Sometimes the search for a school can carry slightly more issues than normal, and this is particularly the case if you are moving to a new area. You may be moving jobs, or moving back to the place you grew up – whatever the scenario, you are left with the task of searching for schools in a new area you may not necessarily be familiar with. So, how do you begin to search for schools in the area?
1. Do some research – the first place to begin to search schools in a different location is from the comfort of your own home, on your computer (or tablet or phone!). If you are reading this article then chances are you have access to the internet, so start by having a good look around at what is available on a map of the local area. There may only be a couple of schools which are suitable, there may be a lot, but you can do some research into the schools, check the OFSTED ratings and get yourself a shortlist of schools from where to begin.
2. Go on visits – now you have a list of searched schools (or school!) you are considering, contact them and see firstly if they have open days or evenings, and if not see if they will show you around anyway. The chances are they will. Keep an open mind and be prepared to ask plenty of questions. It is a good idea to note your questions down before you go, to ensure that you ask the same questions at each school. This way you will end the process with a fair reflection of every school.
3. Discuss with your child – if you are going to search schools in a location other than where you live then it is a good idea to discuss the options with your child. They will have an opinion of their own, and after all they are the ones who are going to be attending on a daily basis, so you may as well try to make them happy. They can probably help you search schools and research them anyway, so try to get them involved from the beginning.
4. Visit again if needs be – if you were left with a bigger choice than you thought and have been on visits which have been useful, then don’t be afraid to go and visit some of them again. You may get a different vibe second time around, you may spot things you didn’t spot at first, or you may be able to go on a school day as opposed to a structured open evening which is designed to show the school off.
5. Remember you can always move – finally, when you start to search schools in another area it is important to remember not to get too concerned about making the perfect choice. If you do make a bad choice, then you can always move. You are not tied in forever so don’t worry about it too much. If your child comes home after a week and they are really not settling in, or likely to settle in, then be open minded and start your school search again, it isn’t a bad thing, you could never have known.
The search for schools is not a difficult process if managed correctly, so remember to do your research properly before you begin, visit the schools, and chat to your child about them. More than anything, don’t get too concerned, picking the right school first time is important but not irreversible if you get it wrong.