Open Days – Good or Bad?

We are often asked here at Schoolstrader if Independent School Open Days are useful, are they worth going to? The answer is a resounding YES! Of course, there will be loads of other parents and children there, and you may not get as much time with the Head of Physics as you would like, but the whole process will give you valuable insights into the school and the way it operates. Seeing the school grounds, where it sits in the countryside or city, what the “feel” of the place is – the atmosphere – all important parts of the jigsaw.

All types of school offer Open Days, Open Mornings, Open Events (like concerts and fairs), and Open Evenings. Some offer Open Weekends, and we have even seen some Open Weeks! They can also offer private tours, virtual tours, or private meetings with specific teachers. Boarding private schools, day independent schools, public schools, nursery schools, secondary schools, prep schools, pre-prep schools, and kindergartens – almost all of them run great open events.

From the communication with the school beforehand (is it efficient and friendly and clear?) to the greeting in the car park (careful not to park in the Head’s space by mistake!), the quality of the coffee and the state of the buildings – you will have a chance to see behind the scenes. One of the most useful things to see is how the children behave towards each other – and to their teachers – and indeed also to you. Do they look miserable and avoid looking at you, or cheerful and engaged?

Independent schools put a lot of effort into their open days, and there are a wide range on offer – from guided tours, to talks, meet-and-greet with the Head – even a cricket match with a full tea laid on. Some families split up so that one parent can speak to some of the teachers and another of your group might go and check out the chapel. Spreading the intel gathering is a good idea – as is chatting to the other visitors and seeing what they think. And of course, bring Sam along so that he/she gets a feel for the place too.

And afterwards, the schools are always happy to answer questions or organize follow-up meetings with teachers or housemasters or housemistresses. Many of our schools on offer boarding – weekly and full, scholarships and bursaries. Please use our site to search for the best schools in your area and to check their open day dates – some require registration. If you need any help or advice, please feel free to email us in the office – between us we have many years of experience in the independent school sector, many of our family were either pupils, scholars, teachers, or even Heads at some of the leading schools in the country including Cranleigh Prep School, tonbridge school open day, Oundle, King’s Canterbury, Cumnor House school open days, Vinehall, Sevenoaks, benenden school open day, and King’s School Worcester.

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