Best foot forwards- Important things to consider when starting school

Posted on Nov 30 2015 - 10:26am by Charlie

With the deadline for applications for the next school year closing in, it is important that you start thinking of the future, particularly if you have very young children who may be starting school in a few years’ time. A good education is an essential part of life for children to grow up into well rounded, open minded individuals, so to give your child the best chance at life, take a look at our advice on looking into the first primary school for your child.

Getting your Application In Quickly
The earlier the application is sent in the better when it comes to applying for a new school. For primary schools, the deadline for New Year applicants is often midway through January, but applications will open depending on the location. You can check your local government information website for more advice on when school applications open for your local schools.

As there is a high demand and a lower number of placements than there are children who need educating, the application process is incredibly important, so it is essential that you apply as soon as possible. Every year more and more parents are disappointed in the fact that their children were unable to achieve a place at any of their chosen schools and most of this was down to late applications. The earlier you submit your application, the higher your chances of receiving a place for your child.

Independent Schools vs Public Schools
When it comes to applying for different types of schools, public schools and independent schools in themselves have rather different application periods. While the public school application process is relatively simple, a lot of it depends on the location of your home and its proximity to the school. If you happen to be outside the catchment area, then other children may be given priority over your child. Similarly, children from disadvantaged backgrounds or on specific schemes may be given priority due to their specific needs.

Independent schools have a far more rigorous application process, as they accept far fewer children every year. However if you really love the school and feel it is right for your child, it will be well worth jumping through those hoops. Independent schools are often praised for their attention to detail and the nurturing of the ‘individual’ child, so with smaller classes your child may have more opportunities to shine.

Applications will normally include a ‘taster day’ in which your child has the chance to experience a day in the life of the school, to see whether or not that school is right for them. The teachers may also make an assessment to help you make a decision. It is a long process but can work out for the best in the long run. If your child’s application to an independent school is successful, they will have a number of unique opportunities to learn and grow, with first class facilities and experienced teachers.

Considering Several Options
Every year more and more children need placements at their local schools, so it is important to consider other options just in case your first choice falls through. Teachers are constantly put under pressure to accept larger classes of children, however this can have a negative effect on the individual, so in some cases an independent school; one with not many places, might be better for your child. Having 5 potential school choices is a nice number, just make sure to get your applications in sooner rather than later, to avoid disappointment.

Obviously when it really comes down to it, when starting a new school you can prepare your children as best as you can, but the rest of it is up to them. If children have made any friends at nursery school, it might be a good idea to see where their parents are applying for schools so that your child can also attend, but it may be better for them to make new relationships in a school closer to you. At the end of the day, you can’t control how your child will react to the school or who they will make friends with, but you can make a difference if they are not enjoying their current school.

Remember that there is always a ‘cooling off’ period when it comes to a new school, so don’t discredit a school straight away just because your little one got off to a bad start. See how it goes for a few weeks and then make your decision. Unfortunately with more and more children needing placements it can be hard to switch schools, so you need to do all the research beforehand and make sure this is the right one for your child. Now that they’ve been accepted and are attending, now all you need to do is start working on the homework plans and dusting off your old calculator!

Article provided by Bloo House, an innovative, independent school in Surrey for 5-11 year olds offering a unique learning environment and a celebrated 8-aptitude curriculum designed specifically to enable to children to grow in all areas of development.

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