The choice of secondary school that you make for your child can completely alter the course of their life. You need to take proper note of these questions and provide answers to them. It's saddening that a lot of parents just enroll their wards and teens in just any school, hence ruining their career path.
To avoid cases like this arising, you need to do a lot of evaluation before choosing just any type of secondary school.
3 Factors to consider before choosing a secondary school for your child
Personal values and preferences
This is about your family’s values and the school’s culture. Start your search for the best school by examining what you want your child to gain from it. Perhaps your child has special language or education needs in the case of disabilities. You know your son or daughter better than anyone else does.
Answer questions like
- Does your child need a more structured or less structured environment?
- Does your child need more demanding work?
- Does your child need more individual attention in the case of dyslexia and any other learning difficulties?
- Does your child have any special learning needs(either blind, deaf, or any other physically challenged cases)?
- Does your child learn best by seeing or by reading about how something works?
- Does your child learn best by listening or by participating in discussions?
- Does your child like to learn through physical activity? Is your child logical, mathematical, musical, or artistic?
- Does your child like to learn in groups or work alone? Do you prefer public or private education?
- Does the culture of the school match your family’s values – for example, uniform policy, attendance, emphasis on academic achievement, sports, and so on?
- Do you want a same-sex school or a mixed school?
Your religion is also a consideration. Would you want your ward to engage in reciting koran while being a Christian or vice versa? Is your child's choice of school based on primary school friends(you know how these things are) opportunities provided by the school, career aspirations, motivations, and so on? When you've provided the befitting answers to these questions, you proceed to the next step.
Most families need to evaluate practical things like how children will get to and from school. You won't want a situation where your teen would trek a long distance to get to school. If this eventually is the case, your child ends up going late regularly, destabilizing his or her learning for the day by missing the first lesson due to serving punishment.
Another practical thing is to consider your choice of either private or public schools. With the situation in the academic sector, private schools provide better education opportunities than public schools. Most prefer public schools due to tuition issues. If this isn't the issue, you can search for the top private schools in your area, so your child can get the best. Public schools have their opportunities though.
Would you want your child to be in a boarding or day school? Do you want your child to learn responsibility, then boarding school may be the right choice. Although with the rate of juvenile happenings in this kind of school, you may prefer a day school. Day school gallows bonding with your teen. In the end, this choice is based on your objective as a parent to your growing teen.
School factors: size, classes, facilities
This is the next and final factor that requires much consideration. Here, you compare different schools’ sizes, class structures, facilities, extracurricular activities, and so on.
First, let's consider the school communication with the parents. Is there an opportunity to ask what parents want for their wards and give feedback too? This is because good parent-school relationships can help your child get the most out of their education.
Next, we consider the school structure. Is the school small or large? Is there proper ventilation and hygiene for the health of the teens? Are there comfortable seats and tables to study in the case of private schools?
Although, in Government schools, the tables and chairs are provided by the wards upon admission. In cases of the rainy season, do students get drenched and lose concentration while running to avoid the rain?
Now over to facilities. Is there a well-stocked library where students can read relevant books and do research? Are reading materials obtainable in other languages? Do students have access to computers and the Internet in the classroom and library?
Are there Internet facilities to enable research? Is there an auditorium and outdoor space for school assemblies and sporting activities? Is there a school clinic for cases of emergency?
If there's a clinic, are there stocked-up medical facilities? Is a school nurse on duty daily? An available canteen or cafeteria won't be a bad idea to provide a nutritionally well-balanced lunch program or even Breakfast program to enable smooth learning. Is there room for extracurricular activities? Things like sports, art, music, drama and so on. Like it said, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Do these extracurricular activities clash with their educational classes?.
Are there competitions to boost their expertise in any of the available extracurricular activities that they choose?
Is there a good coach for each of their sports team and artistic teams? Is there a provision for every student to participate?
How about the case of disabled children, Are there facilities to aid their learning? Is there the necessary emotional and academic support to these special children? Are they isolated from extracurricular activities? Now over to the school academic records.
A school’s academic record is one of the factors that can influence how well your child will do at secondary school. How do the school's test scores compare to those of other schools?
Has it improved or decreased? If the latter, what could be the cause? How do students moving on to the next level of schooling perform in their new schools? How many special achievements or recognition has the school received? How is their performance in transitioning exams like WAEC, NECO or GCE? To get answers to this question, you can ask around including her students, or you can check the public school report.
Does the school have a strong program of core academic subjects such as English, history, mathematics, science, arts, and foreign languages? Are there additional subjects aside from these core courses?
Are the teachers meeting up to the curriculum demands? What is the approach to learning? Either group projects, individual performance, or frequent testing. Can your child learn through these methods?
Does it provide opportunities for children especially children with learning disabilities, to get extra help when they need it? The necessary materials needed for learning, are they available? Are students given homework to strengthen their knowledge? What does the school do to help develop character? What is the discipline policy? How does the school handle students who default?
Are students allowed to leave school and behave anyhow they like? In cases of drugs, is there a program in place to attend to students with addiction problems? Are there available counsellors to counsel them too? Is there a setup to take note of absentees and know what's the cause? As mere as it sounds, Do their students wear uniforms?
What measures has the school taken to ensure safety? What security measures are in place? In case of violence, what safety measures are on the rescue? Even in case of a fire outbreak, how fast can the fire be quenched? Is there a police officer on duty during school hours and for extracurricular activities?
Yes, it's a whole lot of questions and many more too. Your child deserves the best foundation in his / her career path.