‘Tis the season of Open Days and Scarborough College is here to help you get the most out of them. Following our huge practical, and not mention popular, 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit an Open Day, here is our How to Prepare for an Open Day guide? Get Open Day Ready!
Visit school websites and trawl through their prospectuses. In all honesty, our marketing materials reflect how we would like you to see us but it does have valuable information about our Vision, our co-curricular activities and so on. It is also useful to find out whether you ought to sign up and register for an Open Day or if it’s okay just to show up, especially nowadays.
Are you open day ready right now? Do you want to write a checklist? You might have specific questions you wish to ask the staff and pupils you meet. Some might be answered by the school’s Website but some need some further investigation. Feel free to bring a clipboard – teachers love seeing that kind of commitment. In fact, they may even swap clipboard supplier addresses. All joking aside, it is a very good idea to agree on what you would like to find out when you get there.
It is easily done but your son or daughter’s feedback is just about the most important part of visiting a school. How do they feel when they walk around, what do they make of the pupils and what do they think of the teachers? Your child or children are the ones who have to sit in these classrooms for the next seven or more years. Besides, as we all know, children are very intuitive and can let you know if they would feel at home at a school or not.
Many schools really push the boat out and have members of staff, pupils, non-teaching staff, staff children, VIPs, guest speakers and other people ready to answer all your questions. What would you like to know? It is important that you feel comfortable and confident about asking any questions you wish to ask about your child’s education. Being open day ready is about having questions at the ready.
Some good questions to ask the teachers and/or your tour guides are:
What makes this school stand out?
Are you happy at this school?
What type of after-school activities, music, sports, etc. are available?
What is the school food like?
Is there Saturday school?
What is the homework situation like?
What are some typical school trips?
Would you send your child to school here (probably best not to ask a pupil)?
There are many tough questions you may wish to ask too. While not all of them are suitable to ask your tour guides, you should not be afraid to ask these questions. Please ask about the school’s anti-bullying policy, its diversity policy, its measures to promote mental well-being and everything else you may find important. An Open Day is not only an opportunity to promote a carefree, happy-go-lucky environment; it is an opportunity to understand how your child(ren) will be cared for and by whom. It is an opportunity to find out if pupils and certainly teachers seem interested in their welfare.
Some talk about it in the car on the way home and some discuss it over dinner. Some write pros and cons lists. Make sure you plan a time to talk about your experience. What did you like and dislike and what did the other members of the family like or dislike? What did you notice that no one else did and vice versa? Perhaps it’s a good idea to bring a notepad and leave it in the car. With the visit still fresh in your mind, you can jot down some ideas to discuss later.
For most families, although it’s an important step, the Open Day is only one step in the decision making process. There is no need to make your final decision based on this one visit. From here, pick up the phone and speak to the Admissions Team. Arrange another visit where you also speak with the Head or think about having your son or daughter sign up for a Taster Day. There is no such thing as too many questions or too many phone calls.