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So you have now come to that crucial period in time when you have to start to consider which secondary school is best for your child.
Be under no illusions; this is a stressful period for all parents going through the same process. The most important thing to remember here is that you are not alone. Why not ask friends and family members if they have already been through this process before? However, there will be many playground rumours and forums telling you what you should/should not do. Take everything you hear with a pinch of salt and stick to the facts.
Choosing the right secondary school represents a major turning point in your child’s life as this may be the last big decision you will make for your child's school career. Do not forget upon leaving secondary school your child we be a young adult, and will probably be making their own decisions about GCSE/A level subjects, University and career prospects.
There are a number of different ways you can find out information about your local comprehensive and Grammar/Independent schools:
Taster Visits - Firstly, try and find out if the schools you are interested in offer ‘taster visits’. These will allow your children to visit the school during school hours - allowing them to experience what life is like as a student at that school and realise the opportunities that will be available to them.
Parent/child Experiences - Perhaps one of the best ways to get an accurate feel for what life is like at secondary school is to speak directly to both parents and children who are currently attending one of the local schools. Try to gain an insight into what life is like from both a student and parental perspective.
Open Days/Evenings - Open days/evenings are when schools open their doors to the public to showcase their success and achievements so that parents can make an informed decision. We strongly recommend that wherever possible, you take your child along to one of these events as they provide an excellent opportunity for both you and your child to have a sneak peek behind closed doors and to see the range of opportunities, equipment and resources which the school has to offer.
We cannot stress enough, how important it is to take your child along to visit the schools wherever possible. This will give your child an insight into the opportunities available to them in the near future which can be excellent in terms of motivation. Not only that, but it also gives you, as a parent, a chance to mingle with the student body and get a feeling of the ambience of the school. Ask yourself, do you think your child will be comfortable in this environment? Are the pupils well disciplined? Welcoming, polite etc?
The most important thing to remember here is that this decision should be made by both YOURSELF and YOUR CHILD. Please take time to consider: this is where your child will be spending the next 5-7 years of their life; will they be happy here?
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