If you have a primary-aged child, you will probably be looking at your options for secondary school. And whether you’re at the very beginning of this journey, or still looking for a place for September 2019, here is some useful advice to help you navigate those all-important Open Days.
Take a good look at the welcome
How were you welcomed when you arrived? Was there someone there to greet you and were they warm and inviting? The strength of welcome often tells you a lot about the culture of the school and whether parents are actively encouraged to be involved, or not.
Ask lots of questions
It might sound obvious, but make sure you quiz the pupil or pupils showing you around. Ask them how they are assessed – as well as the subjects they enjoy and why. Ask them what it’s really like at the school and whether they feel happy, secure and part of a community.
Bring your child with you
By doing so, you can gauge whether the environments is one within which your child will thrive. Fundamentally, it’s about finding the right match for your child and whether they get a good ‘feel’ for the place is really important.
Listen carefully to the Head’s welcome speech
Is the school taking a whole-child approach or is it just about academic achievement? What does the emphasis seem to be on? What one family is looking for can be very different to what another is – the Head’s speech can tell you a lot about the culture and values of the school.
And then ask searching questions
If you have an opportunity to speak with teachers (you should), ask them questions about their subject area and about progress. How is progress measured and what strategies have they got to ensure that children learn and achieve well? How does the school ensure that children’s mental health is looked after and how are any incidences of bullying dealt with?
Take a good look at the staff
Good leadership is key, but it’s teachers who’ll have the most day-to-day impact on your child. Are they warm and welcoming? Ask questions and gauge the reaction. Do they appear interested and attentive? Do they engage with your child or is all the conversation directed toward you. Your child should feel excited and inspired!
Book a private visit. Be prepared with any questions you didn’t have the opportunity to ask at the open event and spend some time looking at as many areas of the school you can. If you haven’t seen it before, ask to see the dining areas and ask questions about the food!
Upcoming Open days in Surrey
Below is a list of schools in the area with links to their upcoming Open Days. We hope you find this helpful!