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Choosing a school for your child is a big decision – after all it will affect the next few years of their life. It can seem like a daunting task with so many options available.

Your choice will be affected by several factors, including what schools are available locally, your child’s needs and the practical considerations. To help you make this important decision, read on for some tips from a girls’ prep school in London

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Visit schools 

Schools will expect parents to want to visit, so book a tour of local schools and take your child with you if you can so they can get a feel for each one. Schools might also run open days you can attend with other potential pupils and their parents.

When you’re there, try to speak to key members of staff such as the headteacher and SENCo (if applicable), and parents of children who already go to the school if they’re present.

Take a list of all your questions so you don’t forget them. It’s also a good idea to speak to current pupils first hand, although bear in mind they might be guarded about what they say with school staff around. 

Consider practicalities

Your choice of which school to send your child to will be dictated somewhat by what’s available locally, particularly if you don’t drive. You may need to choose a school that’s on frequent and accessible public transport routes.

You’ll also need to consider how the timings of the school day work with your job if you have one, and how the start and finish times will impact you all as a family, especially if you have other children. Run through all the possible scenarios and options to find whatever works best for all of you.

Ask around

Word of mouth is often the strongest factor in choosing a school, so try and find parents of current pupils to speak to.

You may have to post in social media groups or forums if you don’t know anyone with a child at the school, but be prepared for different opinions and feedback.

No school is perfect and chances are you’ll get mixed feedback. Think about the things that are most important to you and your child when taking others’ feedback on board.

Test results and Ofsted reports

You can get an idea of how well children perform academically at the school by looking at recent Ofsted reports and test results. This might be very important to you, or not as important as other aspects such as the school’s values and ethos, but it might help you make a decision. 

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