Finding the school that best suits your child

This is one of your most important decisions as a parent. Finding the right school for your family and your child is about more than just academic excellence. There are many other factors that are critical to enabling your child to reach their full potential as well. That means you also need to take into account the school’s values and ethos and how they fit with your own, the ways the school helps your child to explore and build character and how they support the general wellbeing and happiness of each child.

Navigating your choices

There are almost 2,500 independent schools in the UK from the big names to some little-known gems. That makes for a daunting choice, no matter whether you have a reasonably clear idea of what you’re looking for or are new to the British independent school system.

The SLT School Finder – your starting point on an exciting journey

This document contains the personal shortlist of schools which you’ve drawn together from our School Finder. You’ll be able to read what each school says about themselves, assess them side-by-side, and then consider which ones you might like to investigate further. There’s a lot to think about; not least decisions around day school or boarding school, single sex or co-ed, close to home or further away.

Next Steps

Once you’ve narrowed the list down to just a handful of schools we encourage you to visit each one. A visit is a great opportunity to find out more about the school environment and how that will enable your child to fulfil their academic and personal potential.

We’ve put together a helpful list of things to consider when making your choices, along with some suggestions for questions to ask during school visits. You’ll find this list at the end of this document, with more helpful information in our ‘Advice for parents’ blogs on our website.

How to get more help

The SLT team is always on hand to give advice and is expert at helping families like yours, from the UK and from around the world. We use our in-depth knowledge of schools and nurseries to help you find the right one – the one that best suits your child and your family. We can also advise on admissions processes, help with preparation for entrance tests and more. If you’d like our support just email or call us on +44 (0)20 7350 1981.

Your Chosen Schools

In this brochure, you can find further information on the following schools:

Choosing a School

– Key things to think about:

We’ve highlighted just a few important points here. You’ll find lots more information and helpful answers to common questions in our ‘Advice for Parents’ blogs. There’s a lot to consider so, if you’d like a little more help, just get in touch with our education consultants. They’re experts at supporting families like yours with decisions just like these.

Why are school visits so important?

You can get a lot of information from a prospectus or a telephone conversation with a registrar or head teacher. However few things can replace the experience of walking the grounds, seeing how pupils interact with each other and their teachers in the classroom, and meeting the teachers who might be responsible for educating and supporting your child.

The school visit is your opportunity to meet staff and pupils, ask questions and get a feel for the atmosphere of the school. It’s a chance for your child to experience the environment and give their own feedback too. The right school should welcome your questions, give you comprehensive answers and encourage your child to feel a part of the process from the start.

Are school reviews relevant?

While ‘insider’ information from parents’ forums and school review publications can be illuminating, it is often highly subjective, or commercial in its relationship with the school. It should never be relied upon in isolation. We suggest keeping your research as objective as possible – it’s one of the reasons we place so much emphasis on school visits.

Day school or boarding school?

It’s a big question and the answer will depend on each individual child as much as it does on family circumstances. Boarding can be the perfect solution for families who live abroad or where there are no good schools within easy reach. It can also allow children to make the most of academic, sporting, music or other facilities they might otherwise not be able to access. In other circumstances maintaining a close connection to home makes the right day school the best option.

Thankfully the choice is no longer quite so binary as many schools, particularly those closer to London, now also offer weekly boarding or flexi-boarding. These arrangements can offer increased flexibility and more time at home alongside the immersive education, campus-style facilities and other benefits that boarding can offer.

Single sex or co-ed?

There have been many attempts to answer this question, but the debate rages on. Do boys do better when educated alongside their female peers? Are girls more likely to get more involved in sports and STEM subjects without boys around? Or, as the Scandinavian experience suggests, do both boys and girls do just as well academically when they’ve spent their early years learning to socialise with the opposite sex? Family dynamics also come into play – for example, do you want all your children to be able to go to the same school?

In most cases, the right answer comes down to the individual child and that’s why we spend so much time learning about your family and your child so we can suggest schools that will be right for you all.

Are a school’s results the most important thing to consider?

Surprisingly a school’s general performance can be largely irrelevant to how well your child might do. So, no matter how tempting it might be to judge a school on its league table position, you need to look deeper. Factors such as fit with the school, wellbeing, happiness and baseline IQ are far more likely to have an impact on your child’s results. Your own relationship with the school is also important, as is the school’s ability to really understand how your child learns best and what makes them thrive academically and pastorally. It’s important to question your chosen schools on all these points to work out which school will be the best match for your child.

The value of extra-curricular activities

Part of the appeal a private education is the range of extra-curricular activities and the high standard of facilities available. These activities play an important part in developing your child into a well-rounded, self-motivated character.

If you or your child are passionate about particular activities, then it’s important to take those into account. Looking beyond the ‘big name’ schools often enables you to discover specialist options that will nurture and encourage your child’s interests at every stage. You can search for anything you are particularly interested in School Finder’s, ‘Search Key Term’ filter.

How does good pastoral support make a difference?

Any child, no matter how bright or able, can suffer temporary setbacks along their educational journey. What sets the good schools apart is how they support a child and their family through those times. So ask the ‘what if’ questions during your visit and make sure you’re happy with the answers you receive.

What if my child doesn’t settle into their new school as well as we all hope?

In the long-term results and a well-rounded student are more important than continuity of school. We encourage parents to be brave in situations like this. A move to a new school or a period of home-schooling with the support of a tutor or mentor can often get things quickly back on track.

If you’d like our specialist team to help your family find just the right school:

Next Steps…

Identifying exactly which school will be right for your child and your family will involve more research, school visits and many more questions. Even if you’ve already chosen a school, advice on the admissions process and entrance tests can be incredibly helpful.

If you’d like assistance with that journey, Simply Learning Tuition is well-placed to help. We know the schools, have met with many of the senior staff, students and parents and our education consultants include head teachers and heads of sixth-form , who really do know the system better than anyone else. The result is a strong team that can support you, share their knowledge, simplify the process for you and provide practical guidance on everything from nursery placements through to preparatory and senior school placements.

To find out how we could help your family find just the right school:

Our education consultancy service includes:

  • Giving an overview of the British education system (for both UK and overseas families).
  • Meeting with you and your child to learn about your hopes and expectations for your child’s education as well as any practical considerations that need to be taken into account. Your family values and how you’d like to see them reflected in the schools you choose are also important.
  • Identifying any areas where additional tutoring or other support might be useful – for example to address language or curriculum gaps for international students. We have specialist tutors to cover all levels: 7 +, 11 +, 13 +, Ukiset, 16 + and all national exam subjects.
  • Shortlisting nursery, pre-prep, prep or senior schools that should be a good match for your child.
  • Advising on admissions pathways and procedures, managing deadlines, deposits and other entry requirements.
  • Supporting your child with entrance test and interview preparations.
  • Organising visits to each school and completing all of the admissions paperwork

Each individual family is different so we tailor our consultancy services accordingly. Many families ask us to manage the whole process on their behalf. For others we provide specific support at certain stages along the way. In all cases we understand that discretion and sensitivity are key.

Please contact us to find out more.

Simply Learning Tuition takes no responsibility for inaccuracies within this guide. Any data you provide is protected by our privacy policy.
+44 (0)20 7350 1981

17 Kensington Court Place
W8 5BJ


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