Choosing the Right High School

I cannot believe we have reached this milestone. It is time to apply for High School for our eldest daughter, who is now in her final year at Primary School. Excuse me while I cry in the corner for a minute.

Ok, I’m back! Seriously, this is a huge deal for me. Back in the early 90s when I started high school, we simply went to the local school that we could walk to. There was no choice of neighbouring schools, we weren’t Catholic, my parents had no expectations of finding a school that was best for me and my siblings. How times have changed. We have been invited to school open evenings (pre- and post-Covid), we have pored over prospectuses, we have studied bus routes, and we have spoken to our friends about their experiences of choosing the right high school. It seems like a monumental task.

We are fortunate here in mid Cheshire to have several good schools within the catchment area. There is one in our town which is where we assumed we would send our children to. My husband and I both walked to school in our home town (he went to the rival Catholic school), he had a much better school experience than I did, and we felt that our local high school would be sufficient. Then we visited a girls’ high school in the nearby town and suddenly it wasn’t so clear. Our daughter loved it! We loved it. She will have to catch a bus and leave home earlier than she currently does, but she is excited about this new school possibility.

The girls’ high school is a ten-minute drive from home and the bus goes right past our house on the route. It is a large school, much bigger than the one in our town that we previously thought we would be applying for. This high school was welcoming, modern, well equipped and seems to have something for everyone. I think it was the purpose-built dance studio and drama studio that clinched it for our daughter, but she fell in love. She can study dance and drama at GCSE level if she wants to. I never had that opportunity. She will have a business studies class as part of her curriculum. She has access to an engineering workshop where the girls are encouraged to explore STEM subjects, build electric cars, and be part of the future with design and technology.

I still remember being humiliated in Year 9 by my electronics teacher because I struggled to understand a basic circuit board. He made me sit at my desk almost in tears after shouting at me in front of the whole class, and guess what, I lost interest in technology after that because I thought I wasn’t good enough. My high school experience was poor by comparison, and I was anxious about this transition for my daughter. I now feel more confident about our decision because I truly feel that she will be encouraged to develop her natural skills and talents and to learn new ones, which ultimately will give her confidence and capability to pursue whatever career she chooses in the future.

How was your experience of high school, and how did that inform your decision for your children? Please share in the comments.

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2 Responses to Choosing the Right High School

  1. I have no children, and all I can say about high school is that I don’t look upon the experience either with any nostalgia 🙂

    I hope your daughter has a great experience though.

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