Merry-Go-Round of Open Days

    06 January

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    January is the time of year when parents and primary pupils hop on the merry-go-round of Open Nights and Open Days to try and find the school that best suits them.  Headmaster of Campbell College, Mr Robert Robinson, MBE shares some tips as to what parents should look out for.

    “I have been a part of this process since 2001 as both a parent and a school principal.  I make the following points to hopefully assist as others enter into the process for the first time:

    Do not just listen to what the principal says in the address to the assembled groups. I always advise parents on their visits to Campbell College that they look out for little things and feel the mood in the room. The school principal will set the atmosphere of the school; in the same way the teacher sets the atmosphere in a classroom. Look for the way in which staff interact with one another, with you, and particularly with their own pupils.

    Consider questions such as: ‘Does the school trust its pupils?’ My experience is the pupils are the best advocates for a school – if they are allowed to be. ‘Does this school seem to be a place where my child would fit?’ This is not the same as ‘I want my child to go here!’

    The bottom line stems from what is best for your child, whilst also considering how you can be involved in the school and in your child’s education.  Asking the question, ‘Would I fit in?’ The partnership between parent, pupil and school is the foundation of a strong approach to a child’s education.

    My message is, go onto the merry-go-round to help make an informed decision, and that decision is for the parents to make. Your son or daughter should be involved but they are ten or eleven years of age, you are the adult and you have the responsibility. Read the information the schools give, gauge the authenticity of the activity offered by what the pupils tell you, find out as much as you can about each school being considered and then decide. It is difficult but fun and we are lucky to have plenty of great schools to choose from.”