A new academic session is round the corner (in almost every part of the world) and very many parents are looking to change their kids’ schools. Whatever be the reason, it’s a big decision. Children spend most of the day at school and education obtained there sets them up for the rest of their lives. Which is why, extensive research is imperative when weighing the options.
We’ve had scores of parents reach out to our academic counsellors at Early Steps Academy for advice on the same. We're fascinated to see how modern parents are far more hands-on and particular when it comes to school selection but perhaps, choosing a great school is not as facile as it seems. Having helped many worried parents through this journey, we've noticed that oftentimes parents tend to skip very obvious checkboxes. To make sure you don’t make those mistakes, we’ve crystallized all the wisdom in this blog for you.
Following are the most crucial factors you must look out for when choosing a school for your tots:
1) Academic Performance and Extra-Curriculars:
This one goes without saying. It’s the top-most priority for every parent. Compare the school’s average exam scores at the city, state or country level. Look into how many ranks it has secured and the trend over the years. Ask the school about the colleges their students have gone on to and how their best students have fared in higher education.
Look out for sport championships the school takes part in and the accolades it has won.
2) School Curriculum:
There are a plethora of international, national and regional curricula. See which curriculum the school follows and whether that matches your child’s future educational goals and aspirations. Understand what subject combinations and electives are offered, whether the school board differs from primary to high school and if the school offers more than one curriculum. See which grades the school accommodates.
3) Core values of the school:
Look out for the school’s philosophy and approach towards education and learning. Do they believe in academic excellence only or do they also believe in giving children ample opportunities in other areas such as arts and sports? Do they believe in practical learning or is their scope limited to only theoretical learning?
Check if the school has adequate sized playgrounds that cater to games and sports events, classrooms that are inspiring, tidy and well-maintained premises, clean washrooms, ample sunlight coming into classrooms and sufficient greenery.
5) Teachers and Staff:
Teachers are the closest adults to children for most of the day and so it helps to know their attitude and dedication towards their job. Check for qualifications, experience and teacher training of the educators at school. See if the school has full-time specialized staff like psychologists, counsellors or speech therapists. Pay close attention to what the teachers and other staff have to say about the school. Make it a point to also look into the background of the principal - a great principal makes all the difference to the school.
6) Teacher to Student Ratio:
This is more than just the class size. The student-teacher ratio will tell you the teachers’ workload and how available they are to offer care to individual students. Usually the lower the number, the better the learning will be. It also helps to ensure that every child gets to follow the class properly and remains attentive throughout.
It goes without saying that great schools come at a higher price. Therefore consider if you’re able to afford the fees without overly stretching your budget. Remember, your child’s education is a long haul and not a sprint. The fee needs to be sustainable for you to afford it over the years. Check out the fees for later classes as well before enrolling your child.
8) Talk to parents and students:
While the staff may paint the best picture possible about the school, the students and their parents will tell you about things as it is. If you can talk to students at the school or their parents, you will extract information about the true quality of the school.
I hope you find this helpful. If you're helping your transition between schools, make sure you keep these pointers in mind.
We're always happy to answer any queries, feel free to reach out to us. If you would like us to write on a topic that you think would benefit you or parents in general, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.