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How to choose a secondary school for your child

The deadline for parents and carers of Year 6 pupils to apply for a secondary school place is the 31st October every year.

What you may hear from politicians or read in the media tends to make you think the education system in our country is awful, which in turn puts extra pressure on parents to ensure they choose the right school. But what you’ll actually find is that most schools have a very high percentage of parental satisfaction.

Here’s our suggestions to help you make a decision.

Don’t just use the Ofsted report

Yes, an Ofsted report is important, as seeing that we are judged to be a Good school will give you peace of mind that your child will get a good, grounded education. However, there is more to look at to ensure that for the next five years your child is happy going to school.

Check out the Progress 8 score

Progress 8 is a performance measure for secondary schools and it measures the progress children make between the end of primary school and the end of secondary school. It’s based on students’ performance in eight qualifications, including English and maths, and the score is usually between -1 and +1.

A score above zero means pupils made more progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of Year 6. You can view the league table, which shows the Progress 8 scores for Worcester secondary schools, on the Gov.uk website.

Visit the school

Perhaps the best way to decide is to visit the school with your child as this will give you a feel as to how they will settle in and give you a chance to learn more about the facilities. When safe to do so, all schools hold open events, so ensure you visit, and most schools will also allow you to have a private tour, usually with the headteacher.

We welcome parents of years 5 and 6 pupils for a private tour, simply contact us on 01905 746804 to arrange.

Trust your instinct

Do you believe what you are being told by the headteacher? Will your child be happy with the size of the school? Are there extra-curricular activities that will appeal to your child? Does the school seem well maintained? What is the atmosphere like at the school?

These are all questions to think about that play a big part in ensuring your child enjoys learning. No matter what the Ofsted report says, you know your child best, so size of the school, the choice of after school clubs, or an excellent SEND provision may be more important than a school having an Outstanding Ofsted rating.

Don’t overthink

The most important thing is to ensure your child will be happy, so sometimes it’s simply a case of asking them. Although they will probably want to go wherever their friends are going, if that means they will enjoy going to school, is that such a bad thing? There are very few schools, if any, in the country that are genuinely awful and places where your child won’t learn a thing, so if you don’t get a place at your first choice secondary school, don’t panic, as it’s highly likely your child will do well.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to arrange a tour of our school. We’re also always happy to meet parents/carers and their children.

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