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No nonsense advice from parents (posted in the Middle East) who sent three children back home to board...two were "Enid Blyton" perfect fits (although one was a boy) but the third was a square peg and expected by the school to "stand up to the bullies"...
- Don’t believe everything you read in the prospectus or at the interview. If it says Horse Riding, make sure they have horses and you don’t have to bring your own.
- Try to speak to former pupils.
- Try to speak to current pupils of YOUR choice, not the golden one sifted out by the school board.
- Before buying brand new uniforms, check to see if they have a “Much Loved” section in the uniform shop; this could save you hundreds of $’s especially in the blazer department.
- Get in touch with the Old Girls or Old Boys associations and try to speak to them and ask their views.
- Don’t just choose a school for its trendy uniform; sometimes it’s character building to wear something absolutely retro.
- Make sure your child is catered for if they are academically or athletically biased.
- Make sure they have an agreed register of adults, approved by you, that your child is allowed to exit school with.
- Try to attend a Boarders PTA at least once a year; it’s a good way of putting forward your views and getting feed back.
- Look at the extra curricular activities offered: are they included or supplementary to fees? Then check the ones that are iincluded.
- Be strong when it comes to putting them in for the first time. Take a HUGE box of tissues, but don’t bring the child home with you. If possible, restrict contact for the first week to e-mail not phone or visits.
- You will get most contact when they are feeling low, so that is what you will hear about most, never the good bits.
- If you hear of bullying going on - whether it is passive or aggressive - follow it up and be totally tenacious about it; believe me it does matter.
- Get to know the boarding staff; they are looking after your child.
- If you are over on a visit, try to take out another couple of boarders with your own; it reciprocates so then your child may get an unexpected outing some time.
- Teach them to sew before they leave and provide them with an equipped sewing box. They need to know the basics - buttons, hems and how to use iron-on Vilene for rips. That way, you know they will be turned out half way to decent as you can’t rely on the laundry to do this for them
- Monitor their spending. Set an allowance and stick to it, otherwise it’s a bottomless pit and their term allowance goes in the first week.
- If something is worrying your child, advise the House Parents; if they don’t know, they can’t do anything, and chances are your child will not have told them.
Some special needs are easy to spot, others are only determined once a child has experienced considerable difficulties, frustrations or social and emotional problems.
Over the years, diagnosis of and provision for SEN have improved, but both can still be a minefield.
Identifying different kinds of special educational needs
Few children fit a condition perfectly – if they do, we tend to say they are a ‘classic’ case. Most will not be straightforward: perhaps a dyslexic with dyspraxia and a touch of ADD, or a child with ASD who also has Down’s syndrome.
Just as special needs are hard to…
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Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious.
How to find a state grammar school
Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston,…
As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.
The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants advise parents on everything to do with children and their education
Our service is a personal one-to-one service.You tell us what you want and we tell you how we can help. And then we do! Our education consultants are our most experienced writers. They have visited countless schools. All are parents. You will have your own personal advisor who has the benefit of the combined experience and expertise of the entire team to draw on. All our consultants work as hard for the children of their clients as they do for their own.