Why get your child into the best school possible?

The best school has better teachers, better students, better resources, a better environment, and is more likely to help your child fulfill their potential – this is a fundamental fact. Choosing the best school for your child (one with a selection exam like the CAT4 or 11+) is one of the best things you can do for the future of your children.

One technique which teachers are trained to use is to create mixed ability classes – this is great for the weaker students since they’ll hopefully learn off the brighter students – but the smarter students will end up lowering their level to the other students. Now you may say that the smarter student may not be effected since the act of teaching and supporting increases understanding – true – but what if the other students simply are disruptive and not focused on what’s been taught… who loses? Your child.

In a selective school – one where the CAT4 or 11+ is used as an entrance exam – the children will all be similar in their abilities and attitudes towards work. It can be safely said that the range of abilities will be not as broad thus any working groups will all be at a similar level and rather than drag each other down the group will grow and learn together.

What are the success factors for life success?

Lessons from the longest study on human development and the factors which contribute towards wellbeing using various dimensions such as education, wealth, health, longevity, quality of life etc… concluded that if your child is in an environment that provides high expectations, with an active interest from the parents then the likelihood of their success in later life increases. Wealth of course is another factor but something many of us are limited with, so the home environment and your conversations with your children are things you can control. The other significant factor to your child’s future success is the school your child goes to – so make sure you select the best one possible.

4 Questions To Ask Your Child Daily

Picture of a tree its reflection in a large lake - represents reflection as a key driver to learning both knowledge and cognitive abilities as measured by the CAT4 which will help get into the best school.
Learning Through Reflection

Everyday since year 1 I always asked my children the following questions:

  1. What did you achieve today?
  2. What did you enjoy and why?
  3. What didn’t you enjoy and why?
  4. What could you have changed to have made it a better day?

Triggering this type of critical thinking in your child helps them reflect and improve – ultimately all you want in for your child to continue improving and pushing to fulfill their potential. By taking the above approach all you’re doing is triggering your child to make changes – improvements – to their own behaviour and approach. The hope is this becomes second nature and even as adults they will continue this practice.

What does your child need? And what do you need?

Some children are more structured and organized while others more creative. Every child is different and you need to really understand the type of environment your child will flourish in. One of my children are extremely social and outspoken so for her I looked for a school with an emphasis on English, drama, and other creative skills. Another child may be very sporty in which case you need to ensure the school has a focus on sports – holds sports events – and is well resourced. If your child needs extra attention then the best school for this child would be one that has support structures in place for a student requiring individual attention, or has special needs that need to be met.

The best school you choose obviously will have to be located close by – preferably walking distance! There is no point in looking at schools half way across the country unless you are will to move in which case location is not a factor. Don’t forget to factor in after school activities – this one throws a lot of parents especially when their are siblings who don’t have activities on the same days. You want to make life easy for yourself but want the best school possible.

Click here to view the list I created of some of the best schools in the country and their admission requirements.

How to choose the best school possible?

When choosing the best school possible you need to take a structure approach:

  1. Research schools in your area – find out as much as you can about each use their websites and also if they are private or public and do they use admission exams like the CAT4 or 11 Plus.
  2. Compare what each have to offer – different opportunities in different catchment areas.
  3. Visit the school – ask about past achievements, extracurricular activates, teacher experience, school ethos, class sizes, total student count, do they have space
  4. Student success – ask or try to find out how well children do after leaving the school. How many go to university? Which universities? Which courses? Which careers?
  5. Talk with parents – this will give you a real insight into everyday school life and what sort of challenges other parents have faced.

You need to have an environment which is conducive to growth, one that encourages and motivates – an environment which provides the opportunity for your child the achieve the very best possible – that’s all we parents really want – our child fulfill their potential.

Click here for a list of some of the best schools by GCSE.