Finding the right school for children is an increasingly confusing task for many parents. CBSE, ICSE, Cambridge (IGCSE), IB, and State board are the main choices parents have from a syllabus perspective. Then there is the overlay of the method of instruction/delivery model, ethos and culture of different schools which make schools even more distinct. Therefore, how do parents decide?
At CS Academy, we get applicants from a wide variety of schools. Last year we received over 2000 applications for around 500 admissions we granted. We do a baseline assessment for all students at entry and over the years we have accumulated a reasonably large database of information. In our experience, the performance of students does not seem to correlate as much with the syllabus as with the other aspects of the student’s education, especially in primary and middle school. What that means is that there are great State Board schools out there, and there are poor Cambridge and IB schools too. It does not necessarily follow that a board/syllabus will make a school good automatically.
Schools have different cultures and focus. Some are academically inclined, placing academic achievement as the most important goal to achieve. There are others that focus on a more empathetic environment, supportive and friendly with a more laid-back approach. There is a third type which focuses on sporting achievement, exemplified by specialist sports schools. And then there are the ones that focus on all-round development, providing an environment for achievement in various spheres depending on the inclination of the student.
So, for parents looking for that perfect school for their child, a good starting point is to understand what they are looking for first, explicitly. Do you want a challenging and competitive environment? Or an environment which is laid back and easy-going? Do you want your child to be part of a large school with lots of facilities, a large and varied student body and a reflection of reality or a more niche one where every child and teacher know each other, providing a more secure and cosy environment? There are always trade-offs in every choice we make and parents should start their selection process from an understanding of their child’s needs and future goals.