Caroline Dunn is the Admissions lead at Cheadle Hulme School. She has worked in pastoral care in the state and independent education sectors over 15 years. A parent herself, she has helped hundreds of families choose the right school for their child.
There are so many schools, how do I know which will suit my child?
Children should love going to school every day; flourish and thrive not just survive. Great schools develop a love of learning beyond the curriculum, with high expectations of young people as learners whilst recognising the importance of physical and emotional wellbeing. Make a ‘wish list’ and visit many – co-ed and single sex – options. Talk to students of different ages. Do they reflect the person you want your child to be like?
What questions should I ask staff to find out more?
Ask about value added; how endeavour and progress is rewarded. Don’t compare schools based on results without considering the child and any selection process. Question how each child is seen and supported. Passionate teachers inspire young learners so ask them about their subjects and the opportunities for all pupils – not just the talented.
Are there any changes in education I should be aware of?
Schools should be well equipped to navigate recent curriculum reforms and be able to explain the difference in grading and assessment. Ask how the school is developing 21st Century learners, ready for an unknown world of work in 7 years’ time; how they will help your child develop as an individual, find their spark and fulfil their dreams.
I’ve chosen a school, what next?
Share any information that may be helpful to the school in supporting your child. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Meet other parents, your child’s friends and the key people who will be looking after your child. Take part in school events and celebrate all achievements, however small.