Chapter 2: What makes a good fit for your child?

At different ages, students will have different criteria to fill in terms of finding a school, so we’ve come up with this table, which sums up what parents should be looking for when they relocate:

Academics Social
Nursery & Pre-School
If you felt that your child was not challenged enough in their previous nursery, this is a good time to look for somewhere that will prepare them for school.As long as they are busy and enjoying their learning, you should look for a Nursery or Pre-School where they feel comfortable.

As children are still young at this age, it helps if it is close to your house and easily accessible.

At this age, kids are not fussy with who they play with, so their Nursery or Pre-School does not have to be very specific with regards to socialising.However, you should know your child. If they are shy, try to find a Nursery where quiet study and calm play are encouraged, rather than somewhere busy where there are many kids in one year.
Prep School and Primary School
This stage of education is really important, so it’s crucial that you find somewhere your child can continue their academic careers with minor interruption.When looking at schools, make sure they are not too challenging for your child. On top of the move, kids will find it harder to settle in, so don’t push too hard too soon.

The main priority is that your child is familiar with the curriculum and feels at ease when they arrive, so try to find somewhere with a similar ethos to their old school.

In primary school, children will have already made good friends and have a good sense of who they are.Although this means they will be able to settle into a new environment confidently, you should look into schools that make socialising a priority.

After-school clubs and a focus on sports and group activities will always your child to feel settled in, so look into places which focus on these aspects.

Secondary School
At this age, GCSEs and A-Levels are the most important part of a child’s academic career, so you must find a school which caters to their academic needs.Make sure you know what your child is interested in ahead of making their choices, so you can get them into a great secondary school that will help them excel in their favourite subjects. Teens tend to start making their own plans in secondary school, and socialising isn’t really up to parents anymore.For this reason, very big schools can be intimidating, and it’s often advised to send your children to a smaller place, where they will have time to build close relationships quickly.
Sixth Form
Like at secondary school level, A-Level exams should be your priority when looking into Sixth Forms for your child.Remember, it is only 2 years, so it’s important that you make a choice based almost exclusively on academics.

It also helps to find a school where children are supported in their university applications, to make sure your child secures a bright academic future.

Socialising at this age is down to the students.Again, it may help to send your child to a smaller Sixth Form, but in most cases they should be okay, as at 17-18 years old they are mature and confident enough to make close friends.