We recently wrote a blog about researching schools online using social media. This blog is a continuation of how to research schools online and assumes that you have shortlisted to only a few schools. It’s time to get under the bonnet and do some deeper research using school websites.
A school’s website is where you can dig a little deeper and find out more information about a school. Almost all the information you need is available right there at your fingertips, and from the comfort of your own home. Here are the key things to look for when visiting a school website.
Vision and values
It’s important to understand what the school’s vision and values are. The school vision indicates where they are heading while their values may reveal what traits they aim to develop in their students. Common values could be academic excellence, building strength of character or upholding school traditions. It’s important that values of the school align with your family values to ensure that the education of your child works in harmony with how you aim to raise them.
Areas of focus
Some schools have strong sporting programs, others are known for their academic achievements, while some produce graduates who excel in the arts. Research each of these areas of school life and look at both core subjects as well as co-curricular offerings at the school. Make sure programs offered are aligned with the areas of study your son is interested in or wishes to pursue.
A school’s education philosophy is a core component to how they operate. It defines their actions across multiple areas, from teaching lessons and subject offerings to the programs and support they offer. Education philosophies tell you how your son will learn while at this school and the values the school hopes to impart as he transitions through his education. Leading schools may have different philosophies for each developmental stage that sit beneath an overarching philosophy.
Facilities and grounds
The quality of facilities that a school offers has been shown to impact the overall quality of education. Look online for information on the following facilities:
- Science labs
- Sports grounds and training facilities
- Play areas
- Music and art rooms
- Any significant buildings the school may have, such as a dedicated drama auditorium.
It’s also important to consider the support available to your son. Pastoral care, counselling services, learning enrichment, before and after school care – all these programs provide families with invaluable support during times of need.
Most schools also provide additional programs. At a basic level there are honours classes, tutoring and extracurricular activities. Try and delve deeper and see if the school offers opportunities such as exchange programs, overseas learning or service trips. Every additional program is another chance for your son to grow as a person and scholar.
Location and transport
Don’t forget to consider logistics such as the location and travel time to and from the school. While the geographical location seems like an obvious area to research, this can be easy to overlook. Search for your shortlisted schools on Google Maps to see how accessible the campuses are. It’s a good idea to choose a time of day that you or your son will be travelling to and from the school to get a realistic idea of how long it would take to complete the trip.
Learn more about how to choose a school and download The comprehensive guide to choosing the right school for your son.