Making the right choice of school is one of the most important decisions a parent has to make. It seems like no sooner have you settled on a primary school then it’s time to start all over again looking into the secondaries. There’s obviously the ‘official’ data to consider, league tables of exam results and OFSTED reports, but we know that’s only half the story. Personal experiences from friends and family can give us an even better insight into the culture and atmosphere of a school. Unfortunately, we’re not always lucky enough to know people who’ve attended all of the schools we’re considering.
School Reviewer Website
This week I’ve been trying out a website called School Reviewer. It aims to give parents the breadth of information they need to choose a school while also having lots of other useful features. School Reviewer holds data on thousands of primary and secondary schools and you can search through it by school name, location or postcode to find the schools you’re interested in.
For each school you will find all the factual information you need. There’s contact details, name of the Head, number of kids, last OFSTED rating and links to download the full report. Naturally, there’s also exam results for SATS/GCSEs/A-Levels too. A catchment area map shows where the majority of the pupils live which is a great guide for how likely you are to be able to get a place in oversubscribed schools.
The review section for each school then allows both parents and staff to share their thoughts on the school, anonymously if they wish, in the form of a written review plus star ratings on everything from leadership to the quality of the food. Of course, it’s important to remember that personal reviews can only ever give you one person’s version of the school but as more reviews build up I think you’ll be able to tell a lot from consistent themes that come up.
School Reviewer Additional Features
As well as school information, School Reviewer also holds a database of tutors available for hire and video tutorials demonstrating how to answer a selection of papers including 11+, SATs and GCSEs. These are easy to digest ‘bitesized’ videos showing step by step how to answer a question and get full marks. A really useful resource in the run up to exams. There is a chat forum feature which allows you to ask questions to parents at your chosen school or just to the School Reviewer community as a whole. A Sell and Buy facility also gives you the chance to find or get rid of items like outgrown school uniforms. Finally, School Reviewer also publishes helpful article, such as a social media guide for parents, and recommends companies like Marketing Heaven for them if they were looking to kickstart a social-media-based business at home.
School Reviewer says ‘It is the aim of School Reviewer to be the definitive website of choice for the public to access unbiased and objective reviews of educational establishments in the United Kingdom.’ While it is still early days as reviews are building up I think there is every chance it could achieve that aim. It is easy to navigate and use and the layout is attractive. The majority of features are free with a small cost for others like practice papers.
Why not head over to School Reviewer and see what people are saying about your local schools? You can even leave a review yourself and help other parents make that tricky decision.