All parents want to ensure that the early life experiences of their child has a positive influence on their growth and development as this will play a major part in their child’s future life choices. It is understandable that as parents we want to provide our children with the best start in life as possible and the process of choosing a primary school can therefore prove to be a stressful time for most parents; after all the primary school experience will be greatly influential in shaping the teenage and adult life of the child.
It would firstly be a good idea to make sure you are aware of the choices that are available for you and you can easily search online on the Directgove website for a list of primary schools in your area. The local authority websites also contain details about the individual schools that you are interested in. These sites can be useful in many ways since they provide you with factual information about the schools, however sometimes it may also be beneficial to speak to local parents about the schools in your area since the insight they can provide you will be from their own individual experiences which is also valuable.
There will clearly be many things relating to your individual needs as a family and certain priorities you may have, which will influence your choice of schools. These choices will vary from family to family and therefore you need to understand that a school that is right for someone else might not necessarily be right for you. There are variations of things which will influence your choices and decisions, for example:
You may want the school to be within walking distance from your home, or you may not mind driving to and from school in which case the close proximity might not be a major issue for you. If both parents are working, sometimes grandparents and other family members tend to help out with the school runs. It might therefore be worth considering the distance from their house to the school, particularly if it is going to be a long term arrangement.
If your child has attended preschool/nursery you may want to consider where their friends are going. Some parents might want to ensure that their child attends the same school as their friends and this would be a major criterion for them however some parents might feel that their child will learn to make new friends and their choice of school may not necessarily be influenced by this.
- Ofsted reports
Ofsted is the body that inspects most schools in terms of their educational standards, quality of teaching and social and cultural development. The reports are available to view online for all the primary schools and this is something that parents may want to consider reviewing when comparing different schools.
- SATS results
The SATS results for the end of ks1 and ks2 can be a useful indication to create an awareness of the way in which the students in the school are performing and for some parents this may be a vital influence for their choices. However we also need to consider that these tests only reflect the performances in English and Maths, which are important subjects, but do not reflect the performances in other subjects such as Art, P.E, Drama, and Music which are also greatly influential in the development of children. Therefore as parents you need to consider how far these results will determine your choices.
These are just a few examples of things that can help you make a decision. Try to further narrow down your search by making the most of school open days where you can explore the school and ask any questions you may have. Ask about their behaviour policies, after all you need to make sure your child attends a disciplined environment with a good balance between rewards for good behaviour and consequences for bad behaviour. What about homework? What lunch options are there? These are all questions you can ask. However the main question which you may want to consider is ‘will my child be happy here?’