Taking the next big step in your child’s education

It probably seems like it was only yesterday that your child started school but now it’s time to think about the next step. 

Choosing the perfect secondary school for your child can feel daunting as it’s one of the most difficult decisions that you ever take as a parent.

It is important to thoroughly research all of the options available to you so you find the best fit  for your son or daughter when they start Year 7.

You will want a school where they are encouraged to achieve and reach their full potential. 

Councils allow parents to make up to six preferences of schools, depending on where you live, with the final decision made according to the criteria set by the local authority, or 

individual schools.

Although this can feel like a lot of pressure, how you end up choosing your secondary school preferences will probably be very similar to how you found your child’s first school – with some of the same factors influencing your decision. 

And remember – getting this next step right can help them on their way later in life and in their future careers.

You might be wondering whether you want a community school or an academy? Do you want to pay for a private education or send your child to a grammar school? During this important decision process you will be looking at schools to see what teaching and sports facilities they offer pupils.

You will no doubt also be examining the results they go on to achieve, as well as the support offered inside and outside of the classroom.

Now they are older, your child will probably have views on where they want to go, which you  will no doubt want to take into consideration.

You might want to consider whether the school caters for the things your child is interested in and what opportunities there will be for them to develop these interests further. 

Think about the ethos of the school – does it match your own culture and values?

More than likely they will want to go where their friends are going. While this probably shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing a school, if your child struggles to make friends and you think they will find it difficult going alone then it can be a worthy consideration.

Above all, you will want to be able to ‘see’ your child fitting in there. Proximity will always come into play as nearly all schools will use this as one of the main criteria when considering applications. So you might have a certain school as number one on your preference list but it will depend on how many other parents have applied and how close they are to its gates. 

Having siblings at the school already will also give applications extra weight. This means its essential to research your options well – so if you miss out on your preferred choice you will be well informed on the others.