EDUCATION: How to get the most of school open days

18 May 2017

As School Open Day season gets into full swing, we give you some tips on cutting through each school’s highlight reel and get a true sense of whether the school is right for your family.

School Open Days can be exciting and, let’s face it, daunting for parents new to this ‘choosing a school’ thing. So, it’s important to do a bit of preparation before you attend.

First of all, think about what’s most important to you when choosing a school for your child. Is it academic achievement, is it behaviour management, is it the overall feel of the school, is it the teachers, is it the facilities and resources? It might be a combination of all these things.

Come armed with questions

Begin by writing down all the things you hope for from your potential school and use that as a jumping point to any essential questions you need answered.

While every school will provide you with a handbook covering the essentials of school life, giving you a good overview of the school and its approach, you may have more questions about the school’s teaching philosophy, approach to discipline and what life is like outside the classroom for its students.

Look around you

So, go prepared with any questions you have, but another way to gauge whether the school is right for your family is to just have a look around you. Do the students appear happy, do the teachers seem approachable and friendly, can you picture yourself and your family here? Sometimes these observations can carry the most weight, and even if your questions have been answered well if any of these things don’t seem right then it may not be the school for you.

Talk to other families

Chat to other families with children at some of the schools you’re considering. They can give you insider knowledge and share what they like best about the school. However, always come back to your first list of what’s most important to you as this can vary from family to family. Make sure you’re choosing based on your own needs and values and not what is talked about as a ‘good school’.

To make your planning easier, download our Open Day Questions checklist.

To plan your open day visits, have a look at our Education Guide and Open Day Calendar

Written by

Belinda Peters

Belinda is a journalist, blogger and editor with more than 15 years’ experience in print and online journalism. As our digital editor, Belinda immerses herself in scanning the web for the latest in parenting news, products and opinion for the Kids in the City/Kids on the Coast online community. When she’s not kid wrangling two energetic boys, Belinda lives for trying out the ever-expanding array of cafes, restaurants and bars in her home town of Brisbane. While her caffeine addiction remains strong, she also finds her Zen with yoga and attempts to find her balance by stand up paddle boarding.

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