Taking that first step into higher secondary education is crucial for you and your child, but how should you go about making that all important decision as to which junior school is the one?
1. Know the higher secondary school admission process. Check your local authority website for details of the catchment area for higher secondary schools nearby, faith requirements and key dates.
2. Pay a visit. Compare schools by visiting any you may consider. Meet the head and watch how she interacts with staff and children. Check out classrooms, cloakrooms and dining facilities. Observe children at work and play.
3. Academic matters. Ask about the reading programme and what happens should children not progress as expected. Find out how you are expected to support learning at home. Are gifted children sufficiently challenged?
4. Encouragement and motivation. Find out how children are rewarded and praised for hard work. Are good behaviour and manners valued?
5. Keeping in touch. Find out whether teachers are accessible either in person or by email / phone and who you should speak to if there’s a problem. Are parents welcomed onto school premises or kept at arm’s length? Look at the bullying policy and, above all, ask yourself whether you would be happy to leave your child there every day.