5 things to look for when changing schools

Posted: 22nd February 2024

Deciding to change schools can have a profound impact on your child’s education and development, especially when considering the move to an independent prep school. For prospective parents on this journey, it’s crucial to evaluate several factors to ensure the right fit for their child. Here are five key things to consider when choosing a new independent prep school.

1. Educational Philosophy & Curriculum:

The school’s educational philosophy should align with your values and your child’s learning style. Independent prep schools often offer varied curriculums, from traditional approaches to progressive models. Look for schools that foster critical thinking, creativity, and a love for learning. Examine the breadth and depth of subjects offered, the presence of advanced courses, and the availability of specialised programs that may interest your child, such as STEM, arts, or languages. Not every lesson needs to have pupils heads in books. We actively encourage creative lessons, and teachers who think outside the box to really engage pupils to ignite that spark for learning.

2. Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio:

Small class sizes and a low student-to-teacher ratio are beneficial for personalised attention and support. At St C’s, we found this has really helped in the classroom, especially when different learning strategies are required for those with SEN. During school visits, observe teachers in action, discuss their teaching approaches, and get a sense of their engagement with students.

3. School Culture and Community:

The overall atmosphere of the school is a reflection of its culture. A supportive, nurturing environment is essential for your child’s wellbeing and confidence. Look into the school’s values and how they are embodied in everyday life. Do pupils demonstrate respect, inclusivity, and camaraderie? At St C’s we encourage a culture of kindness and we develop this from day one. Pupils can gain kindness awards and citizenship badges for just that, being kind not just at school but within the local community as well. Engage with current parents and pupils during open days to gain insights into the community, and consider how your child will fit into the social fabric of the school.

4. Extracurricular Opportunities:

An independent prep school should offer a range of extracurricular activities that cater to various interests and talents. Such programs encourage the development of well-rounded individuals and provide opportunities for children to discover and pursue their passions. Whether it’s sports, music, drama, robotics, or community service, check for a balanced array of activities that promotes the growth of students beyond the classroom.
Not every school can offer every sport or activity available but you can certainly have a good go. At St C’s we have 75 clubs and activities on offer and this is often changing. We always look to develop these and take on new activities such as robotics and coding to mini tennis and showdance.

5. Facilities and Resources:

A well-maintained, secure, and stimulating environment is essential for effective learning. Tour the school’s facilities, including classrooms, libraries, sports fields, and science labs, to ensure they meet your standards and facilitate a rich educational experience. Also, consider the availability of modern learning resources and technology that will prepare your child for a rapidly changing world.

When assessing potential prep schools, remember to prioritise what will best serve your child’s individual needs and aspirations. Changing schools is a significant decision, but with careful consideration and due diligence, you can pave the way for a rewarding educational journey that fosters both academic excellence and personal growth. Keep these five points in mind as you explore your options, and you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed choice for your child’s future.

Categories: Schooling