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How to choose a secondary school.

Grammar school building
Grammar school building

How to Choose a secondary School For Your Child

Choosing a secondary for your child is a big choice – they will be attending this school for the next 5 or more years and while you want them to attain academically, they will also want them to be happy at their new school.

Many parents want their child to attend one of the 164 grammar schools across England. While others may be aiming for a fee-paying private school. Whatever your choice of school, if these school types are in your thoughts, then the 11plus exam may well be something to consider as almost all of these school types will have an entrance of some sort – the 11plus is a common method of selecting children.

Choosing a grammar isn’t just about making an application to these schools as many of these schools will be heavily oversubscribed sometimes with 10 applications for each place in year 7.

One key consideration by these schools will be your child’s 11 Plus exam results and this will be a defining factor when they select children. There may be other criteria such as proximity to the school, siblings attending the school or a one to one interview for your child with a senior member of the school staff.

Starting to choose a secondary school.

To begin the process, find out everything you can about the school(s) you want your child to attend. Also consider non-selective schools just in case the grammar school of your choice is really not an option.

Talk to friends and families who have older children who attend or attended the school of your choice. They can give you useful feedback on the teaching and learning, the ethos, after school activities, costs and other important information. However, do not base your final decision on this information as different children will have different experiences of the same school. Attend any open nights or make an appointment to see around the school.

Depending on your postcode you may have more or less choice in which school you will want to apply for.

As an ex-headteacher I always advised parents to consider the logistics of their child attending any school. How long is travel time and how much will this cost, can you pick your child up after school, who will collect them if they get ill and have to go home? Just some of the logistics that you need to consider.

Depending on your financial situation fees may or may not be an issue but some independent schools charge thousands of pounds per term. Some of these very expensive schools may offer bursaries or scholarships for certain reasons such as sport or music – worth checking this out with the school and details may be on the school website.

Gather more information.