Just two years ago I was at my wits’ end, unable to decide which school to send my son to. I was down to my last two schools, but could not decide between them.
A friend suggested touring the schools. But why? What could I possibly glean from a school tour that I hadn’t already from my research and inquiries? Despite my hesitation, I obliged and begrudgingly booked myself in at both schools.
It turned out to be the best decision I made. Here are four reasons why school tours are important.
Meet the people who will educate your childThis is one of the most important reasons for attending a school tour. The staff are the people in charge of your child’s education. They will spend long periods of time with your child and will have a fundamental impact on their development. Staff profiles and qualifications only show what degrees a teacher has. Nothing beats seeing a teacher in action for an indication of their passion, work ethic and rapport with students.
See student engagement in the classroomsYour child’s peers are a strong influencing factor during their school life. If other students at the school are motivated, engaged and focused on their studies, it’s likely your child will be too. On the flip side, if classes are distracted and disinterested, children are unlikely to be reaching their full potential. This may also be an indication of teachers being under too much pressure, large class sizes or a lack of behaviour management policies.
Observe the school’s facilities
It’s hard to assess a school’s grounds and facilities by simply visiting their website. There might be limited photos of facilities available on the school’s website and sometimes the photos can be misleading. How many times have you inspected a property that doesn’t quite live up to its listing photos? It’s difficult to gauge online the condition and how well-equipped a school’s facilities are. It’s important to get a feel for the school in person so you can assess whether it would be the right fit for your child. If you are considering boarding or if your child is gifted in subjects such as sports or science, it’s particularly important that you tour specific departments or school areas firsthand.
School tours provide the opportune moment to ask staff all your burning questions in one go. Rather than wait for replies to your emails, or engage in lengthy phone conversations that seem to go nowhere, some questions are better answered in person. If you’re attending a group tour, you are often able to gain additional knowledge from questions that other parents ask.
School tours take the guess work out of finding the right fit for your child. Often the best school stands out immediately after you have toured the grounds in person. Your child will spend at least a quarter of their weekdays there so it’s a wise investment of your time to visit the school yourself.
Need some help choosing a school for your child? Download our step-by-step comprehensive guide today.