Visit the school: The only way of making an informed decision about your child’s education is to go and see the school for yourself. Meet the staff, the teachers and the matrons, chat to the students about what life is like there, visit the boarding houses and see the new facilities being built. Above and beyond any brochure, you’ll know straight away if the school seems the right fit.
Ask the right questions: Aside from graduate prospects and league tables, it is vital to know what sort of education your son or daughter will be getting at that particular school. Does the school focus on independent learning? Does the teaching style transcend exam requirements? Is the focus directed on academia or on an all-round school life? The ethos of each school is different and it is essential to know your options before registering.
Manage your expectations: It is of paramount importance to be realistic about your child’s education. Pushing them towards schools that are too academic and watching them fail to gain a place can have long-term implications for that child; be fair to them and be realistic on what is achievable.
Be varied in your choices: Whether boarding or day, mixed or single-sex, forward-looking or traditional, having a focused ideal on the type of school you want for your child is to be supported. Try, however, to pick a diverse range of schools so that all eventualities, positive or negative, are covered.
Listen to your child: A child will directly or indirectly lean towards a particular school that you visit and their view must be taken into account. Children perform better in pre-tests to schools that they aspire to, and genuine enthusiasm for a school manifests itself decisively at interview.