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How to choose the best school for your son

Choosing a school for your son is, undeniably, a crucial decision. The substantial advantage that is afforded from attending a private school ought not be ignored.

When it comes to comparing private schools ­there is more to it than parent preference. Realise that you are choosing a school for him, not for youThe following is a short list of qualities to look for when making your decision. Here’s how to choose the best school for your son.

Location

The location of a school plays an important part in your decision making. This affects how your son will get to and from school – will he ride, catch the bus, be dropped off or perhaps board? Beyond the logistics of commuting, location can also affect the diversity of the student population, culture and environment.

Academic performance

The academic performance of school leavers, is often touted as the ‘be all and end all’ of schooling. Whilst it may factor into your schooling choices, do not let this be the only driver in your choice. Academic output does not necessarily reflect student and staff wellbeing. Choose a school that empowers and equips your son to follow his passions, achieve his best and develop a lifelong love of learning. Higher grades are an added by-product that will come from his increased engagement at school.

Student population diversity

Exposure to students of different backgrounds and ethnicities is important in creating a holistic upbringing for your son. A school with a diverse student population opens your son’s mind to different cultures and mindsets, and helps him to adapt to different people and situations. Student population diversity can also help students develop into conscientious and empathetic adults.

Co-curricular offerings

Learning is not restricted to the classroom. Parents should investigate a school’s co-curricular offerings and look for signs of a more holistic approach to education. Choose a school with broad and deep understandings of various co-curricular activities to enhance learning in a multitude of ways. These opportunities can develop vital characteristics such as leadership, team work and social skills.

Music and sporting facilities

Great facilities are not essential for learning to happen – but they do help. A music auditorium with great acoustics can push your son further on his musical journey; the same applies for well-maintained sporting grounds and equipment. This can also give you peace of mind knowing that a school has the resources to safely and effectively educate your child.

Discipline policy

The discipline policy of a school should align with your own community and family values. The policy should also instil a respect for self and others and align with the school’s values, mission and vision. This is a sign that the school operates beyond the curriculum and strives to develop the whole child.

Teachers

Teaching excellence should be a high priority for schools. Look for a school that recruits high calibre staff and provides opportunities for their teachers to do regular professional development. You may want to reconsider your first choice if quality of teaching and care is not evidently a priority of the school.

Alumni network

The crucial component of any alumni network is its longevity. An advantage to having a solid alumni network is the inspirational and highly competent mentors that your son will be able to connect with in meaningful ways.

Co-educational or single sex?

The co-educational versus single sex decision is one that is fundamental when choosing a school for your son. Typically parents face conflicting advice when deciding to send their child to a single sex or coeducational school. When making your decision, it’s worth considering that boys tend to perform better when amongst other male peers and generally have different ways of learning to girls. Whichever school you choose should have already considered these points and catered for them.

Value for money

When deciding whether a school is value for money or not, you should consider the level of wellbeing and sense of security that your son will have. Weigh up all the qualities discussed in this blog and this will help you to work out whether the fees add up when compared with what your son will have at his fingertips.

Download a copy of the Scots publication Excellence and discover what a Scots education can do for your son.

Excellence at Scots 2017 landscape

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