How do you pick the best school for your child?

Most people spend about 2500 days of their life in school, so it is important to choose the right one.

So, when time comes to choosing a school, parents should remember they are looking for a school for their child and not for themselves. “Parents and schools need to recognise it’s the child who will be attending the school and not the parents”.

The best schools are the schools that have a student-centred approach, not a parent-centred approach or a school-centred approach. It’s the student’s experience that matters.

All parents and prospective students need to look beyond a school’s “impressive achievements” and look at its emotional tone.

That is, the school is interested in the individual students! Parents and kids need to know that they are not special, they are just as important – and just as un-important – as one another.

Being student-centred doesn’t mean giving the student everything they want, it just means they look at the whole child. No matter which school, education is about relationships, not about marks. A student who has a good relationship with their teacher, fellow students and the school itself will have a better experience.

It is important for the student to feel in tune with the school, not feel like a square peg in a round hole. They need to feel there are people there who understand them.

The most important thing for a parent to consider when they attend an open day is ‘if it were me, would I like to go to this school?’

It is well documented that kids learn best when they are having fun, when they are engaged. If you go to a school and everything is technically brilliant, but no one looks like they are enjoying themselves, be worried.

And “transparency” is a good indication of a school’s “confidence in itself.” We should like schools which welcome you to come any old time and take a look around, not just on a designated open day.

Look for a school that is open and honest. If you look for a school that is perfect for your child, you won’t find it.”

No school is perfect and you wouldn’t want it to be because in real life, things aren’t perfect. Look for a school that has a sensible approach to the children, the way they learn and their abilities.

Children don’t learn in the same way. No one size fits all. Children learn best when they are engaged and best learning takes place in a fear-free environment. A great school is not about great facilities.

“All the research says the quality of the teaching staff makes the biggest difference to students’ learning.”

A good school has a pragmatic approach to school-life and encourages resilience.

A lot of leaders say there is a tendency for parents to rush in and rescue their children when a difficulty arises. Some people whip their child out of one school and into another as soon as something goes wrong and then out of that one and into another when something else happens. That’s not good for resilience.

Instead, we need to help kids learn to deal with problems and overcome them.

There is a real world out there – there are difficult bosses and nasty colleagues. You don’t want your child to be in a cult-like environment where everything is perfect and nothing goes wrong.

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