Our top 12 tips on searching for the right school

Main building

The process of choosing the right school for your child can be difficult, there are so many factors which you as a parent need to consider. And so Mrs Firth, our Assistant Head of Admissions, along with the team Berni and Maddy have created a handy guide to help you and your child along the process. Here they cover what to ask the teaching staff, how Open Days work and how to reduce stress (for both you and your child!) during the interview stage. 

1.Visit Open Days

Visit the open days, this gives the overall feel for a place when it is busy, ask yourself if it gives you a good feeling? When at an open day, make sure you speak to teachers – ask them questions, they are there to help you and give honest feedback. Make sure you take time to understand the ethos and culture of the school, listening to the Head’s talk will be a great indicator into what life is like at that school.

2. Do your research

Take a look at the website and social media for the school, this shows what the school vision is and whether they are doing what they promote. It’s a great insight into school life and what is happening in and around the school.

3. Look closely at the ‘end product’

Speak with the students at the school, do they come across confident, happy, academically curious, ambitious? Do they display the qualities you would like your child to have? Take a look at the destinations page on their website, where do students go on to study after life at the school? It’s important to go through this stage as this is a real indicator of what the school instils in each student.

4. Look at the practicalities

Make sure you look at the practicalities, this may seem boring, but getting your child to and from school everyday is a big logistical plan. Does the school offer a school bus from your area? Is there a public bus? Can they get the train? Will you be dropping them off? Make sure you can physically get there everyday before delving too much into the school.

Copy of 375CHS Thing

5. Consider your child

Your child will have different personalities, needs and interests/strengths to their peers, it is important to understand what your child needs to thrive at school. Ask your child where they see themselves and which aspect of the school they like the best, this gives a good understanding on what is important to them and whether the school has the facilities, support and guidance for your child to thrive at whatever it is they want to do.

6. Don’t be afraid to visit again

Most schools will offer you a personalised tour after open days and a post offer tours for those who are successful in the admissions process. This is a great way to remind yourself of what the school is like and a great indicator to show what life is like on a working day in the school with pupils and teachers.

7. Be up to date on how the school tackles sensitive topics

School isn’t just about learning, it’s a whole host of factors that make up school, including pastoral care. How does each school tackle the important issues children face today in this modern world?

It’s a good idea to talk to the students at the schools you visit, understand their view on the school and how they feel supported. This is a great indicator on whether the school delivers what they preach.

8. Go with your gut

You know your child best and if a place feels right for you and your family, it probably is. Child psychologist Betsy Brown Braun once commented that, as a parent, you are “only as happy as your unhappiest child”, so you have a vested interest in getting it right.


9. Resist being swayed where your child’s friends are going

This is a hard one and fits well with the question above. It needs to feel right for you and your child. Your child may be tempted to pick a school based on where their friends go, but it is important to understand your child will make new friends wherever they go.

10. Beyond the classroom

What does the school offer outside the classroom? Are there a variety of clubs and co-curricular activities for them to take part in, are there ones which your child has never participated in before, if so this could be a great opportunity for them to become interested in something new, and make new friends with similar interests!

Music concert

11. Be honest!

This is especially important when it comes to the 11+ interview stage. Don’t try and predict what you think schools will want to hear, what schools really want to hear is the truth about you and your child. You will gain more out of it and more information if you are truthful about everything.

12. Get involved

Once you have chosen the school, try to get as much involved with the school as much as you possibly can, whether that’s going to events or keeping up to date with their social media, it will help you feel more knowledgeable about life at the school when your child finally does start.

If you want to discover more about what life is like at CHS, arrange a visit and meet our helpful admissions team; contact admission@chschool.co.uk.

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