My kids are both in school now, and I have been thinking about their education for a long time. It’s something you start thinking about almost right away, once you’re not quite as much of a zombie after the baby’s born. Education begins at home, but eventually (for most children) it will move to a classroom too. Of course, they’ll continue to learn at home. But their school will influence them significantly.
From picking a preschool to sending them to university, there are some significant decisions to make. The younger they are, the less able they are to have their own input. So how they’re educated is entirely up to you, their parents.
Here are some of the things I think you should take into account.
One of the things you should consider when you’re looking at schools is their philosophy. This might be something that you need to think about more with private schools than with state ones. However, even state schools are run by individuals. And they will have different approaches to education.
Figure out what the school is all about, what their aims are and how they inspire their pupils to learn. Of course, it shouldn’t take a lot of figuring out. Good schools will make these things clear on their website and in their literature.
Many parents accept the standard path set out for pupils in the UK. In primary school, they complete their SATs. Then they do their GCSEs and possibly move on to A Levels or another qualification. Remember that students now have to stay in education or training until they’re 18.
However, there are other options for their study. For example, some schools offer the International Baccalaureate, while others provide vocational qualifications. If you are temporarily in the UK or intend to move abroad soon, some international schools offer foreign qualifications.
It’s important to think about your child and how they learn, and not just about the school. There needs to be a good match between you, your child and the school. You should consider how your child learns and how you want them to learn.
For example, when choosing a nursery you might think about Montessori or a forest school, where they learn outside. Chilton Cantelo School and other independent establishments tailor learning towards each pupil.
They will often provide dedicated support for children with learning difficulties. And they will have support available for those who are considered gifted and talented.
Another thing to consider is your child’s social skills and opportunities. Some parents think about homeschooling their children. If you think you might want to do this, do you have ways they can socialise with others their age?
Other parents opt for boarding school, which means they would be learning to socialise outside of their family. Are large classroom sizes in state schools right for your child? Or would they make friends better in smaller classes?
There’s a lot to think about when you’re deciding on your child’s education. There are some life-changing decisions to make, so try to start thinking about it as soon as you can.