"new school shoes"

Starting school. Changing school. Changing classes. Applying for school. Starting secondary school. Starting to twitch yet? As parents, the process of getting your child through the education system can seem daunting, and that’s before you even start thinking about all the different stages. Will they make friends? Will their teacher be good? Will they be bullied? Will they get homework, and how much? What on earth are SATs and why is everyone so stressed about them? And don’t even get me started on the secondary school transfer process!

Before our eldest started school, we were fortunate enough to be surrounded by families who had all done it before us. We knew we were in a tricky catchment area, with one very poor school, and we knew how other parents had avoided a school they didn’t want, by ‘managing’ the application process and accepting they wouldn’t get their first choice. It was stressful, but we had some insider knowledge, and we knew we’d be ok.

Not wanting to go through that again though, we moved house well before the time came to apply for secondary schools. We plonked ourselves down in a very average house, right in the middle of the catchment area for the top three state secondary schools in our district. And relaxed.

School Reviewer – a one-stop answer to all your school questions

But even when you’ve set yourselves up well geographically, there is still a lot of anxiety for parents surrounding the school years. This is where School Reviewer can help. As Baroness Karren Brady says, “School Reviewer is the one stop shop for all things education for parents with children of all ages,” and I wish it had been around when we were starting down the path of education for our children.

School Choices – the Facts

Firstly, from a purely factual point, School Reviewer will tell you everything you need to know about the schools in your area. You just enter your postcode, and click on the schools that come up to see the latest Ofsted reports and performance results, as well as the catchment area. There’s a visual ‘heat spot’ map of each school showing how likely you are to get a place for your child, depending on where you live.

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Get the facts from other parents

Once you’re registered and have chosen a school (registration is free), you can log on to the parent forum for each individual school, to see what parents already at the school are saying about it. You can ask questions and find out what the school is really like, from a parent’s point of view. Or if you need more general advice from parents who are already navigating the process, you can post questions on the national forum for tips and insight. There’s also a Buy and Sell section for each school so parents can sell their used and nearly new outgrown uniform and school books.

How to excel in exams

What’s really great about the site is that you can download past papers of all the major exams for practice. Even better, there are video tutorials taking you through exactly what you would have needed to do on that paper to score 100 per cent, giving students and their parents real insight into what to expect from their next test. I have to admit to having watched some of the SATs paper tutorials from the paper my daughter sat this summer – it was quite an eye opener!

School Reviewer really have thought of everything that you’re likely to worry about, or find confusing about your child’s school journey, and tried to answer it. As more parents sign up, more anecdotal and personal information accumulates about each school, and the site has the potential to become the first port of call for any parent on the brink of the education years. Check out your local schools, and start your planning armed with the knowledge!

*Advertorial Post in association with School Reviewer.

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