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School visits and Open Days 

School Open Days 


Why attend a school open day 

School open days can play an invaluable part in helping you to decide on a school for your child.  Looking through a brochure or browsing the website may give you an idea about the facilities, but they can never fully convey the atmosphere of the school.  Having the chance to step inside, to see the students learning and meet the teachers, will give you a much better sense of whether the school is right for your child.

What to expect

School open days will give you the chance to tour the facilities, visit classrooms, chat to teachers and pupils and learn about the ethos of the school.  There is likely to be a presentation by the Headteacher, which will give you an excellent launchpad for assessing the values and culture they cultivate.  Every school will have current student work on display and an Open Day is a great time to notice if there are a broad range of skills being catered for and cheered about.

Questions to ask at a school open day

Asking questions is encouraged on open days and is a great way for you to assess whether the school is a good fit for you.  Not sure what to ask?  Here are a few pointers:

  • Class Sizes – Asking about how many students are in one class will give you an idea about how your child will be educated.  Smaller class sizes often allow for teachers to get to know their students and give them more individual focus, meaning your child will be better supported.
  • Communication – How do the teachers, and the school in general, communicate with parents?  If you have a future question or issue, who do you raise it with?  Some schools favour weekly newsletters or email communications, others are active on social media about their activities and events. Finding out how you can get in touch with the right people when you need support will help you to feel more prepared.  
  • Pupil Opinions – If you’re still on the fence, go to the source...the students themselves!  Students are often involved in open days, so make sure to ask them questions too.  What do they like about the school?  What activities do they most enjoy doing?  Be prepared for honest answers from fresh perspectives.
    After School Clubs – Ask for a current list of the extra-curricular activities the school provides for their students.  Getting an idea of what clubs might be suitable and inspiring for you child will help you to feel ready to jump in.

School tours 

School Tours, especially those that are scheduled during the school day, allow you to see how the school truly operates.  Tours are often conducted in whole or in part by students, so they give you a great opportunity to get the inside scoop from those experiencing the school first-hand.  You will be able to visit classrooms while lessons are taking place, meaning you can see how the teachers interact with their students, and you get to check out the facilities such as the library or the cafeteria.

Virtual Open Days 

Virtual school Tours 

If you are considering a school further afield, or you are simply unable to attend an in-person open day, many schools provide Virtual Tours, which allow you to explore from the comfort of your sofa.  You may be able to experience a video-walkthrough of the school, giving you a feel for the layout and space of the buildings.

School visits How to arrange a school visit & Who to Contact

If you cannot make it to an open day, many schools welcome scheduled visits.  Each school will have a different system and a contact for booking a visit, so make sure to check their website.

Preparing for a school visit 

Before you go, do your research.  Check out the school’s website and reports, and ask around with other parents for their thoughts.  Getting a good sense of the pros and cons before you go means you can jot down questions in advance so you can cover all your bases on the day.

Questions to Ask & Things to Look For 

The questions you may wish to ask will vary depending on your child’s interests.  Perhaps you would like to know how the school supports art in their curriculum – do they have a school choir or a drama club?  Maybe you’d like to know more about how technology would be used to support your child’s learning, or what library facilities are available.  Remember, no questions are silly questions – whatever you need to know, that will help you to form a decision, is worth asking about.

As you look around take note of the atmosphere inside classrooms, the behaviour of students moving between classes, and the overall cleanliness and upkeep of the facilities.  All of these factors will help you to assess the safety and suitability of the school for your child.

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