The Value of Open Days

ISC independent schools are ranked among the best in the world and educate more than 500,000 children in the UK – here the organisation offers some advice in choosing the right school for your child…

Making a decision about which school to send your child can seem a daunting prospect. Each independent school differs hugely from the next and that is why attending open days is so important – allowing you to gain insight into a school’s individual character and ethos.

During an open day, there are many points to consider. In making the decision about which school to send your child, the Independent Schools Council (ISC) offers the following guidance:

Chat and ask questions

Prospective parents and pupils are given the opportunity to visit a school during a working day. You are able to listen in to lessons and chat with pupils and teachers about their school. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, particularly of pupils – what do they like about the school, how does the school suit their needs?

Consider your child’s views as well as your own

Make sure you take your child with you when visiting schools – it is important to consider his or her thoughts too. Often, children see things from a different perspective, noting things you may have missed. At the same time, help your child to see the positives.

Be perceptive

Look around – do the pupils seem happy and at ease in their school environment? Are pupils polite, respectful and engaged? Look out for noticeboards and displays. Are there displays showcasing pupils’ work and do these represent a broad range of ability? This may not seem hugely important but, in fact, is a great way to ascertain what a school’s values are.

Is this school suitable?

The ISC represents over 1,300 schools across the UK and these schools are ranked among the best in the world. These schools have unique strengths and specialities. For example some schools might be very good at sport, others art and music, and others character development. When visiting a school you should look out for its particular areas of strength. Does it cater for your child’s needs? You might have a very academic child and so considering a selective school may be a good option.

Make a follow up appointment

An open day allows you to build an impression of what type of school is on offer. So, if you are happy with what you see, book a follow-up appointment with the school. This will give you the opportunity to speak more personally with the headteacher or registrar and provide another chance to ask any further questions or raise worries you might have.

Our schools offer a bespoke education to pupils, giving them the very best start in life.

Try to enjoy the day and, most importantly, trust your instincts.

About ISC

To find out more about the ISC please visit