Choosing a school is no longer based primarily on the curriculum offered. More and more parents are opting for schools offering a curriculum they may not have originally anticipated for their children simply because the school’s environment and atmosphere are a better fit. Little Steps’ education partner, ITS School Consultants in Singapore, has put together the Top Questions To Ask When Selecting A School In Singapore.
1) Does the school have a clear mission statement describing its learning ethos and values?
2) Ask admissions to clearly run through the enrollment process, including entrance assessments.
3) If your child/children require a student pass, please check that admissions can assist you with this process; some International Schools are unable to do so.
4) If applicable, does a debenture system exist and how does it work?
5) What after school activities are offered, and is transportation provided to take the children home?
6) Is there a buddy policy for when a child starts school?
7) What are the procedures if the child does not settle in immediately?
8) What is the school discipline policy?
9) What is the length of the school lease in its current location?
10) What is the average staff (teacher) turnover per annum?
11) What is the average student turnover per annum?
12) If the school is primary only and not a through train school (K – Grade 12 / Year 13) what secondary school does it feed?
13) What tests and assessments are in place and for which year groups?
14) What are the academic results for these assessments?
15) Does the school have in-house learning support and or a gifted and talented program?
16) Can the school extend the child in his or her appropriate age group if he or she is academically strong in one or more subjects?
17) Is there a school nurse? If not, what is the school policy if a child becomes ill while at school?
18) What is the emergency procedure if an ambulance is required? Are teachers CPR trained?
19) Is there an open door policy; eg how easy is it to get an appointment with a teacher or the Head of School?
20) If you still need reassurance, ask if a member of the Parent’s Association/support group would be happy to chat with you over the phone or via email.
1) Is there a welcoming atmosphere within the school?
2) Do the children look happy and engaged both inside and outside of the classroom?
3) Do the teachers look happy and engaged both inside and outside of the classroom?
4) Does the condition of the school in general, including playgrounds and internal areas other than classrooms, reflect that it is respected and cared for?
5) Are classrooms current, and do they display children’s recent work?
6) How are children seated - in groups or rows? Ask if seating arrangements are fixed or flexible.
7) Is the temperature of the classroom comfortable, and is their natural lighting?
1. Do your homework - look on school websites but keep in mind that they are not always up to date!
2. Visit online forums, but avoid taking them to heart; there’s good and bad in everything.
3. Listen to your friends, but remember that it’s what suits your child.
4. Check availability first.
5. Ask the admissions personnel if you will be able to enter classrooms during the tour and/or if you can see some workbooks/worksheets for your child’s grade.
ITS School Consultants
Vandana Rao, email@example.com