With the deadline for primary and secondary school applications fast approaching; we visit the third in a series of five articles where Sophie Britten, a trainee solicitor in the Education Law Team shares some tips about the application process.
Having now done your research and shortlisted your preferred options, you may wish to go and view some of the schools. This can be done by either phoning the school to arrange a visit, or find out if they have an open day that you can attend. Open days may not be a true reflection of the school on an average day and will always show the school at its best, but it will give you a flavour of what goes on there. An open day is your chance to get a feel for the school, inspect the facilities and chat with pupils and staff
It’s useful to visit more than one school, even if you think you have your heart set on one in particular, so that you are able to compare and contrast. Ultimately, by visiting the schools you can work out which one will be the best for your child and whether the school should be listed in your application.
You may wish to take your child along with you for a visit or even arrange a follow up visit with your child if you believe the school may be suitable for them.
What kind of things should you look for when you arrive at a school for a visit/open day?
You might want to consider some of the following:
- How friendly was your welcome at reception? Are the office staff helpful?
- On your tour of the school were you shown around the whole site, and not just your child’s prospective classroom? What was the general appearance/ atmosphere?
- If you are not being shown round by the Head Teacher, you should at least have the opportunity to speak to them at some point during your visit and have the opportunity to ask some questions.
- What are the classrooms like? Are they cramped? Are the wall displays up to date?
- What food services are available? Is there a school canteen or are meals delivered in?
- What are the medical facilities on site? Is there access to other professionals if needed? If you need before or after school child care ensure to ask about the wrap around care available. Are there any after-school activities? Who gets to attend? How often a week?
Don’t forget that you know your child the best and will know whether a school can offer the right type of teaching for your child. Remember to ask yourself if your child would be happy at the school you chose?
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.