Visiting a school during an Open Day event is a great way to get the initial feel for a school and it’s ethos.
Make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit as there is lots to take in and you want to make it a pleasant experience if visiting with your child. Visiting schools gives you an opportunity to hear the Head Teacher’s welcome and listen to students and their experiences. Head Teacher’s will often make themselves available to answer any questions, giving you the chance to discuss your child’s needs which ultimately could determine your final decision. A tour of the school allows you to look at the school’s facilities, view the standard of work and meet with teachers and students on route. Typically, you are appointed a student ‘guide’ who will escort you around and answer any questions or concerns you may have such as travel to school, homework and even what’s on the lunch menu!
During an Open Evening the school is ‘on display’ and you see the school in all it’s finery, however, it doesn’t give you a feel of how the school functions on a day-to-day basis. It is always recommended to visit the school during the day at an Open Morning or Open Afternoon event as well as the evening to give you more opportunity to see the students at work and make your own opinions; are the pupils happy, well-mannered, engaged in lessons?
It is vital to visit schools with your own child’s criteria in mind, it is so easy to get caught up in wanting the ‘best school’ when the ‘best school’ might not be the ‘right school’ for your child. It’s not an easy decision choosing a school for your child, but be assured that all schools have a dedicated admissions team who are there to help with any questions or worries you may have.