In some cities in Pakistan we are well provided with choice and there is competition for places. The admissions process involves a lot of steps and choices and takes time too.
How to choose and what to ask?
First look at O and A level results. What grades did the best students in the school achieve? This only tells you how a small group of pupils in 3 year groups have performed in a set of tests, on a segment of the curriculum. They are only part of the picture. Education experts around the world stress that it is crucial to look beyond.
Talk to the Head
Visit a few schools’ open days for prospective parents or arrange a separate visit too.
- Get a feel for the school to see if it offers the environment for your child in terms of the quality of education and the relationships between children and staff. It is like walking into a new house- you immediately pick up on whether it is “right”.
- Think about your child’s personality and the sort of school you want for them. Be prepared to consider a number of options. You may be certain about single sex and then see how well boys and girls work together.
- Is the school’s approach one that would suit your child? g. does your child like exploring things themselves?
- Does your child face any health, learning or family issues that you need to discuss?
- Looking at the other children will your child thrive in this school?
- What impression do the teachers you meet make on you?
What do other parents think?
There is no substitute for talking to parents who already have children at the school, if you don’t know any parents, ask the school if you can meet some –at an Open Day or other school function.
You can find out: if their child is happy, making progress, getting on with their classmates, whether they have had any problems and how well they feel the school dealt with those problems. Remember children plateau at in their development and also that growing up is not trouble free. There will be problems from time to time – the important thing is how the school handled them. Aged 5, I told my parents I had been given the cane – my parents were furious – I had actually been tapped on the hand for making a hole in my book…. The moral is listen to your child but also listen to the school before forming a judgement!!
Check the school website
Most schools have websites with live chat, or FB pages where parents comment – have a look at what they say. There is a wealth of other information too!
Know the rules
Each school has its own admissions procedures and deadlines -don’t visit too many schools or you will be overwhelmed. Most private schools have some form of admissions test – do not let your anxiety transfer to your child, the outcome is a guide to place your child in the appropriate class.
Coming soon: what questions to ask the Head, the staff, the students and the support staff.