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School Applications - Choosing a School

With the deadline for primary and secondary school applications fast approaching; we visit the second in a series of five articles where Sophie Britten, a trainee solicitor in the Education Law team shares some top tips about the application process.

In completing the application form to apply for your child to attend primary or secondary school you are able to list  a number of school choices where you would be happy for your child to attend. Knowing which school to chose can be a daunting process for parents because of the importance it will have on a child’s future.

Research

Dedicating some time in advance of the application process to research a number of different schools would be a good starting point when deciding where you would like your child to go to school; we would suggest that you start this process a year before your child is due to start school or move schools to ensure that this process is not rushed and is well thought out.

It is really easy to focus solely on the academic results of a school however it is also important you consider the school as a whole and what it may offer specifically to your child. For example, it may be clear at an early age that a child is excelling in a particular subject. You may wish to research local schools that offer extracurricular activities in relation to this subject. Alternatively, if your child may struggle with classroom learning, you may wish to seek out schools that offer a greater number of teaching assistants so your child has more access to support.

When considering the school as a whole, it is important to consider the most recent Ofsted report and even look back over the reports of the last two or three years. This will give you accurate information of where the school is succeeding and where there may be need for improvement. This is particularly important if you are specifically looking at a school because they provide a certain subject.

A key thing to remember is not to rely solely on what others say about their experiences of a particular school. It is important that you are confident you have chosen the right school for your child, for the right reasons. You should consider reading the school prospectus in detail and looking at the schools website. This will provide the schools ethos and values together with the academic timetable. This will provide great insight into the general day to day running of that school.

In the event that you find yourself undecided, the Department of Education website can offer a comparison of different schools in your local area. This is an incredibly helpful tool and allows parents the ability to focus on their child’s requirements. The link to this tool is here.

Top Tips:-

  1. What is important to your child and you when considering their education?
  2. Does your child have any particular needs or do they excel in any area of study? If so, does the school you are considering provide for this?
  3. Do the research yourself; don’t rely on others to choose your child’s school.

Article written by Sophie Britten

If you are applying for a school place for your child and require assistance or further advice, contact our Education Law department on 0808 168 5550.

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