I was in my kid’s school this morning for their enrollment and as I was paying the “expensive” tuition fees, my mind was wondering if the school they are in right now is really the best for them. Questions began to ran through my mind. Questions like, “Are we getting the value of our money? Does it equate to quality education?” I highlighted the word “expensive” because the amount being spent for a kid’s education depends actually on their parent’s financial status. For me and my hubby, we consider it a bit expensive even though we have the educational savings for our kids. There’s nothing much we can do because there’s virtually no choices near our place. As a parent, we want to provide the best education to our kids even if we have to work doubly.
But more than the financial issue, there are other things that we need to take into consideration when choosing the best school for our kids.
The school is a place where our children can bloom. It’s their second home. Our children’s early years in school is an exciting journey not only for them but also for us parents.
Most parents want the best for their children, and part of that includes giving them a good education. Unless you can afford private school fees, however, you must choose between a handful of primary and secondary schools in your local authority. Well-regarded public/state schools tend to be over-subscribed, so it’s vital that you start thinking about the options well in advance. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent.
10 Tips for Choosing The Best School for Your Kids
1. Do your homework. Find out which schools are in your area. You can search for primary and secondary schools online. In the Philippines, you may want to check the master list of private schools with DepEd accreditation here. For those who are in UK, check the Education and Learning section at www.direct.gov.uk. Your local authority will also have a list of local schools.
2. Talk to your child. Does your child have a preference? Where are his peers going? This is especially important for children moving from primary to secondary school.
3. Establish any special requirements. Gifted and very bright children, or children with specific learning difficulties, health issues and behavioural patterns may need a special school that can give them the support they need.
4. Dig deeper. Once you get an idea of the schools near you, investigate them in greater detail. This could include a visit in person, reading the school’s inspection report and looking at the school’s prospectus.
5. Talk to other families. Chat to parents and children about their experiences of a particular school. Children often pick up on problems – for example, bullying – that schools try to hide.
6. Check the admissions policy. Often you have a better chance of a successful application if you already have a child at the school, you are in the right catchment area, or your child’s primary school is a feeder school to the secondary.
7. Narrow down the options. Local authorities vary, but you can usually apply to one or more primary schools and at least three secondary schools.
8. Don’t delay. Don’t miss the admissions deadlines: check the dates with your local authority.
9. If you choose a private school. Independent schools have their own admissions policies, and many require you to apply months, if not years, in advance.
10. Name does not guarantee quality. The nearest free public school from your house could be just as good as the “expensive” private school. This last tip is proven by me and my husband who both had our pre-school, elementary and high school years in a public school. Peg Tyre, in her book The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve said, “there is no uniformly great private school, no uniformly great charter school and no uniformly great public school”.
Choosing the best school for your child is quite a challenging and tedious task. Have fun in looking for the right school that will impart not only knowledge to your child but an institution with the best intention of examining each child’s uniqueness as a basis of growth and progress.