How to get the most from a school open daySeptember 7, 2016
Farlington School is holding its Open Morning on Saturday 17th September. Visitors will be able to hear an address by the Headmistress Ms Louise Higson and the Prep Headmistress Mrs Frances Mwale, have a guided tour of the school and grounds, and meet key members of staff.
The morning will feature a hockey and netball festival, a modern languages café, a textiles workshop, a jazz workshop, Forest School and Duke of Edinburgh activities and cookery classes, to name but a few.
Open Mornings can sometimes be intimidating for parents, so here Ms Higson offers some words of advice on how to get the most from such an event.
“Research before the event is vital; the internet is a valuable source in the first instance and, by looking in detail at different school websites, you can begin to build a picture of whether a particular school is right for you. Telephone the school and ask to speak to the Registrar in the Admissions Office who should be able to give you detailed information about the School’s admission policies, when Entrance Exams take place, or indeed, if there are opportunities to apply for Scholarships. The Registrar should also be able to send you a copy of the School’s Prospectus which, in conjunction with the website, will provide a greater insight into your chosen schools. At this point it would be sensible to create a shortlist of potential schools which you would like to visit. It is also prudent to check that the logistics are practical, both in terms of the fees and how your child will travel to school.
“On the day – what are your first impressions? Are the buildings and grounds well maintained? Does the Head meet you personally? Are the staff friendly and welcoming? What are the pupils like – do they smile, say hello, are they engaged in their lessons? When you visit, make sure you are offered a tour of the school, ideally with one or two of the existing pupils. If possible, start your tour with the year group where your child is currently, and make a comparison between their current school and what is on offer. Work your way around the campus and up through the year groups making sure you concentrate not only on the academia, but also all those activities which enrich the curriculum, such as Sport, Music, Drama and Art. Ask what the school offers by way of clubs and extra-curricular activities, and are these included within the fees? Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have about the school.
“Choosing a school is very similar to buying a house; you will have certain basic criteria but often, assuming those criteria are met, it comes down to how a school ‘feels’. I suggest you ask for a couple of taster days so that your child has the opportunity to spend time with their peer group, experience lessons and get a true impression of whether the school suits them.
“Ultimately your decision will be based on what is right for your child as an individual. At the right school they will feel happy, successful and confident to pursue their ambitions.”
To register for Farlington’s Open Morning on Saturday 17th September at 10am, please contact Farlington’s Registrar on 01403 282 573 or visit www.farlingtonschool.net.