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Cheatsheet for School Visits

By Leyla DaCosta and Veronica

Questions to keep in mind as you visit schools:

  • Are children streamed in the core subjects?
  • If so, at what age does the school begin streaming and what criteria is used to determine which stream is most appropriate for a student?
  • On your introduction to the schools and its teachers do you feel happy, enthusiastic and inspired? Eager to start?
  • What additional support systems does the school have if a child requires further guidance?
  • Does the school have a Sen programme?
  • Ask about the pastoral care at the school
  • Are there designated teachers?
  • If your child has a health problem, remember to make it a point to ask how the school will support both parent and child.
  • Are subjects reinforced with daily homework?
  • How does the school use technology to support teaching and learning? At what age is science taught?
  • Do the schools offer a school bus?
  • And if so is the bus manned by a qualified teacher?
  • Communication and relationships are key at all schools, but especially so when information and rules are required for the next school.
  • What programmes does your current school have in place to support your child in gaining entry into-the next school?
  • Ask to see their leavers lists / destination schools.
  • Ask to see their curriculum syllabus taking note as to what age subjects are introduced.
  • How does the school communicate with you about your child’s progress?
  • How after are progress reports given ?
  • How often are formal parent-teacher meetings held?
  • How does the school communicate with you about school activities and events?
  • Does the school have a parent-teacher association (PTA)?
  • What kind of parental involvement is there with the school?
  • Does the school aim to provide a sense of community?
  • What extracurricular activities does the school provide?
  • Does the school have peripatetic music teachers specialised in the instrument your child is interested in playing?
  • Does the school encourage children irrespective of ability to be involved in all aspects of the school (choirs/ensembles/bands/plays/sport)?
  • What kind of food is served in the dining hall? Is it healthy? How do they deal with food restrictions or allergies? Do teachers sit with the children? What time does your child have lunch? Do you like the range of food provided?
  • If your child is interested in art, ask whether the school has a strong art department. What disciplines are taught? Does the school hire people specialised in arts for workshops with the children?
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