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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boarding School

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The following checklist is designed to help you choose an appropriate private school in any country of the world:

Does the school have a good reputation? How long has it been established? If it’s an international school, does it belong to a recognised association?

Does the school have a decent academic record? For example, what percentage of pupils obtain good examination passes or go on to university? All schools should provide exam pass rate statistics. Choose the best school available if your goal is to help your child to get to university in the future.

How large are the classes and what is the student/teacher ratio?

What are the classrooms like? For example, their size, space, cleanliness, lighting, furniture and furnishings. Are there signs of creative teaching, e.g. wall charts, maps, posters and students’ work on display?

What are the qualification requirements for teachers? What nationality are the majority of teachers? Ask for a list of the teaching staff and their qualifications.

What is the teacher turnover? A high teacher turnover is a bad sign and usually suggests under-paid teachers and poor working conditions.

What extras must you pay for? For example, art supplies, sports equipment, outings, clothing, health and accident insurance, meals, private bus transport, text books and stationery. Some schools charge parents for everything on top, some do not.

Which countries do most students come from? What is the nationalities mix?

Is religion an important consideration in your choice of school?

Are special English classes provided for children whose English doesn’t meet the required standard?

What standard and type of accommodation is provided in a boarding school?

What is the quality and variety of food provided? What is the dining room like? Does the school have a dietician?

What languages does the school teach as obligatory or optional subjects?

What is the student turnover?

What are the school terms and holiday periods? Private school holidays are usually longer than those of state schools, e.g. four weeks at Easter and Christmas and ten weeks in the summer, and often don’t coincide with state school holiday periods.

What are the school hours?

What are the withdrawal conditions, should you need or wish to remove your child? A term’s notice is usual.

What does the curriculum include? What examinations are set? Are examinations recognised both in Italy and internationally? Do they fit in with your education plans? Ask to see a typical pupil timetable to check the ratio of academic to non-academic subjects. Check the number of free study periods and whether they’re supervised.

What sports instruction and facilities are provided? Where are the sports facilities located?

What facilities are provided for art and science subjects, e.g. arts and crafts, music, computer studies, biology, science, hobbies, drama, cookery and photography? Ask to see the classrooms, facilities, equipment and students’ projects.

What sort of outings and holidays does the school organise?

What reports are provided for parents and how often?

What medical facilities does the school provide, e.g. infirmary, resident doctor or nurse? Is medical and accident insurance included in the fees?

What punishments are applied and for what offences?

Last but not least, unless someone else is paying, what are the fees?

Before making a choice, it’s important to visit the schools on your shortlist during term time and talk to teachers, students and, if possible, former students and their parents. Where possible, check the answers to the above questions in person and don’t rely only on a school’s prospectus to provide the information. If you’re unhappy with the answers you get, look elsewhere.

We also offer touring boarding schools with families and we assist in making a right choice! Please see what we can do for you!

We assist families in making boarding school choice. We can travel with parents to any boarding school in the UK, assist them in assessing the chosen schools. We can also travel to any destination in the world with you to see a boarding school you have chosen and help you to make a right decision. This service is paid for, please make an enquiry, if interested to use our consulting advice. We speak English, Chinese, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Slovak and many other languages.

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