Here are 10 tips for getting the most from an open day. We hope they're useful to you.
- Take your child with you – you need a child’s eye view as well as your own, and they’ll notice things you miss.
- Think about whether you find the open day chaotic, friendly, efficient or improvised? The organisation of the day’s events can give many clues to the general running of a school.
- Pay attention to the pupils themselves - do they seem happy and motivated? Do they speak positively about their teachers and school-life?– Pupils are the best ambassadors for any school.
- Don’t make decisions based on individual teachers – they may have left by the time your child starts school.
- Don’t get too bogged down in the details - try to get a ‘feel’ for the school atmosphere. Write down your first impressions.
- Feel free to ask questions if you want to, particularly of pupils – what do they think of the teaching – do they enjoy life at the school?
- Look at the work on display. Does it represent a broad range of ability? A school should value every child.
- Does the school offer extra-curricular activities - such as sports and clubs – so your child can develop their interests? This also shows that the teachers are motivated and enthusiastic.
- Find out about the lunch arrangements - are there healthy school meals available and what do they cost?
- Remember - listen to your instincts.