When is the best time to visit schools prior to applying?

(15 Posts)
Hellokittycat Tue 22-Apr-14 12:14:04

If applying for 2015 intake is it best to visit in the autumn term just before applying or is it better to visit in this summer term so as to avoid clashing with the busy period of new intake/Christmas?

Sparklingbrook Tue 22-Apr-14 12:17:48

IIRC (11 years ago) I looked round in the Summer term. Just rang and made an appointment and got shown round by the Head.
It was nice to see all the outdoorsy stuff in the sunshine.
They will be v busy in september and probably not as relaxed.

mummytime Tue 22-Apr-14 12:28:15

I would view for a first time ASAP. Then revisit with children in the Autumn, for open days etc. You will have to have your application in by the end of October, which doesn't give much time. I am assuming you aren't applying to Grammar schools.

Hellokittycat Tue 22-Apr-14 12:42:47

It's for primary school so application doesn't need to be in until end December/January I think

Sparklingbrook Tue 22-Apr-14 12:44:28

YY do it between now and the end of term but not too near the end of term IYKWIM, clashing with trips etc.

Good luck! Have you got a few to see?

Bonsoir Tue 22-Apr-14 12:47:06

IME and IMO the sooner the better, and visit absolutely all the schools you might possibly consider so that you have lots of information and ideas about the relative merits of each one.

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 22-Apr-14 12:58:43

Bear in mind though that not all schools can accommodate showing you around now if you aren't applying until the main round of applications in the Autumn.

Our school will very happily show you around if you can't make any of the autumn dates (which start from late September, so still more than three months before the application deadline), or you are applying in year, or need to come early for some reason. But they will strongly discourage you from coming in the summer term 'just because'. They make a real effort with tours, including getting one of the reception teachers to leave her class to come and chat with you and they simply can't do that for all the people who might want to visit (bearing in mind that there are 90 places and people round here get 4 choices....)

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 22-Apr-14 14:31:23

Do be aware that you can express a preference for a school but not necessarily make a choice!

hiccupgirl Tue 22-Apr-14 16:05:51

Some schools prefer you to wait and go on the 'proper' tours they hold in the Autumn term. You can't actually submit your application in most areas until November anyway and the closing date wasn't till Jan 15th this year so there is plenty of time in the Autumn term to look.

Personally I would wait - school staff can change over the summer so if you go early you might not meet the right HT etc. Also I think if you like a school on a cold wet day in November, it will be even better in the summer!

Meglet Tue 22-Apr-14 16:13:54

Even if they aren't accepting visits in the summer term you could attend their school summer fairs in June / July? Get a feel for the grounds, teachers and PTA?

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 22-Apr-14 16:29:47

Oh yes, we went to DD1's school fete n the summer (when we knew she was starting but before she had). It was a lovely way to get a feel of the atmosphere and I think it would have been a nice thing to do before you applied. No one is putting on a show and you see loads of parents and children interacting with the teachers.

lizardqueenie Thu 24-Apr-14 22:52:10

Interesting as this will be is applying for 2015 too- eek! Hadn't thought about looking already but maybe I should? Or at least give the schools a call to see what they say?

Galena Fri 25-Apr-14 07:26:38

We went round early because DD has a mild disability and we needed to talk to staff about her specific needs, without being part of a big tour. It was lovely to see the schools doing what they normally did, rather than putting on a show. However, from the schools' point of view, it's easier to have most of the parents in groups, otherwise it takes hours and hours to repeat the same information for each visit.

whatcolour Fri 25-Apr-14 21:59:09

I would start looking at what schools are a realistic option (check admissions criteria) and research them. View several as it gives you a good idea how they differ. Visit twice if unsure. We did all ours in Oct/Nov and very very worthwhile

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 28-Apr-14 11:22:32

Give them a ring and see what you say. Some will fit you in straightaway, maybe in a small group, others will put your name down for open days in the autumn. Either way at least you know where you stand. If you spread it out a bit it will probably be a bit less stressful especially if you're thinking of viewing a lot of schools.

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