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Questions to ask when looking at schools

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Location: Buckinghamshire

Questions to ask when looking at schools

Post by Sally-Anne »

The following post was made by LBSWM in response to a question from Snowdrops.

I think it is so magnificent that it deserves it's own Sticky. If there are other questions that you would add to the list, please do post them here, but please restrict any debate to a separate thread, so that this remains an easy-to-read resource for all.



Pupil questions:

how much homework per day do you get?

Is your weekend occupied with homework as well
or do you have time for your out-of-school activites?

Is a11 your cla55work/homework marked?

how easy is it to get into extracurricular groups?

Which extracurricular groups are always oversubscribed?

Is there a good selection on the dining ha11 menu and are the queues reasonable?

What happens on wet days(where do the pupils go)?

Is the library and computer room open during break time, lunch and after school?

How easy is it to find a member of staff if you have a query/problem?

Do you find being in a selective school cha11enging or intimidating?

Are pupils a11owed to wait inside the school after dismi55al for transport or must they be out at the school gates?

Are bu11ying problems sorted out by detention or exclusions for the perp?

Is there a separate discipline master or is the Form tutor/Head of year in charge of any transgre55ions?

Who was the most helpful teacher you had last year? and why/how?

What do you think of your Headmaster?

How much did the school influence you in your GCSE options?

How much/What does the school do to help you decide on your career path?

What is your favourite subject? Why?

What is your most difficult subject? Why?

Do you often have to share resources?

In the science lab: When do you get to dissect a rat?

Head of Year questions:

Do Yr 7s get a separate play area or staggered lunch times?

Do they have a buddy system or a mentor?

How many 'outside people' visit the school for the lower years? (police, speakers from organisations of interest to the pupils)

Are there any overseas trips in the first year?

How many local trips do the children take in their first year?
subsequent years?

What happens if GCSE options 'clash'? How accommodating is the school when this happens?

How many trainee teachers do they have at present?

How many new staff have they had in the last 2 years?

Are the extracurricular clubs/ activities 'free' or do you have to pay for them?

What is the most serious injury(pupil) the school has had to deal with?

always visit the toilets.
check washbasins and U-bends for suspect items... 8)
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Post by bc »

At open evenings most classrooms are showing off exciting looking equipment such as interactive whiteboards.

So I would ask a student "How often do you use the interactive whiteboard (or whatever) in your normal lessons?"
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Post by Snowdrops »

I found this posted in the Guardian yesterday (7/10/2008) by Francis Gilbert:

Killer Questions for the open day

Ask Teachers:

Would you send your child to this school?
What would you do if I complained that my child was being bullied?
How does the school cater for gifted and talented children?
What evidence can you show me that my child will be stretched?
How does it cater for children with learning difficulties?
What would you do if I complained about the quality of teaching?

Ask pupils:

What level/grades are you in English/maths/science?
What do you have to do to improve in these subjects?
What are the best things about lessons?
What are the worst?
How well behaved are the children?
What does the school do with bullies and disruptive pupils?
What are the dinners like and are the toilets kept nicely?
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Location: Medway & Kent

Post by medwaymum »

I would urge CAUTION if asking pupils what levels they are in subjects. Think this unneccesary and probably most parents/teachers would agree?
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Location: Lincolnshire

Post by sallyj »

Aaaaarrgghhh !! Why didn't I find this bit before ?? Just returned from a school visit-wish I'd known to ask half this lot instead of nodding & smiling like a loon !!!!!
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Post by Jiff »

It's also very enlightening to ask the local newsagent for their views on the children they encounter!
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Post by Guest55 »

Go round on a 'normal' day - don't be fooled by a snazzy open evening :lol:
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Post by patricia »

Absolutely agree Guest55.

Any school can put on a show.

Its a different kettle of fish during the working day.

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Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:30 pm

Post by katel »

Don't ask about levels - particularly if there's more than one child present, it's not fair.

Do ask whether they are happy and whether they have lots of fun, and if they would like their little brother or sister to follow them to the school..
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Location: bucks

Post by Tree »

We found the most illuminating was approach of the pupils to the tricky questions mentioned above, at one school they were so convincingly honest in their support of the school getting really passionate in it's defence, at this school one of the buildings had recently been burnt down alledgedly by a disgruntled pupil which on the face of it seemed terrible but the kids horror that we would think the worst of the school because of this and their empassioned defence turned this into a real positive.
Last edited by Tree on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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