Chris and I will be going to visit one of the schools where Rosemary may go tomorrow. And the other one two weeks later. There are only two within walking distance, one very small (16 intake) and the other pretty big (37). Actually, there is a third, but that’s a Catholic school and we wouldn’t really consider it, being very unreligious. There’s also a school in a nearby village that has a bus that stops close by, which we might consider, but probably not. There are other schools around, but they would all involve about an hour’s walk, or driving. Most of them aren’t accessible by public transport at the right time, though some are.
So… what questions do we need to ask? Here are some that I’ve come up with off the top of my head:
- What technology is used in teaching?
- How are pupils’ individual needs assessed and catered to (e.g. special interests, extra help, extra challenges)?
- What is the level and type of religious education? Can pupils be excused from religious assemblies and, if so, what would they do instead?
- When are languages started and which one/s?
- What are the meals like (e.g. healthy, veggie option, packed lunch option)?
- How do teachers and parents communicate?
- What is the policy on time off (e.g. OK to take a day off to visit an aquarium or museum, OK to go on holiday in term time, or neither)?
- Is there much bullying and how is this addressed?
- Does the school have an overall ethos?
- How are different cultures explored?
- How are stereotypes avoided?
- What outdoor play facilities are there?
- How many classroom assistants are there in each class?
- What sort of teaching methods are used?
What would (or did) you ask? Is there anything you especially like about your children’s school? Is there anything you really hate about your children’s school and would advise avoiding? Do you think a smaller school is better than a bigger one, in general? Any other tips for the whole school choice palaver?