Choosing a secondary school is a big milestone for both parents and youngsters. As your child starts their last year at primary school, now is the time to start considering the final stage of their compulsory education.
It is important to thoroughly research all of the options available to you so you find the best place for your son or daughter.You will want a school where they are encouraged to achieve and reach their full potential.
Councils allow parents to make up to six preferences of schools, depending on where you live, with the final decision made according to the criteria set by the local authority, or individual schools.Although this can feel like a lot of pressure, how you end up choosing your secondary school preferences will probably be very similar to how you found your child’s first school – with some of the same factors influencing your decision.
And remember – getting this next step right can help them on the way later in life and in their future careers.
You might be wondering whether you want a community school or an academy? Do you want to pay for a private education or send your child to a grammar school?
During this important decision process you will be looking at schools to see what teaching and sports facilities they offer pupils.
You will no doubt also be examining the results they go on to achieve, as well as the support offered inside and outside of the classroom.
Schools will soon begin holding open days giving you the chance to have a proper look around and allow your child to get a feel for the place.
Now they are older, they will probably have views on where they want to go, which you will no doubt want to take into consideration.
More than likely they will want to go where their friends are going. While this probably shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing a school, if your child struggles to make friends and you think they will find it difficult going alone then it can be a worthy consideration.
Proximity will always come in to play as nearly all schools will use this as one of the main criteria when considering applications.
So you might have a certain school as number one on your preference list but it will depend on how many other parents have applied and how close they are to its gates.
Having siblings at the school already will also give applications extra weight.
This means it’s essential to research your options well – so if you miss out on your preferred choice you will be well-informed on the others.
This guide will give you information on the different types of schools as well as the application and appeals processes.
It will explain Ofsted reports and league tables to help you make an informed decision and provide answers to some of your questions to help you through the whole process.
There is also advice on how to help your child settle in after they make the move to big school – as well as looking ahead to later stages in their education.