By: Blonde Two

I remember the agony and indecision well. Which school to send our three children to, and how to be sure we had made the right decisions.

They are all grown-up now and have all survived the UK education experience (some more happily than others). I have to say that I wish I had had the experience and confidence I have now when we were doing the choosing.

Our (not-so) esteemed government seemed proud recently to announce that they are changing the way that school league tables work (school league tables by the way are a ridiculous attempt to place numerical values on something that is ultimately immeasurable, namely human achievement).

I wouldn’t get excited by the changes if I were you. Exam results are apparently (despite what our big employers say) still the only important measure by which to judge your child’s growth into adulthood.

If I was choosing a secondary school now (and I am very glad that I am not), I would be asking these questions and listening very careful to the answers:

  • Has your school built outdoor learning time into its curriculum? (Be sure to ask for specific examples.)
  • Does your school encourage and reward staff who run trips? (Ask to talk to a member of staff who regularly does so.)
  • Who on your school leadership team is responsible for Outdoor Education? (The answer may well be ‘no-one’.)
  • What opportunities will your school give for the development of my child as a whole person? (Imagine you are writing their CV with them in five year’s time.)

And maybe more importantly:

  • How is your school going to guarantee that my child will be regarded and educated as a whole person, and not treated as an exam grade figure on a spreadsheet?

You are the customer. If you don’t like the answers, then don’t choose the school!