Working Open Mornings are a wonderful opportunity to see a school on a normal working day, and here are some tips to get the most out of your visit:
Ask questions – a prospective parent can never ask enough questions! There are so many important things to consider when choosing the right school, so jot down some of the things you would like to ask before the visit. When touring the school do not hesitate to ask questions as and when they crop up.
Take a notebook – you will be hearing and seeing so much information about all the different areas of the school and there is a lot to take in. Jotting down key points to reflect on afterwards can be very useful.
Pay attention to your journey to school, particularly its duration and public transport availability.
Try to leave any ambiguous preconceptions of what it might be like before you visit – having an open mind when visiting means that you are focusing on and hearing the information that matters as opposed to trying to confirm whether you were right about what it might be like.
Write down first impressions – pay special attention to the greeting you are given, the friendliness and approachability of staff, and the general atmosphere on your arrival.
Pay attention to the relationship between staff and pupils – it is of the utmost importance that pupils and staff have a good rapport and this should be very evident.
Look at the general behaviour of the pupils in the corridors and around school.
Pay attention to pupils at work – take note of how pupils are in the classroom; do they appear to be working hard? Are they happy and relaxed, well-positioned and comfortable? Notice how the classroom is laid out.
Look at the work on display – keep an eye out for work on display in corridors as you move around school. This can give you a good idea of the topics and type of work that children are covering in class.
Enquire about catering and lunchtimes – if your child has food allergies or any relevant medical issues or dietary requirements for religious observation, it is a good idea to ask staff about school lunches and how the school caters for pupils with any special dietary requirements.
Look at outdoor spaces and play areas – all children, but especially younger children, need to burn off some energy after working hard in the classroom, and should be provided with a spacious, secure, creative and pleasant outdoor area and environment in which to spend their break and lunchtimes.
Ask to come back for another visit – visiting as many times as possible can often give you different perspectives of a school depending on which day you visit and at what time of the day. Schools should be keen to work with you and welcome you back as many times as you like to support you in choosing the right school for your child.