As a parent we have a lot of responsibilities to take and a lot of decisions to make. Our role in making decisions for our children define and decide their future in uncountable ways.
One such crucial decision to make is choosing the right school for your child. Whilst there are a dozen general guidelines for selecting the right school, it is a very personal decision as every family has different requirements and limitations.
What to consider
As parents, you need to think minutely about what will work best for your child. You must take into account your child’s personality, strengths, weaknesses and interests.
Here are some things you should take into account:
• Do you want your child to attend the same school that you went to or do you want a different experience?
• Do you want your child to have a religious education?
• Do you want your child to go to a boarding school?
• Are you interested in a particular teaching philosophy?
• Does the school offer extra curricular activities for your child?
• Has the school improved its academic results over the past few years? What about its performance in other areas like the arts, sport or community engagement?
• Which board is the school affiliated to? Whether it is CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE, IB or State board? And which board should you opt for?
• Practical considerations like location of the school, it’s distance from your house and travelling cost.
• The fee structure of the school and your affordability of the fee and other costs.
• What are the school’s admission procedures and entrance requirements?
• What languages and elective subjects does the school offer? How many subjects are available in the senior years?
• What extracurricular activities – sport, art, music, drama and so on – are available to suit your child’s interests? What are the time and costs associated with these?
Important factors based on personal beliefs
• Class size
Small class size has a positive effect on a child’s learning. Whereas a large class size implicates more pressure on the child and parent. So you must check on the teacher student ratio maintained by the school before admitting your child.
• Co-Educational or not
It’s up to you to choose whether single-sex education or co-education is best for your child, because there’s no conclusive evidence to say that one is better than the other.
Generally, whether a school is co-educational or single sex isn’t as important as the school’s quality of leadership, teaching quality and approach to teaching. Most families will have a personal view about this issue, which is linked to the personality of their child, the parents’ own schooling experience and their family values.
• Teacher Quality
Teachers make enormous difference in a child’s life, a fact known by all. Check the school’s policy on the teacher quality, the education and specialisation of the teachers and how much does the school invest on teacher training.
• School culture or philosophy
Schools have individual and distinct cultures and philosophies. For example, some have a strong sports ethic, some follow a religious affiliation, and others promote individuality, artistic pursuits, creative thinking or problem-solving.
It all depends on what’s important to you and your child. Are you looking for a school with a balanced sporting and academic approach, or one with strengths in artistic and musical areas, or in science and maths? An environment with a strong academic focus might be important to you, or perhaps one that teaches your child more about your religious views.
Most schools talk about their philosophies and approach in a document like a prospectus, handbook or charter. You might also find this information on the school website.
A good school is not limited to academics but lays emphasis on the holistic overall growth of a child.
Keep in mind the above mentioned questions and pointers before selecting the right school for your child.
Wish you all the best.