Top tips for choosing the right secondary school 

Choosing a secondary school can be as daunting for the parents as it is for the child moving up from primary school.  Therefore, with Saturday 31st October marking the deadline for submitting secondary school applications, our Headteacher, Bryn Thomas,  is offering parents his top tips on how to make the right decision.

With the vast amount of data available, parents are now more informed than ever when it comes to choosing a secondary school and don’t just settle for the ‘one down the road’, as Bryn Thomas explains, “League tables and reports pitting schools’ successes and failures against each other are easily accessible, so now parents can be more methodical about how they approach choosing a secondary school for their son or daughter.  However, this does mean that sometimes important aspects, such as enrichment opportunities and the way teachers and students interact are overlooked.

“Therefore, I hope my tips give parents an idea of the important things to look out for to ensure their child receives the best secondary school experience for them.”

Don’t just read the Ofsted report

Whilst Ofsted reports are a good place to start, they won’t necessarily tell the whole story.  Bryn comments, “Parents will not get a good picture of a school by deciding whether to apply or not purely on a ‘requires improvement’ or a ‘good’ judgement.  Ofsted reports are important, but parents should always delve deeper.”

Visit the school

Bryn Thomas always recommends visiting a school to get a feel for the whole environment, “All schools will hold open days and evenings for the chance to have a tour and meet current students and teachers. However, parents shouldn’t fret if they are unable to attend, as schools should also be happy to arrange a private visit for parents and prospective students where necessary.

“During a visit speak to the students and ask questions to find out how enthusiastic they are about their education – this is always a telltale sign.  The same goes for the teachers; do they seem passionate and animated about the school?” 

Ignore hearsay

“Unfortunately there is a lot of hearsay with secondary schools,” added Bryn. “Some parents will discount a school purely on preconceived ideas, when in fact it could be the perfect choice for their son or daughter.  This again comes down to making sure parents pay a visit to get a feel for the atmosphere instead of taking it at face value.”

What does the child think?

Finally Bryn Thomas recommends parents listen to their child, “Ultimately, what every parent wants is for their child to be happy at school, so I would always suggest that parents ask their son or daughter what they think. Do they have a good feel about a school?  Do they think they will settle in easily?  Are any of their primary school friends applying to the same school and does this matter to them?  These are important questions to ask and shouldn’t be discounted.”

Parents who would like a private tour of our school with Bryn Thomas can contact us on 01562 859800.

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