How to Choose a Private School – Part One

There are thousands of private schools in the US and it can be daunting to try to figure out which is the best when it comes to choosing the right school for your children. This article will show you how to narrow it down. There are ‘league tables’ which list all private schools by exam results. Use this as a guide but it is advisory to execute the below points before spending your cash.

Check the syllabus

Private schools have the freedom to choose their own curricula and as a result can sometimes omit particular modules you want your child to learn from. For example, one private secondary school may have an English Literature module which focuses on playwrights from the 19th century, whereas another may prefer to focus on post millennium novelists like J.K. Rowling.

You know your child best, so it is important to go through the syllabus of each subject module by module (for each school) and try and work out which school’s syllabus is most suited to the character of your child.

Private schools tend not to stray too far away from the national curriculum set out for state schools but these slight variations in module selection can make all the difference to a teenager’s attention span.

Some gender specific private schools will tilt the syllabus towards generic assumptions about that particular gender. For example (and this is not to be viewed as sexist), an all-girls private school may choose to focus more on cookery than metal-work in the subject of technology.

To get hold of the syllabus simply contact the school, sometimes they may even post it on their official website.

Note: It is also important to check out the extra-curricular activities on offer, especially if you’re looking at a private boarding school.

Meet the teachers

Private schools will hold open-days prior to the beginning of a new academic year. Take the time to attend these functions, make the most of the free food but more importantly speak to every single teacher.

Ask them anything, from how long they have been teaching to how many detentions they dish out per week. Ask if they plan on enrolling their own children at the school or if they already have. Each bit of information gathered will help build up an image of the school for you.

Try and figure out the morale amongst staff members, do they enjoy their jobs in the school? If all the vibes are positive then you’re onto a winner. A grumbling workforce could well be strike-happy, anything negative will reflect onto your child’s education which is always unacceptable.

Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to pry about every last detail – you are paying them after all!