Independent School Parent
HOW I DID IT
Lucia Eagan’s son Jack, 11, has secured a deferred entry place to St Margaret’s, an independent co educational school in Hertfordshire, and will start in year nine in September Lucia explains
We looked at a number of senior schools around the county for Jack, including state senior schools, but we found them to be too ‘catchall’ – either very academic or very sporty, or we didn’t live near enough to the school postcode to qualify for admission. We looked at a number of independent senior schools and St Margaret’s really welcomed us. The prospectus was based on the curriculum and resources, and on the open day we had a tour with the headteacher, where we were able to really see the school and ask questions. Prior to offers being made, the school held a workshop for prospective parents.
St Margaret’s was very friendly and also gave us the opportunity to apply for a music scholarship. If I have one word of advice for other parents embarking on this journey, it’s that you have to be prepared to invest time in it: find out what time of year the school’s admissions process takes place and be organised and start looking at schools a year before these are held. I missed one school’s admissions deadline by a day and there was no opportunity for an extension!
Phone your target schools and, once you’ve compiled a shortlist of say, four or five, you can whittle those down further, after you’ve been to their open days. Secondly, know your child. Schools are more selective than you think! If your child isn’t super academic and you can’t see them doing their homework as soon as they’re back from school, for example, then they’re not going to thrive in a super-academic environment. With regards to involving your child in the process, it was only once I felt happy about a school, that I involved Jack. Take them to visit two or three schools to see if they feel excited about it; get their thoughts on the schools.