Picking the right school to suit your child’s needs is one of the most important decisions a parent will ever make.
Choosing the right school can be an arduous and daunting task for many parents
Alex McGrory, Head of Admissions for the High School of Dundee – one of the top Independent schools in Scotland – suggests some questions we should be asking to get the best for our children.
Is the school offering subjects that my child wants to study?
Although core subjects like Maths, English and languages may be standard, curriculums can vary from school to school especially with less traditional subjects. For example, your child might be keen to study Engineering or have a talent for Music but your local school may not offer this. Check which subjects best reflect the interests of your child as this could affect their happiness and their grades. “Choice is paramount,” says Mrs McGrory. “Pupils should be able to make decisions about their future based on their interests, talents and ambitions and not be restricted by limited subject choices”.
What opportunities can the school offer away from the classroom?
It’s important that children get great enjoyment from school and what better way to learn than through fun? Ask if life changing experiences, trips, and a range of co-curricular activities are on offer to help develop your child.
What are the exam results like?
Exam results can be an indicator of teaching standards and they are worth viewing before committing to a school. Results are publicly available for parents to make a choice about schooling for their child and, according to Mrs McGrory “It may be worth travelling a little further to school each day to reach a school that can help your child thrive.’’
She added: “In 2015, the High School of Dundee recorded the best exam results for Highers in Dundee, Angus and Fife, with our S5 pupils achieving a pass rate of 95%. This year, with a record pass rate of 96% - national average 77% - in S5 and a record 63% of those passes graded A, our Higher results will again be some of the very best in Scotland”.
Does it have before and after school care?
Wraparound care is a key concern for a lot of working parents. Scan the web and you’ll find numerous reports of after school care being scarce, expensive or substandard, so make sure you do your research. Look for a Nursery that offers flexible hours and term-time only options. Look for a Primary School that can meet your working day needs and allow flexibility for any last minute changes.
Does the school have a well-developed guidance/pastoral care system?
Perhaps a question that’s often over-looked by parents, however, is making sure your child has proper support and guidance at school, she added. “The School’s focus should be on giving each pupil all the support and encouragement they need to achieve their full potential’’
The High School of Dundee is holding an open morning event to give families the chance to tour the school with pupil guides and ask specific questions on any aspects of their Nursery, Junior and Senior schools. For more info click here or call Alex McGrory on 01382 202921.