Schools in Sussex

CHOOSING a school for your child is possibly the most important decision you will make as a parent.
Get it right and you put them on a path towards enjoying learning, a good college and a successful career – after all their time at school should be the best years of their life.

But where do you start? There are so many good schools in Sussex it may appear to be an easy decision, but what is a good school for one child may not be right for yours.

These days there are so many different types of schools in Sussex to choose from. Community schools are owned and run by the local authority; foundation and trust schools are run by a governing body and the land and buildings are either owned by the governing body or a charitable foundation; voluntary-aided schools are religious or faith schools whilst voluntary-controlled schools see the local authority employ staff while the land and buildings are owned by charity.

Then there are specialist schools which mean they have an extra emphasis on certain subjects; academies are independently managed schools set up by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups and free schools are normally brand new schools set up by teachers, parents, charities, community or faith groups where there is a parental demand.

Add into this mix private/independent/public schools and there are plenty of schools in Sussex to choose from.
Whatever type of school you are looking at the same considerations apply – you need to find the one that is ideal for your child.

Choosing a school is a process of elimination so it is vital you see several. If the first school you visit feels right make sure you see others to confirm this.

Why not create a wish list of what you would like when you start looking at all the schools in Sussex. Consider what is important to you and your child. This could include location, before and after school provision, sport facilities, help with learning difficulties, support for gifted and talented children, the variety of choirs, orchestras, ensembles and after school clubs available or its religious outlook.

Look at the different schools’ Ofsted reports to find out how they are performing and also take a look at the League Tables which are published annually by the government’s Department for Education and show test and exam results, allowing you to compare schools in Sussex against each other.

Both of these can be helpful but don’t give you the full picture so it is vital you visit the schools on your shortlist. There are two ways to do this – contact the school and arrange your own personal visit or go to an open day.
Take your child with you as they will see things from a child’s perspective. Talk to the children at the school – do they seem happy and motivated? They are the best ambassadors for any school. Look at the work on display, does it represent all abilities and show that the school values every child?

Don’t forget to talk to other parents too – they can give you an honest opinion of what day to day life is like in the school.
Finally, go with your gut instinct. Did you walk into the school and feel at home? Did you leave the visit feeling positive and upbeat? It has to feel right for your child.

Taking all that into account should help you wade your way through the plethora of fantastic schools in Sussex to choose from and hopefully help you make the right choice for your child.