in subject areas match the interests of your child?

3. Pop into some classrooms. How are the children relating to the teacher? Do the children appear engaged and enthused? Is there a formal traditional ‘vibe’ or a more relaxed one?

4. Look at noticeboards. Are they full of up-to-date information, pictures and notices about what is going on in school?

5. Ask about the format of the school day and week. Does this fit with your family as a whole? If you are looking for full-boarding, your thoughts on this will be different from a family looking for a day place, with lots of commitments at weekends.

6. Ask about the assessment and reporting to parents. Children respond to regular goal-setting, knowing where they sit amongst peers and you will want the reassurance of regular updates on progress.

7. Ask about sixth form subject options, careers and university preparation. You’ll need to be sure your child will get the right support and advice at this crucial time in their school career. Likewise, in a prep school, ask about destinations of leavers and how the school supports the increasingly complicated pre-test and Common Entrance process.

8. Talk to the children about their school. Do they appear happy and passionate when talking about their school?

9. Ask about the settling in period for new pupils. Are they supported by a buddy system and how are they monitored by pastoral staff?

10. Make your own decision on how the school feels to you on your visit. School gate banter has its place at the start of your school choice journey. However, the final decision should be right for your child, not friends, grandparents or work colleagues!

To ask about our services, delivered by our team of experienced education consultants, giving you the reassurance that you are choosing the right school for your child, please contact us:
Telephone 01865 522066 or email

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