first day at school

Loved the post Questions for choosing a school for your child that Hannah wrote.  Here’s a snippet:

Daniel started back at pre-school last week and continues to love it.  I have been very aware over the last few weeks that this time next year Daniel will be starting school.  Believe it or not, it will soon be time to start thinking about applying for his school place.  Like many parents up and down the country, over the next few weeks Chris and I will be visiting some of our local schools to make a decision as to which school we put as our first choice for Daniel.  In preparation for this, I have made a list of things to consider and questions to ask to help us make our decision.

  1. How near is it?  We will aim to walk to school as much as possible and there’s only so much walking Daniel’s legs can manage!  If you intend to drive to the school then you may want to consider how easy it will be to park nearby during peak times at the beginning and end of the school day.
  2. What catchment area are you in?  Just because you live near to a particular school doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily in the catchment area for it.  In many places, not being in the catchment area can be a real hindrance when trying to get a place at the school of your choice.
  3. What is the school’s admissions criteria?  As with the above question, living near a particular school does not guarantee you a place there.  Different schools have different admissions criteria.  For example, some give preference to children from particular religious denominations.
  4. How did they do in their Ofsted report?  To me, an Ofsted report does not represent the sum total of how good a school is.  However, it is a good starting point.  Reading through an Ofsted report can give you a good indication of some of the school’s strengths and weaknesses.  Do bear in mind, though, that an Ofsted can only give a narrow snapshot of a school.
  5. Where are they in the league tables?  If there is a limit to what an Ofsted report can tell you, then this is even more the case with a league table.  However, it’s worth a look nevertheless.
  6. What do other people say about the school?  You will find a parent from every school who says their child is bullied there.  In the same way, you will always find some parents who like the headteacher and some who don’t.  By asking around you will be able to get a good feel for what the school’s general reputation is like.

I think you can tell a lot from your gut feeling when you look around a school.  Do the children look happy and is it a bright, colourful and inspiring environment?  Can you imagine your child there?  Hopefully most schools should tick all of these boxes.  Despite this, though, I find it hard to imagine my little boy going to school and, to be honest, I hope this next year goes by very slowly!

Do go and check out the full post to see all 15 questions.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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