Whether you’re visiting a school or picking one from abroad, here’s a handy guide of all the questions to ask to help you make the right decision.
When it comes to picking a school for your child, seeing is believing. That’s why it’s so important to visit the schools you’ve shortlisted, or if you can’t be physically present, to attend the schools’ virtual tours. Not only will you and your child get to see how classes are conducted, but you’ll also get the chance to speak to the Admissions Team and the schools’ leadership team. We’ve compiled a list of all the important questions you should ask the schools during your session right here.
1. What’s the school culture like?
Is this a school where the Head of School, Principals, and teachers have an open door policy? How does the school recognise a student’s achievements? These are just part and parcel of what makes up a school’s culture. It’s important to find out about a school’s ethos and culture, as this can help you determine if it’s a good fit for your child. Finding a school with a culture that matches your child’s previous school and your family’s values can really help with your child’s transition to a new school.
2. What are the teachers’ qualifications, and does the school provide them with Professional Development?
Not only are teachers the backbone of the school they teach in, but they’re also some of the people your child will be interacting with on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to ask the educators or the Admissions Team about their teaching styles, qualifications, and if the school invests in Professional Development for members of its faculty. After all, these are the people whom your child will be learning from – so you want to make sure that they’re learning from subject experts.
3. What’s the level of diversity in the school?
Aside from the curriculum, another huge benefit an international school can provide to your child is exposure to a diverse community. So feel free to ask about its demographic breakdown, if there’s a dominant nationality that may affect the school culture, and what the school does to ensure inclusivity for all its students.
4. Does the school have a community for parents?
How does the school keep parents informed about the happenings on campus? Is there a parent association that you can join? These are just some questions that you can ask to gauge the level of parental involvement. Ideally, you should pick a school that provides the level of parental engagement that’s right for you and helps your child settle in during the beginning of their school year.
5. How does the school take care of its students’ well-being?
Your child’s success in school shouldn’t be solely based on their academic performance but their development as a whole. As such, you should find out what steps the school takes to support your child mentally and emotionally. For example – How many school counsellors are there, and what are their qualifications? How does the school help a new student settle in? Who can you check in with to find out about your child’s wellbeing?
6. What’s included (and not included) in the school fees?
Ask for a comprehensive breakdown of all the fees, including the add-ons (if any), so you can gauge if the chosen school is within your budget. The monthly fees may fit your budget at first glance, but there may also be exam fees, field trip costs, sports and technology fees that may not be covered in it. So don’t be shy to be upfront about finances, as the last thing you want is to withdraw your child from the school and restart the search again.
Choose a school where your child can thrive in the areas that matter to them
As parents, we should remain as objective as possible in the school-choosing process and focus on finding a school that has the right ‘feel’ for your child. According to XCL Education, a forward-thinking education group in Southeast Asia, it’s best to choose a school where your child can succeed in the areas that are important to them, and one that prepares them for the future. XCL Education group runs two international schools in Singapore:
- XCL World Academy (XWA), which offers a rigorous and balanced education for students aged two to 18, beginning with its Nursery programme and continuing through the full International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum of studies. This school believes in future-proofing your child by providing relevant skills and exposures, equipping them with the skills required for the jobs of tomorrow. Through its world-class curriculum and with the guidance of highly experienced teachers, your child will embark on a self-directed journey to become a skilled and empathetic young individual. Plus, it has a community just for parents – the Parent Engagement and Connection Community.
- XCL American Academy (XAA), an affordable international school that provides a rigorous and high-quality American education. The American curriculum offered is enhanced with internationally recognised programmes like Everyday Math, Inspired Science, and a balanced approach to literacy with materials from Scholastic. It also has a unique character development programme – Pioneer Spirit – that’s based on the renowned Second Step programme as well.
This post is in partnership with XCL Education.