What Questions to Ask At A School Open Day

Disclosure - This is a collaborative post 

I can't believe in just a few days little J will be back to school and will begin his final year in primary school. Time has flown and I feel like secondary school visits and applications have come round too soon. We have a few secondary school visits booked in for September and he is looking forward to seeing the school and I am getting ready to ask lots of questions

From past experience with our eldest a school open day is a good chance to ask plenty of questions to staff, teachers, and the headmaster of the school. I found having a list of questions I wanted to ask can helped alleviate the pressure when I needed to strike up a conversation. Questions should always be asked at open days, so here are a few you could consider asking when you head to your next one.

back to school written on a chalk board

What Are The Class Sizes Like?

Typically the smaller the class size the more time teachers will have to individually talk to each student and gain a better understanding of what they need from each lesson. This is also a good time to talk through with teachers how much your child will appreciate this extra time together, whether it is to receive better pastoral care or academic support.

What Is Your Teaching Style Like?

While many teachers will be taught and guided by the school, particularly in private school settings, each member of staff will still have their own personal touches to their teaching. If you are able to talk to the teacher most likely to be guiding your child through their studies, you can ask them how they approach teaching and what benefits the students the most. Don’t be too afraid with what the answers could be - every teacher is different but there will also be many similarities.

What Clubs and Activities Are On Offer At This School?

A school should have a wide variety of clubs and extra-curricular activities for their students in order for them to truly thrive. This is where your child has the opportunity to explore real passions, and that will help them in their confidence. So, ask the staff what really is on offer at the school or what is coming up in the next academic year at the school. There may be new clubs and societies being organised for the following year, or the freedom for students to make their own organisation.

school grounds

How Do You Handle Stressed or Overwhelmed Children?

Especially in a school that handles younger students, schools have a duty of care to provide. There will be pastoral care, for instance, that props up your child as they navigate school life. There are also the smaller classroom sizes - your child has a better opportunity to talk to a teacher if they are struggling when the classes are smaller, as they’ve developed a better relationship together. Talk to teachers about their approaches in these situations, as they can also shape what you believe is the best choice for your child.

One thing I would also recommend is to not delay on organising an open day. You need to be prepared for the season when many parents will want to take their children to an oversubscribed school, or an illustrious private school. If you are looking in the Essex area, Essex secondary school open days are under way very soon for the next cohort of students.

Hopefully if your child is looking to start secondary school in 2024 then you will have been or planned in some visits to local schools. It's the best way to get an actual feel for the school and the staff. When we looked with our eldest he knew straight away the school he wanted just from a few minutes inside. Others take longer so don't hesitate in asking for another visit as it's a very important decision and you need to make sure you are confident in your choice. 

Good Luck


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