It’s that time of year when many schools and colleges throw open their doors and welcome families in to explore the facilities and meet the teaching staff.
Whilst it’s important to remember these events are marketing days for schools, the opportunity to visit the school and gage its atmosphere is a vital part of the school selection process.
The open day is the perfect start to your school research. Make sure you follow these tips to get the most of your day:
1) Meet the head. Do they come across as a strong and capable leader? Are they respected by staff and pupils? do they seem in touch with the day to day side of school life?
2) Pay attention to how staff and pupils interact in lessons. Are classes formal or relaxed and which is the better fit for your child? Are all the children engaged? Are they using IT to support teaching? If your child needs learning support are teaching assistants being used successfully?
3) Look around, are belongings stored tidily? Are books, files, school bags out of sight? Are the walls and furniture in good decorative order, does the school appear well looked after?
4) Is your tour guide a student and if so are they smartly turned out? Can they speak confidently to you and are they keen to tell you about their school and its strengths. Don’t be afraid to ask students questions, pupils are often the most honest source of information about a school.
Make notes of what you liked/didn’t like when you get home and if you want to see more contact the admissions staff and arrange an individual visit.
If you have an open day or school tour planned, then our ebook Questions to ask on a School Visit, is the perfect accompaniment to make sure you get as much relevant information as possible from your visit.