It’s that time of year when lots of parents will be thinking about looking at schools for primary aged children ready for them to start next September. It feels like only yesterday I was looking at schools for Amelie and now she’s there!
I thought I would share my top tips for viewing schools and what questions you could ask so you get the best feeling and idea of what the school might be like for your little one.
What Questions To Ask When Viewing a School
- I would personally recommend visiting schools without your children (this could be impossible for some but this is just my own experience). I found I had much more time to look, understand and talk to the teachers/head when I didn’t have a little person with me. As Amelie was quite nervous about starting school I didn’t want her to be put off by our visits and thought it would be better that she saw the school when they did the settling in days which are tailored for her age. This is my personal preference but it’s worked well for us.
- You will have more than likely read OFSTED reports/reviews from local parents. I would say try to put these aside and understand whether the school would suit your child. You’ll get a vibe and a feeling from what you hear and see, I personally think this is more important. Don’t be put off seeing a school as you might be surprised.
- Do consider your closest school. We have loved the school runs and being able to walk and see other families/get to know them. It won’t be possible for every family to walk to school, but we love this sense of community.
- Ask about emotional support as this was key for us with our daughter being a summer born.
- Watch the children in the classrooms and around the school, do they seem happy? Are they busy doing things they love? Do you think your child would fit into that environment?
- Look at the displays and work around the school, do they look current? Are the displays and furnishings in good condition – it will tell you how much the school is looked after.
- Do the teachers look happy? Look at the turnover.
- How do they learn, in reception can they be outside, how do they structure their days? For our daughter, this was key as I knew she’d be happy if she could play/learn outside.
- Ask about morning or after school clubs if you work as some schools have large waiting lists, so you’ll need to put your name on the list asap.
- Does the school provide lunches and what are they like? We have been so pleased with the food at the school so it’s just useful to know what they have and do for little ones.
My biggest advice, once you have all the formalities out of the way would be to go with your gut instinct. You will know your child and know the environment you think they’ll thrive in so you will probably make the right decision!