Like, it seems, everyone I have a little one due to start school next September. All the emotion. As is every other parent I am doing the school rounds to ask the appropriate questions and look at the environment my daughter will be spending the next 7 years. However it feels a pointless exercise as I know the school I want to send her to. I know my top choice, my only choice really that I *may* have concluded upon using the wrong reasons. You decide. Here they are in increasing order of importance.
5. The rep
Controversial? Maybe but don’t tell me you haven’t disregarded certain schools because of their reputation. Equally I am sure you have considered or applied for schools based upon a glowing reputation. Now I had a friend, who incidentally is one of the smartest people to grace this here earth. She could pass an exam without even being there. She went to a very well regarded, not to mention expensive, prestigious private school in Bristol, 2 in fact. On full scholarship, she was that smart. After spending some time at not 1 but 2 of Bristol finest educational establishments she jumped both ships and slummed it with us thicko’s at the local comp, which had an onsite police officer. Make of that what you will.
4. The Ofsted
I am told this is a big player. The internet can give you all sorts of wonderful statistics about your school of choice. Whether it is performing as it should be, above national average, examination pass rate – an essential for 7 year olds like. Thing is though, I went to a school that was in the bottom 3 of the league table for Bristol and there were some pretty ropey schools in Bristol at the time. Yet, I got all the As and then A-levels and then a first class law degree. I don’t mean to bragg but you get my point right? Ofsted schmofsted.
3. The facilities
Does it have a music lab? Gym? Computer room? Library? Outdoor area? Swimming pool? It’s own pet unicorn? Journey back with me to my school, if you will. We had some unused, abandon tennis courts that pupils would frequent to meet up with the resident cigarette dealer, also a pupil. 5 for £1, bargain. That was until someone shouted ‘GREGOR’ and everyone legged it because a 6 foot teacher would come bounding over with his walkie talkie disbanding the masses. That said, whilst facilities were pretty thin on the ground we were spoilt with a new shiny ‘City learning Centre’. This was basically a swanky shed that housed all the very latest Macs, video, music, editing soft and hardware and some other technology I did not understand. Whilst it was probably wasted on a lot of people, myself included, it certainly paid off for another dear friend of mine. She uncovered a passion in this techno hub and is now an incredibly hardworking and successful post production professional who is in charge of a lot people and responsibilities bringing actual TV to your tellybox. I am pretty sure this got demolished along with my actual school a few years after our departure, which really is a bit of shame not to mention colossal waste of money. Facilities, I definitely don’t think they are the be all and end all, fancy technology aside my school had zero facilities (other than PC Phil) that benefited me and the other 90% of the school yet I don’t recall it being to my detriment.
2. The child
Ok so we may be on to something here. I do believe there are some children that will do well whatever school they go to and then there are some who would get on a little better at certain schools. There were probably a fair few people who would have come out of my school a lot ‘better’ for want of a better word in a different environment. Also see point 5 above and 3 for that matter, some facilities may suit certain children better than others. Academically it is too early to tell for my children and their first school choice. I can however make some form of decision on the type of person they are and whether it would be compatible with certain school. So yes I accept this is a criteria worth bearing in mind.
1. The location
Aha the golden ticket and the winning criteria for me. Our first choice of school is
So what about you? What are your criteria for choosing your little ones school? Do you have any? I’d love to hear from you.