The importance of open events
With the arrival of September, thoughts inevitably turn to school and the new academic year. For parents of children in Year 6, it is a crucial time as they decide, alongside their children, which senior school they are going to choose.
By the end of October, families of Year 6 children will have put in their applications for state secondary schools and many will also have decided if they are going to sit the entrance exams for grammar schools, which normally take place in January. This is the reason why many schools will hold open days during the autumn, to showcase to prospective parents the merits of their school. It is a great way to get a feel for a school, to meet teaching staff and pupils, and to have a look at the facilities available. It is never too early to start looking at secondary education establishments and we always encourage people to have a look around the school even if their children are in lower key stage 2. More and more, we meet children from Years 4 and 5 who are already thinking about moving onto the next stage of their academic life. My feeling is, the more you visit schools, the more you will identify which suits your child best, and you can begin to build a relationship with them which makes the ultimate transition much smoother. Like other schools, we hold our main open events in October and November, and they are designed to be interactive, with lots of pupil demonstrations, whilst showing parents the advantages of a small independent school. More recently, we have also introduced in-session Open Mornings throughout the year, which give prospective families the chance to see school during a normal day. For me, these are equally important as they allow parents to see how pupils conduct themselves, how engaged they are in lessons and, of course, general behaviour. These are all important in making future choices and I personally feel everyone should have the opportunity to experience schools in this way. Coming into the autumn, my top tips for a successful Open Events season would be to start early – your child’s education is so important. Look at a variety of schools, think about what would best suit your child and take them with you. Their opinion and input is vital. Finally, try and speak to current pupils at the schools you are considering. We always use our pupils as tour guides as they are our best marketing tool - they will always give an honest answer and are able to engage and empathise with other children.