There are a few tips below to help you prepare before you visit the schools fair, so you can make the most use of your time spent on the day of the event.
Prepare a list of questions that you might like to ask each of the schools when you visit their stand. You can find an article on the website with a list of suggested questions for when you make visits to schools, and this list will be of equal assistance here. Make sure you ask the school about their application and entry process as well as when the key dates might be for any testing or interviews. if an independent school, ask about the place availability in the year group that is of interest to you and any deadlines for registration.
Plan the time of your visit carefully. It is best to be there when it is quieter as the school exhibitors will have more time to speak with you to address your individual questions. The busiest times are likely to be mid-morning through to lunchtime.
Take a big strong bag with you. You will certainly collect a great deal of literature throughout the day.
As soon as you arrive, highlight in the show programme the schools that are on your short-list and where they are located so you can plan an order to visit their stands. Try not to be distracted on route by schools offering balloons and stickers, at least until you have met with all the schools on the list you prepared in advance!
Upon arrival look at the daily programme of speakers for the seminars and make sure you make a note of the times of any that are likely to present information which is of particular interest to you. This is a great way to get some free advice from highly regarded education experts, including the heads of independent and grammar schools.
When you arrive at the stand, is the person you meet open, friendly and welcoming and happy to answer your individual questions? Are they keen to give you their sales pitch or are they happy to listen to what you have to say and address your issues and queries? It is always a good sign when you meet the Head at an event such as these as it demonstrates that he or she sees communication with parents as a priority. Heads are busy people so there may be a perfectly understandable reason as to why they are not there at the time of your visit to the stand, but it might be beneficial to ask if the Head will be attending at any point in the day. At this stage remember it is just as important to decide which schools may be wrong for your child, as it is to decide which one is the right one.
You could consider booking a telephone or face-to-face consultation with one of our schools experts to talk through your school short-list and to seek independent opinion on what questions you might ask the schools when you visit the show, as well as to see if there are any options that you may have missed. Remember not all schools in your search area will be attending the show!
You might like to read the Good Schools Guide reviews for your chosen schools to get an independent opinion about their provision to help you see through the marketing speak. You can read this by subscribing online at www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk
An opportunity to meet with 32 senior schools and colleges, as well as 11+ tutor companies and educational providers, in one place. Attend a few of our 9 free seminars delivered by Heads and senior school staff on the day, to assist you in making the right choice for your child as an individual