The Good Schools Guide and The Good Schools Guide International
Statement of Principles
For parents (or schools) not familiar with the Good Schools Guide or The Good Schools Guide International, then the style and tone of the guide may startle you.
The Good Schools Guides are completely independent of schools. We take no money from schools, select them according to our own criteria and retain full editorial control. Once selected and reviewed, schools are allowed to advertise or license use of their own review, but not allowed to influence editorial content. School that make an effort to do so find their ads removed, money returned, and write-up removed.
The GSG and GSGI selection process begins with parents. We either receive letters or calls from parents, or we track parents down if we hear good things about a school.
All editors then research that school by talking to a range of parents with children currently in or very recently in each school, as well as studying any available information (eg Ofsted reports, accreditation listings, the school’s published information etc). Because this is a parents’ guide, written by parents for parents from the subjective point of view of the editor, the informal opinions of those parents are not only more expansive than the official information published by a school, they are the main qualification used to determine whether a school is “good” and therefore appropriate for entry in the The Good Schools Guide or The Good Schools Guide International.
But at all times, the GSG is accountable for what we write and publish (unlike, say, parent blogs, which can be uneven or overloaded with campaigns or vendettas).
We describe students, parents, head, teachers, physical plant, atmosphere because those are things a parent cannot get from the school’s own website and may not notice even if they visit themselves.
We don’t try to second-guess whether parents are looking for a pool of intensely rigorous students, or a nurturing nest, or whether they will feel comfortable amongst one sort of parent or another. We believe that if we give a clear enough picture of the school, parents will be able to judge properly for their own circumstances.
Since 'good' can mean many things to parents with all kinds of children, when the GSG says 'good,' it means any school that parents would move to be close to, or change their lives in some way to get their children into it.
And if there are no good schools in that country, or the schools have hopelessly long waiting lists? We know parents expect us to be straight with them so they can compare apples to apples; therefore we cover only schools that we feel truly measure up to the best of their counterparts worldwide- not if they’re just the best of a bad lot.
Schools are never rubbished. No review is an expose’ and no review is intended to embarrass any school in any way. Schools are neither ranked nor compared to each other in the write-ups.
Reviews are written as if one parent who liked the school were recommending it, warts and all, to another parent...and in such a way that parents can read between the lines to determine whether it is right for their child. It might be an intensely competitive academic school, perfect for the highly motivated overachiever, or it might be a school that does a great job of finding a place for every type of student. The thing is that the parents of the children there really love it.
We try to present a picture of the school that is forthright and factual. Once written, we ask schools to check factual content and let us know if it is in any way inaccurate. Inaccuracies are changed without hesitation. Where opinion is involved, we are always open to argument, and note disagreement in the final write-up.
Some schools in the Guides are simply listed with a link and the school’s own snapshot description of themselves, but only the ones parents and editors determine to be the best are listed with a GSG or GSGI banner, indicating that a full write-up is available.
If a school is not covered, it may not mean you should avoid it; that could just mean we have not found enough parents who comment favorably to warrant a visit and review yet.
We welcome questions, opinions and feedback from parents at any time.
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