Education Blog

Question: How can I be sure I am choosing the right school for my daughter? 

The Telegraph, 27 May 2016 – Read the article in full here.


Vivienne Durham:  From day one, all schools are subjected to inspection

Please give yourself a pat on the back:  nothing is more important than choosing the right school for your child.

I’m sorry to hear your daughter is not happy and nothing is more guaranteed to induce real worry than seeing your daughter (or son) miserable at school. As the adage goes, “Parents are as happy as their unhappiest child.”

Have you had an opportunity to discuss your daughter’s unhappiness with a senior member of staff at her current school?

Before accepting a place at another school, it might be wise to try to understand what has made your daughter unhappy, since her teachers and peers seem fond of her and she is out-going and confident.

Has something happened at school which your daughter has not mentioned to you? Could there be any concerns about bullying?

Congratulations on your tenacity in achieving a Year 3 place for your daughter at a newly established prep school.

Trust your instincts: if the new prep school inspires confidence in you, it is likely to be the right move for your daughter.

Your concerns about transferring your daughter to a school in which she will be a pioneer are understandable, but likely to be unfounded.

From day one, all schools are subjected to inspection and have to meet stringent criteria laid down by the Department for Education (DfE).  Also, small schools tend to excel in nurturing their pupils and in strengthening self-esteem. 

I assume you have visited this potential new prep school a couple of times and had an opportunity to meet the head teacher, in person?  If not, before accepting a place, I would request a meeting with the head and voice your concerns about a successful transfer for your daughter from a bustling state school.

A good school – new or not – should want to understand what has caused your daughter to be unhappy in her last school and seek to allay your anxieties.

Trust your instincts: if the new prep school inspires confidence in you, it is likely to be the right move for your daughter and a “risk” worth taking. 

Vivienne Durham, schools advisory director at Enjoy Education and former head at Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park

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