Education Eye: Confused over senior school? My top 10 tips...

Catherine Stoker
Catherine Stoker

At this time of year many parents are braving the minefield of researching senior school choices as their child approaches age 11 or 13.

Trawling websites, glossy literature and visiting open days – the plethora of information bombarding parents makes this process tricky.

As time goes on, the fog of confusion seems to thicken and the prospect of arriving at a decision seems further away. Here are my top 10 tips to help parents to come to the right decision.

1. Keep dinner party banter in perspective. Remember there is no one best school that suits all children equally. Treat your child as an individual and form your own judgement as to what feels right for them.

2. Realistically, how bright is your child? You will need to challenge their capabilities, but not to such an extent that they are struggling to keep their head above water.

3. What are their interests, strengths and are there areas of potential weakness needing additional support?

4. Are you looking at state schools or independent or both and what are the merits of each?

5. What location works best in relation to home and work commitments of both parents?

6. If you plan to invest in private education have you considered weekly or full-boarding to extend your school options? Particularly if both parents work, this can be a practical solution where everyone works hard in the week and enjoys quality family time at the weekends.

7. How do you feel about single sex versus co-ed?

8. Depending on your current school, what age will it best suit your child to move?

9. Are you looking for a traditional, structured environment or a more informal one? Will their character suit a large, competitive environment or small and nurturing?

10. How do you feel about siblings attending different schools if they have different interests, capabilities and character?