Need to find a school for junior this September? You’d better get your skates on before the end of term. But what, exactly, are you looking for? It may be stating the obvious but every child is different. What suits next door’s maths whiz who can’t stand sports may not sit well with your bouncing bundle of energy who’s a footie fanatic. Maybe your child is particularly talented in one area or needs some extra guidance in others. Does the school cater to those differences? To make sure you don’t come away with that, ‘Oh, I forgot to ask…’ feeling, cut out this school quiz.
Do the students look happy and interested?
Are staff speaking to and treating students with respect?
Is the decor welcoming and attractive?
Is there evidence of children’s work around the school and classroom?
Is there a designated, shaded outdoor play area for younger children?
Is there a field area for sports or other outdoor activities?
Is there an auditorium for assemblies and drama or music productions?
Is there a swimming pool?
Is there a designated canteen and does it offer a healthy menu?
Is there a well-stocked library with books for different ages and purposes?
What is the admission policy? Is there an admissions test?
What criteria will determine whether my child can attend this school?
Is there a waiting list?
What is the curriculum?
Is the school accredited/affiliated with an organisation that controls standards/teaching practices?
How is technology used to support learning?
Are there services for students with special learning requirements?
For all ages
Do children have the same teacher for all their subjects? Which subjects are taught by specialist teachers?
How many breaks do students get in the school day?
How much homework is expected per day?
What’s the maximum number of children per class?
Is there a teaching assistant in the classroom?
What after-school activities are available?
As they get older
What approaches are used for teaching?
Are classes streamed for ability levels?
How often are students tested? Are there standardised tests and/or exams?
What are the obligatory subjects?
How many electives can a student take?
How does the school prepare students for college/university?
How many students go on to further education?
Is there a guidance counsellor/adviser who directs students in their course and university selection?
What they’ll need from you
When enrolling your child at school, you’ll need the following:
School application form
Copies of student’s and parents’ passports, including a copy of the visa for non GCC nationals
Recent passport photos of the student (have at least four)
Current vaccination record and medical history from birth
School reports for the last one or two years
Copy of any diagnostic testing oreducational assessment (if applicable)
An application/registration fee and possibly an assessment fee