Choosing a school for your child can often be a minefield, whether at 4, 7, 11 or 16 and all ages in between! With so many different schools to choose from, and a decision between independent, state and grammar schools, how do parents choose what is best for their son or daughter?
OFSTED and ISI reports (for the independent sector), can give a good overall view of a school’s performance, but won’t give you an idea of the school’s ethos and values. Every school that you are considering will have a different feel and atmosphere, so visiting is essential. There are many open days coming up over the next few months, and many schools will also arrange individual tours. When you’re visiting the school take note of what the pupils are doing. Do they seem happy and relaxed, interacting with each other and the teachers? Parents can view the school in action and get a real feel for what it would be like for their daughter to attend.
All about results?
Excellent exam results are important to the majority of parents, particularly when their children are looking for a senior school place, but the focus shouldn’t only be on headline exam figures. Attention should also be paid to a school’s Value Added Score. Looking at whether pupils are meeting their expected progress and, in fact, exceeding this, is an indication that the school is getting the very best out of their pupils. At Saint Martin’s, we were ranked 27th in England for our GCSE results in 2016, and 1st in Solihull. We have also achieved a fantastic Value Added Score of +0.38 for students’ achievements between the end of GCSEs and A Levels. This placed Saint Martin’s in the top 4% of UK schools and highlights that our students make excellent progress, performing well above the national average.
Parents should also be looking at how their child will develop away from their academic success. What opportunities are the school providing for your child? Can they get involved in a range of extra-curricular activities? What skills does the school develop in your child that will help them to progress? Getting involved in activities outside of the classroom builds a successful foundation for life after school. Saint Martin’s offers an extensive programme of extra curricular activities and enrichment trips, ranging from Music, sport and drama, to debating, gardening and bridge!
Co-educational or Single Sex?
Finally, there may be the choice between single sex or co-educational learning. As the only independent girls’ school in the Solihull area, Saint Martin’s understands the benefit of being taught in single sex environment. Girls at Saint Martin’s have the opportunity to thrive both academically and personally with an education geared specifically to their needs. They can be themselves and fully explore all the opportunities available to them. Their physical and intellectual confidence grows as they take on leadership roles and inspire others with no gender stereotyping. Our students excel in all areas of the curriculum, and have the freedom to express themselves in lessons without the distraction of boys!
Ultimately, children flourish in a safe and secure environment, and a school where your child is truly happy can be key to their academic performance and success. Visit the schools that you are interested in and speak to the staff and pupils, this should give you a really good idea of whether your child will be happy there.
Saint Martin’s School offers an outstanding education for girls aged 3-18. For further information and admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office on email@example.com, 0121 703 0910 or visit our website www.saintmartins-school.com. Our next Open Morning is taking place on Saturday 16th September, 9:30 – 12:00.