School search brain freeze - School consultant/ advisor???(6 Posts)
I'm in the throws of school visits and open days and feeling completely overwhelmed. Been to see Emanuel, St Pauls, Godolphin & Latymer, Putney High, Queensgate, ASL London and got more coming up through November and December.
They've all got their pros and cons and I'm feeling totally overwhelmed by all the information. All the visits we've had have been great but i can't help but think that it's all a bit of a show for us parents. i'm asking friends whose children go there etc. but all the school gate chat is just adding to my confusion.
Has anyone here used a school advisor or placement service? I figure if we're going to fork out for private education it might be a good idea to get some proper unbiased advice???
I'd love to hear from anyone who has heard of a good one. How much is it? do you think it is worth it?? should i just be trusting my gut???
New to all this - would so appreciate some help!!
What sort of advise do you think the consultant would give you? They would not know your daughter, her interests, her character.
I think most of their "advice" is something you can do better yourself. I think they are a better value for people who come to the UK and don't yet understand the system.
For me - the main focus in the school selection is academic focus and fit. I'll be looking at A levels subjects/grades . Dd1 likes math and sciences - so a school with more of a focus on drama/history, etc. would not be best for her. This is not a real example, just a hypothetical. Then destinations of students.
Then, there is a choice of co-ed and siggle-sex. Then - competitiveness and school ethos.
I'd make up a list of main criteria for you/your daughter and rank the schools as I go along.
Good luck! It is not easy!!!
Make a list. Cross off any that you really dislike after visiting. Do the criteria thing as per pp and cross off any that don't fit. Any which you then think are probably fine then list in order of ease of commute. Don't underestimate how knackered an 11 year old will get trogging across London, and how much homework she'll have. Pick the top 4 (5 if one of them is St Paul's because that's always a big ask). See who she gets offers from and how she feels after she's gone through the exam and interview process.
Trust your gut reaction and choose the school where your child will be happy. All the schools on your list have a great reputation but it depends on your child and what sort of environment suits them best. Only you and your child knows that - I really don't know what an advisor could bring to the table.
We live in an area where Habs Girls, NLCS and St Albans are all possibilities. Amazing schools academically, added value, all the things you are supposed to look for. BUT not one of them felt right. Then we walked into another school which has a bit of an unfair reputation as being the school where rich girls who fail the 11+ end up. I met some amazing, inspiring teachers who were interested in my child (and she back), the list of extra curricular activities was endless, the girls seemed genuinely happy and proud of their school, and there was a real emphasis on being proud of and celebrating what you are good at.
We were won over. I know my girls are going to look back on their school days fondly and get results that match their potential. It's very easy to get tied up in the what's the best school and lose sight of what's most important in meeting the needs of your child.
My friends do, however, think we are mad.........
I assume it's a girl? Age? Locaton? Your current axhpom will have an idea of which school will best fit from an academic and personality pov.
Are they in a consortium for the exam? With St. Paul extra? So you might not have to make a decision yet... actually looking at your list its very diverse! What's your criterion? Where else are you looking?
The head of your current school should be your first stop, but otherwise I'm sure Mumsnet can save you the consultant fees.
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