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Choosing a Secondary School

Tracking your childs progress at school

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Choosing a secondary school comes round quicker than you think! It may seem only yesterday that you were considering the choices for your child’s primary school education and yet suddenly the secondary school decision is upon you and the final part of your child’s imposed education is to be decided.

This therefore has almost as big an impact as your choice of schools for their primary education would have been. How and what they learn in this next stage of their education – which will take them from children into teenagers and young adults, taking it as it does from the age of 11 to 16 or even 18 if they stay on for a sixth form education – will also see them make decisions on their education which will determine what they ultimately end up doing as a career. No pressure then?!choosing a secondary school

Tough choice 2nd time round

But in truth the reality is that the influencing factors over how and why you choose your child’s secondary school are such the same as they were for choosing a primary school – only this time you can be even more educated about your decision than ever before.

Open days are as important as when you chose your child’s primary school and should again be coupled with talking to both staff, parents and the children themselves. Your parent circle will be much wider now and your fellow parent friends made at school are likely to include those that already have older children at local secondary schools and as your friends now will be more willing to be honest about their experiences. Are they happy and do they think it’s a good school? Children of these ages will also be more visible in the community too – does the school have a reputation for children who get into trouble or can they be seen thriving in the wider environment?


An added deciding factor this time round is that as well as Ofsted reports you will now have the ability to assess school league tables which list test and exam results for all schools and are published annually by the Department Of Education. At the primary school level however this only shows results at Key Stage 2. At secondary school level these tables include GCSE results for all state and independent schools and the AS and A Level results for all schools and sixth form colleges.

What does your child want?

But this time around you also have to remember this is no longer simply your decision. Children will have their own views on where they want to go and whilst this may be influenced by the specialisms of school and therefore schools where you, or your children, think that they might thrive because it best suits their strengths and interests the reality is that at the age of 11 the biggest impact on where they want to go will be where their friends are going. This will be a particular factor depending on the character of your child and elements of their personality – for example a shy child will be more daunted going to a secondary school without the support network they have had around them at primary school than a more outgoing child who can make new friends more easily.

Other factors

Extra curricular opportunities are also important now – not only to stimulate the child but also to actually give them something to do and keep them occupied – especially in the teenage years when it is easily to be distracted by other less constructive and instead potentially damaging temptations.choosing a secondary school

It’s also a good idea to try to think through other basic elements of a secondary school that may prove daunting to a child of near secondary school age and to discuss it with them – whether that’s the practical journey of how they will get to school (which is after all now more likely to be unaccompanied) or the fears of getting lost in a school that will after all be on a scale they have ever encountered before.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

The decision on primary school is likely to have proved tough for you and your decision this time around will be equally as hard but again don’t be afraid to ask questions. And this time you don’t have someone just out of nappies to discuss the options with but someone who sooner than you may like is going to be your own little adult. Choose wisely.




About Liz Morrell

About Liz Morrell

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