Why Hulme

Choosing the right senior school for your child

Choosing the right senior school for your child

As a parent you will be keen to ensure that the choices you make for and with your child when it comes to their education are just right for them (and you).

You may be considering whether to look at state-funded or private schools, single sex or co-educational, boarding or day schools.  The options may seem endless once you start the search. 

Start with your child not with the league tables

It’s a good idea to start with your child as the centre of the thought process.  What do they like?  What sort of environment do you know they thrive in?  What you perceive to be the ‘best school’, based on league tables or exam results, may not be the best for your child.  Where do their passions and aspirations lie, and can your chosen school fire their imagination and stretch their talents to get the best out of them?

Science, Maths, Languages, Literature, Sport, Art – what are they good at, what do they enjoy?

Sit down with your child and talk with them about what they like doing at their current school, during their spare time, and what they might like to try in the future.  If your child is academically bright and sees themselves as the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, there will be a school for them.  Or perhaps they excel in sport, are endlessly creative, or are a general ‘all-rounder’.  There’ll be a school for them too.  You may be surprised that the school you thought was your first choice is surpassed by another more suited to your child.

A whole school approach – atmosphere, ethos and practicalities

When it comes to choosing the right senior school, the whole school should be under your spotlight.  Are the teaching staff motivated specialists who will inspire your child? How much of an emphasis does the school place on pastoral care? Will the facilities provide your child with the experience they want? Will their journey to and from school be relatively easy? What is the school’s provision around special educational needs? How do they cater for gifted and talented students? How involved in school life are parents expected to be?  You will have your own questions, and they should go a lot further than a school’s exam results or their place in the league tables we hear so much about.

Seeing the school in action, meet the people

Going to see several schools is always a good idea, to provide an opportunity to compare and contrast.  You’ll get a ‘feel’ for a school by being in its buildings and grounds and you can test your pre-conceptions and expectations of what the school is like.

A visit will mean that you will get to meet the Head, teaching staff, admissions staff and also current pupils.  The best advocates for a school are often the current pupils and they’ll tell you what the marketing material won’t!  If they’re doing it right, there will be pupils from across the year groups so you can see your own child’s peer group, and also the ‘finished product’.

A checklist of things to consider when choosing schools for your long and short lists

  • Good academic results 
  • Excellent prospects for future education, e.g. university
  • Traditional vs more relaxed 
  • Good pastoral care
  • Small class sizes
  • Breadth of curriculum
  • Is the school commute manageable?
  • What facilities are there?
    • Swimming pool
    • Sports Pitches
    • Dedicated Art Centre
    • Modern Science Laboratories
    • Performance space
    • Other (add your own items)
  • What extra-curricular activities would you like your child to have access to?
    • Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
    • Combined Cadet Force
    • Young Enterprise Scheme
    • Clubs and Societies
    • Sports teams – football, rugby, netball, etc
    • Music lessons
    • Drama Club
    • Other (add your own items)
  • Scholarships or Bursaries (for fee paying schools only)
  • Encouragement of parental involvement
  • Impressive Head and teaching staff
  • Impressive current students
  • Does the school ‘feel’ right when you visit?
  • Active in the local community
  • Other (add your own items)

At Hulme Grammar School we offer a traditional education in a supportive environment with a focus on personal development through our extensive extra-curricular programme.  If you are curious to see how we match with the checklist, explore our website at www.ohgs.co.uk and/or email our Admissions Officer Sarah Summers at admissions@hulmegrammar.org to arrange a tour of the school.