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The school we decide to send our children to has a huge impact on the lives they will lead.
Along with education and job prospects, it will also influence their hobbies and friendships.
Choosing the right school and the application process can be an extremely stressful time for parents.
Ofsted Reports, Application Forms, SAT, GCSE and Leaderboards can take over your life, and before long you will likely know each school’s catchment area like the back of your hand.
It’s such an important decision, so we have to make sure we make it perfectly.
How old are the children when they start school?
Most children start school at the start of the school year in which they will turn five.
If your child has been allocated a place in school (see below), he can start from September after his fourth birthday.
All children aged 5 to 16 are legally entitled to a free place in a public school.
Can my child start school later?
Parents can request that their child be retained for one school year if these two conditions apply:
- they were born between April 1 and August 31
- parent does not believe they are ready to start in September after turning four
If successful, it would be me who could start school in September after their fifth birthday.
You can request permission by contacting your local council.
Some schools offer two admissions to reception depending on the date of the child’s birthday.
How do I know if my child is ready for school?
There is no set test for this. You know your child best, so you are the best person to decide if they are ready.
According to BabyCentre, there are things that can tell if your child is ready:
How do I prepare my child for school?
There are many things you can do to prepare your child for their big first day in school.
If you are concerned about their social skills, you can take them to organized activities or clubs to get them used to playing with other children.
If you are worried that they will not listen to the teacher, you can play some games with them at home.
Try asking them to do exactly as you say with fun tasks such as pouring water from one cup to another, reports BabyCentre.
What will they learn in school?
All public schools must follow the national curriculum, which means every child across the country learns the same things.
All children will also receive religious education and sex education.
Academies and private schools do not have to follow it, but academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum that includes English, math, science, and religious studies.
What are the key stages?
The national program is divided into year blocks called milestones.
Early childhood – Reception – 4 to 5 years
Milestone 1 – Years 1 and 2 – 5 to 7 years
Milestone 2 – Years 3 to 6 – 7 to 11 years
Key stage 3 – 7 to 9 years – 11 to 14 years
Milestone 4 – Years 10 and 11 – 14 to 16 years
Will they have to take exams or tests?
Yes. All children will be required to take a nation test at the end of each milestone.
At reception, their progress is checked by an evaluation by the teacher.
During the first year, children will participate in a phonetic screening check.
But as he gets older he moves on to more formal tests and exams.
In the second year, when they are six or seven years old, they will take their first official national tests in English, Mathematics and Science.
They will have more exams in the same subjects at the end of Key Stage 2 when they are ten or 11 years old.
How do I know which schools to apply to?
The easiest thing to do is to contact your town hall.
They can give you a list of schools in your area that your toddler may be allowed to attend.
What are the admission criteria?
These are different for each school, but they decide which children will have places.
They are normally defined by the school or board and will be available on the website.
Most schools will prioritize children who:
- lives nearby
- already have a brother or sister at school
- of a particular religion (for denominational schools)
- who do well on an entrance exam (for selective schools, such as high schools or performing schools)
- are taken care of or supported (all schools should have this as a top priority)
- who are entitled to the student bonus
How do I know I’ve chosen the right school?
There are a lot of things you can do to find out more about a school before you enroll.
- Go visit. Most schools will have open houses where you can look around and see some of the teaching to get a better feel for the location.
- Read the Ofsted reports. All schools are regularly visited by Ofsted and information is published online. In addition to the official rating, you can also find out the reasons for their score
- Talk to other parents. You will be able to find people with children who are already in school who should be able to give you an idea of what it really is.
What should I do if I move to another region?
You can also contact your town hall to find out more about schools in other areas.