Now I’m well aware that the entire UK now knows where their little ones are going for primary one / reception and so this blog post probably isn’t going to be massively popular. That said, I’ve learnt a thing or two in the past couple of months and if I can help a few parents out come January I’ll be happy.



Anyone who knows me will be familiar with my overthinking, catastrophising and second guessing so you can imagine how neurotic I was when applying for Lu’s primary school place. Luckily I had lots of people willing to tolerate listen to me and give great advice. Here are eleven tips that helped us choose the right primary school for Luisa.

  1. Make a pen and paper list of all the schools within a reasonable distance from your home.
  2. Get familiar with the criteria for admissions in your area.
  3. Think about the kind of environment you want, what’s important to you? Outdoor space? Small classes? Modern facilities?
  4. Visit the school at least once. Go to their open day and don’t be afraid to ask if there’s another opportunity to look again.
  5. When you’re at the open day make sure to look at all the areas that are important to you. Be it the IT provisions, playground, library or classrooms.
  6. Ask questions. If you’ve got follow up questions send an email or call the school.
  7. Try to connect with local people who have children at the schools you’re considering and find out what they love about it.
  8. Research the policies at your prospective schools including their bullying and SEN policies. Your child might not ever use SEN services but I feel like it’s a good marker for how progressive and inclusive a school is.
  9. Read the inspection reports but always take them with a pinch of salt. They don’t tell the whole story.
  10. If the schools you’re considering have a website read their bulletins or newsletters. IT gives you a good idea of the day to day goings on and how the school interact with parents.
  11. Trust your gut. I was never 100% certain we’d made the right choice but I did ‘know’ after much thinking, talking and visiting.