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Choosing the right school for your child

Choosing the right school for your child

Parents often begin to think about the type of school and education they would wish for their child long before they welcome him/her into the world. Our perceptions of school are most likely embedded in our own personal experiences, and we often have a fervent desire to replicate the good and eradicate the poor experiences that we ourselves had at school.

 

Values and Beliefs

As an adult, a parent, and a family, you will have a clear understanding of your values and beliefs. What is important to you? What is important for your child? When looking for a school, ensure you have a clear understanding of your child’s personal strengths and needs so that you can identify a school that will not only cater for them, but allow them to flourish. A school that will live by a set of values that align closely with your own, a school that you will trust and believe in.

 

You will find some schools with meaningful links and collaborative associations with global organisations; Nord Anglia Education for example has unique collaborations with Juilliard, MIT and UNICEF. How will these benefit your child, what do these look like in the classroom, how does it benefit their learning? Seeing what a school considers as important is an excellent gauge of their educational approach.

 

Ethos, Vision and Mission

Where do you find those school values? Every well-respected school will have a clear commitment to, and indication of, their vision, mission and values. They will be well sign posted throughout their website and in the school itself. They should be obvious from the way the students and staff speak to each other and others. They should not just be words on the website or fancy decorative statements in the corridors; they should be believed in and talked about and seen woven into the school learning environment - its curriculum, its community and its events’ calendar. 

 

The Practical

Do your research - easy in today’s world of accessible information through websites, webinars, ratings etc. Do not place too much store on any one area of research; be sure your sources are reliable, credible, and varied. Be sure to understand the educational offer or offers - they are many and varied; IB, A Levels, IGCSE, GCSE, MYP, PYP, IPC … the acronyms can be mind boggling. If looking at international schools, know the specific academic or educational requirements for your own country so that these can be taken into account. Look carefully at each school’s location, term dates and fee payment arrangement. The more information, the better in order to help you find a school that best fits with your family’s lifestyle. 

 

The Visit

If at all possible, visit the school or as many schools as you can so you are able to compare and contrast. Go prepared, be as well-informed as possible and ask questions. Speak to the children and adults in the school, take note of the learning environment, the facilities, their use and the general ‘buzz’ of the place. How are you welcomed? How do the children speak to adults to their peers, what do they say about their school and are they proud of it?  How are the children’s achievements celebrated? The opportunities and experiences a school offer tell you a lot about their approach to holistic education. Exams and results, whilst an important consideration, are less valuable if the children are not happy and engaged in their learning or if that learning is too binary. What evidence do you see around the school of high standards & expectations, collaborative learning, student leadership, outdoor education, extra-curricular activities and trips. Is there a commitment to global awareness or social impact and how far can the children be actively involved?

 

The ‘Fit’

Ultimately, with so many things to consider, the most important question to answer is ‘is this a good ‘fit’ for my child, for my family, for our lifestyle? Some will say ‘go with your gut’, ‘trust your instincts’ but above all make the decision together as a family and with all the information at your disposal. 

 

No matter which school you choose, be prepared to support your child throughout their time there. Take time to know the school, participate in events and understand the systems and routines. Find a school that treats you as a valued partner in your child’s learning journey and one in which you can see them being happy, being nurtured and flourishing; ultimately being successful. 

 

The British School Yangon (BSY) opened in 2014 and offers a high-quality international education to students from Early Years through to Year 13. Since joining the Nord Anglia Education family of 76 international schools worldwide in 2017, BSY has gone on to open a brand-new, state-of-the-art campus in Yangon.  

 

BSY follows the English National Curriculum, adapted to an international environment, and provides many additional opportunities for personal development. The school has, from the outset, made a great commitment to building strong academic departments, a broad range of extra and co-curricular activities and a supportive pastoral care structure.

 

 

Alison Fox

Principal at The British School Yangon

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