Thinking about the future - A guide for ACE parents
Deciding on which secondary school
Choosing a secondary school for your child is a huge decision and one that it is essential that you make for yourself and your child, based on your knowledge of them and your own research. It can be very easy to be swayed by the community view of which schools are good and bad but the real picture is much more complicated and different for each child. Before you start this journey it’s worth taking a step back and thinking through what sort of education your child might benefit from:
- Do you want an all boys or all girls school or would they be better off in a co-educational environment?
- Is strong pastoral care important due to issues they’ve experienced or are experiencing, or do they require support for special needs?
- What do they enjoy doing? What do they dislike?
- Are they very academic, sporty, shy, musical?
- Do they love trying new things? If so a school with lots of clubs and activities might appeal.
- Do they have a favourite subject? Languages, drama, dance, music, IT, art or sport. If so, look for strength in those areas.
- Think about whether a smaller secondary or a larger one with more facilities and clubs will suit them best?
How long are you prepared for your child to commute? A school may be further away, but the journey may be shorter or simpler. Check out the route they would do (and ideally do it).
Perhaps write a wish list of secondary school characteristics which you can use as a checklist. Ask your son or daughter for their views too.
You will never find the perfect school and it helps to remember that from the beginning. In every school there will be moments of magic and elements which you dislike as a parent. For children one of the key ingredients will be who exactly ends up in their class and whether they have a good form tutor. Something you cannot control whichever school they end up going to!