THE final step between your child and their future is their secondary school. Granted it’s quite a long final step, but choosing the right school can have a big impact on their adult lives.

If you’re still undecided on where to send your child, here are some things to consider before you make a decision.

School visit – utilise last year of primary

Most primary schools offer Year 6 pupils transition days – a trip to the ‘big school’ to help them get a feel for the place. Going from the oldest in one school to the youngest of a new one can be daunting it’ll be good to let your know become familiar with the site and meet a few teachers along the way.

Ofsted reports – check out the ratings

Schools are inspected regularly and graded between one and four – with one being outstanding, two being good, three being requires improvement, and four being inadequate. Keep these grades in mind when choosing a school, but don’t rely solely on Ofsted’s ratings as a deciding factor.

League tables – where does the school stand?

As well as the Ofsted reports, the school’s standing on the league tables should be taken into consideration. Visit – the government’s performance site – to find out how the school you’re looking at fares. But again, when choosing the school, don’t just rely on this information as a determining factor.

Word of mouth – are other parents happy?

Ask around. If you know other parents who send their children to the same school, ask what they think. Are their kids happy? Do they think their children are being challenged enough? If there’s anything wrong, they’ll undoubtedly tell you.

After school – what do they offer?

Find out what the school offers as extra-curricular activities. Is your child particularly sporty? See they have adequate facilities and training after school. Does your child enjoy drama? Ask about an after-school theatre club. Be sure the school can help your child grow with their hobbies as well as their academic learning.

What are your child’s strengths – will this school help them flourish?

Some schools will have a stronger focus on certain subjects. For example one school may be known for its arts or school productions (and all the subjects that go with it – such as art and design technology for stage construction, through to music and drama for the performances) where as others may excel in maths and science. Find out which school shines in what subjects and chose according to your child’s strengths to help them get the most out of their education.