Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Just Think about Exams ( It's about Life

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Just Think about Exams ( It's about Life

Article excerpt

As anyone who has been educated privately will know, independent schools are not just about better exam results.

The 200-plus private schools in the North offer a plethora of activities from music, drama and art to riding, fencing and judo as well as clubs, societies, expeditions and community work that widen the horizons of pupils and give every child an invaluable training for life itself.

Choosing which private school is right for your child is therefore crucial. It is a highly personal decision because every child has slightly different needs.

Whatever stage you're at ( whether you've already made the decision to send your child to a private school, or if you're still deciding between the state and private sector, the first step is to contact The Independent Schools Information Service (ISIS).

ISIS North publishes a handbook listing more than 200 accredited schools in the region.

The next thing to do is to contact each school that interests you and ask for a prospectus.

Narrowing down your choice from more than 200 schools isn't easy and every child has different needs.

For some, location is the main factor, others may want a school that is particularly strong in drama or music, whereas some parents may feel that a well-rounded education is the most important thing.

Exam results may be another factor and a limited budget may also play a part.

If your child has friends at the same school, this may also need to be taken into consideration.

Once you have narrowed down your choice to two or three, make appointments to visit the various schools.

Most have open days but you can also make an appointment to visit on a normal working day.

This will give you a better idea of a typical day, when pupils and staff are more relaxed and less likely to be "on their best behaviour".

Don Hutton, regional director of ISIS North, recommends that parents visit more than one school if possible. …

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