Top Tips for Applying to a UK Independent School
Be Mindful of Timeline
In an ideal scenario the process of selecting and applying to a UK Independent School would begin 3 years before your child's intended start date. However, such a timeline is not realistic for many families, particularly international families, so in that case I would encourage families to start the process as soon as it becomes clear that this is a direction you'd like to explore. Don't panic, late applications happen all the time!
Try to Keep an Open Mind
There are many good schools to choose from, and while the big names have the reputation they do for a reason, I would encourage families to keep an open mind as there are a number of really fantastic schools that may be a great fit for your child's specific set of needs. When we begin the journey of finding the right school with a family, we like to take time to really understand their priorities and get to know their child. This approach builds a much stronger foundation for our work together and will help us create a selection process that is tailor-made. This kind of application process is a learning curve, so we always encourage families to be open to the new information it can afford and let that in turn inform the decisions you make.
Put Your Child at The Centre
Leading on from above, understanding the academic potential and the personality of the child is very important. We describe some schools as being big, buzzy and lively, is that the kind of environment in which your child will thrive? Or would a smaller, more personal, more nurturing environment be a better fit? Does your child have particular talents that need to be nurtured? If so, which schools can really take that talent and run with it? Ultimately we want to find a school in which your child will be happy and successful.
Get good advice!
Embarking upon this kind of school selection process is a real journey, a learning curve, and a considerable investment. It is therefore important to work with someone whose advice you really trust, who can advocate for both your priorities and your child's needs, and be a reliable sounding-board every step of the way. We would also advise parents to take the advice of friends with caution—what's right for their child may not be what is right for yours.