The questions you ask a school’s Admissions staff will be entirely dependent on where you are in the process of choosing a school for your child.
If you are just starting the journey of selecting a school for your child or children, here are 11 must ask questions:
- When should I apply? If you are just starting the journey of finding the right school for your child, start by asking when is the optimum time to make an application. Typically, private schools have long waiting lists and many parents place their children on enrolment registers shortly after birth.
- How does the enrolment process work? Every school has a different enrolment process and timeline, so it is vital you ask how this process works. All too frequently, parents miss out on places in schools because they were unaware of the enrolment process and timeline.
- Does the school have priority waiting lists? Most schools have some kind of priority waiting list – this may be by date of application or attendance at feeder schools. Some schools give priority based on previous family members having attended the school.
- What enrolment criteria must students meet? Generally, in non-selective schools like The Scots College, enrolment will not be based on academic results, however, should your child have any educational or medical needs, you will need to ascertain the school has the appropriate learning support staff and geographical ability to meet those needs.
- Am I able to have a tour and visit the school? The vast majority of schools have specific Open Days or Information Mornings. It is important you take the opportunity to attend one or more of these sessions – a tour will give you an appreciation of the school and its facilities, but more importantly, help you determine the ethos and philosophy of the school and whether or not it aligns with your family’s expectations.
- Alternate programs: How does the school support gifted and talented students, does the school believe in acceleration, how does the school support students with learning needs? These are all questions for the admissions staff.
- Pastoral care at the school: How are the students supported – is there access to school counsellors, how do the staff promote positive learning experiences, how does the school handle bullying? What are the academic discipline procedures of the school?
- Cultural diversity of the school: Is there diversity in the school? If the school is connected to a particular church, is it still inclusive of all faiths and creeds?
- What is compulsory and what is not? Most private schools have compulsory sport, ask what activities are compulsory and what is elective.
- School fees: Ensure you have the most recent fee schedule and ask about any application or entry fees. These can be quite substantial and in most cases will be non-refundable. Ascertain what is included in your fees and what is not.
- Scholarships and bursaries: Many schools offer both academic scholarships and means tested bursaries. Check the timeline and criteria for both carefully with Admissions to see whether or not you and your son are eligible for one or the other.
Written by Mrs Melissa Capel, Manager of Admissions, The Scots College
To learn more about The Scots College, please register to join us at our next Information Morning.