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What to Look for When Looking for a School: A Guide for Parents

Choosing the right school for your child is a pivotal decision that can influence their academic journey and overall development. As educational consultants, we understand the weight of this decision and aim to provide a comprehensive guide to help parents navigate the process. Here are some factors to consider:

Practical Considerations

  • Location: The distance between your home and the school 
  • Transportation: Consider the commute and transport options to and from school
  • Affordability: Tuition fees, debentures, capital levies, cost of boarding, misc costs
  • School Infrastructure: The educational and extracurricular infrastructure should support a conducive learning environment

Academic Excellence and Curriculum

  • Holistic Curriculum: Look for a school that has a focus on core subjects, but also offers holistic opportunities. More schools are integrating into their curricula with the now-important 21st century skills (like STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) to prepare students for the future)
  • Individual Achievement: It’s important that the school measures and supports individual student achievement and progress. It is also about celebrating their achievements and progress
  • Faculty Qualifications: The educational qualifications and experience of the faculty are crucial for delivering quality education
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: A lower student-teacher ratio can mean more individualised attention for your child. Most local schools in Hong Kong, for example, can have classes of over 30 students. International schools can have classes of around 20-25 students

School Philosophy and Educational Approach

  • Educational Philosophy: Understanding the school’s educational philosophy  can help you determine if it’s the right fit for your child
  • Innovative Learning: Schools that embrace technology and innovative learning methods can provide an edge in today’s digital world

Extracurricular and Personal Development

  • Extra-curricular Activities: Schools should offer a variety of extra-curricular activities to foster personal interests and talents. If your child has specific interests you want to help foster, some schools will have more robust extracurricular activities than others
  • Sports and Arts: Programs in art, music, and sports can teach discipline and creativity, and engage students more deeply in their education
  • Personal Growth: Look for opportunities within the school for personal development and character building

School Environment and Culture

  • Community and Culture: The school should have a nurturing community and operate with a culture that aligns with your family’s values
  • Safety: A safe environment is non-negotiable. Ensure the school has policies and infrastructure in place to keep students secure, especially actions against bullying and discrimination
  • Inclusivity and Diversity: A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion can enrich your child’s educational experience
  • Well-being and Mental Health: The school should prioritise student well-being and mental health, offering support where needed

Parental Involvement and Communication

  • Parent-Teacher Communication: Good communication between parents, teachers, and management is essential for supporting your child’s education. You’ll find that some schools have better communication structures with parents
  • Parental Involvement: The school’s approach to involving parents in the learning journey can enhance the educational experience. This usually comes in the form of PTA’s (Parent-Teacher Associations) where parents are invited to have a say in school activities and student developmental directions

Long-Term Success and Preparation

  • Future Preparation: A school committed to preparing students for higher education and careers is looking at the long-term success of its students
  • Continuous Improvement: A school that is committed to continuous improvement and innovation is likely to provide a dynamic and up-to-date education

Additional Factors

  • School Size and Structure: The size and structure of the school can impact the learning experience and should be considered
  • Learning Atmosphere: The overall learning atmosphere, including social activities, should be positive and conducive to learning
  • Global Perspective: A global perspective and cultural awareness in the curriculum can prepare students for an interconnected world

Involving Your Child

  • Child’s Input: It’s beneficial to involve your child in the decision-making process to ensure they feel comfortable and excited about their new school

Staying Informed

  • Educational Trends: Parents should commit to staying informed about current educational trends to make the best decisions for their children

Conclusion

Selecting the right school for your child involves a careful balance of academic, cultural, and practical considerations. By taking into account the factors listed above, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your child’s needs and your family’s values. 

Remember, the goal is to find a school where your child can thrive academically, socially, and personally, setting them up for a bright future.

If you’re looking for the best fit of schools around Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada – our educational consultant Jessica Yuen has over 9 years of experience in helping families find the right educational journeys for their children. You can shoot us a message here.

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