What To Ask A Head Teacher At An Open Day


School plays a vital role in instilling values in children and nurturing their personal growth. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your children's well-being and learning experience at school. To facilitate this, educational institutions often organise events like 'Open Day' or 'Open House', which serve as opportunities for parents to gain insight into the school's activities. These events are not only for current students but also for parents seeking the right school for their children. Open Day provides parents a platform to familiarise themselves with the school's ethos, learn about curriculum enhancements, and stay informed about ongoing developments.

Furthermore, attending an open day allows you to understand if the school aligns with your preferences for your child's educational environment. It offers a valuable opportunity to assess the school's suitability for your child. Additionally, observing the students during the open day can provide insights into their comfort as they navigate their daily routines at the school.

If you're considering a visit to a school in the UAE for an open day and are confused about what to ask the head teachers, Connector has put together a comprehensive list of questions for your reference. Keep reading to find out more.

Could you share your school's guiding principles and values?

This open-ended question aims to delve into the school's core philosophy and ambience, allowing for a deeper understanding of the institution's character. It provides a glimpse into the educators' perspectives on child upbringing and their beliefs regarding the educational role in society.

What makes your school stand out from others?

This question helps you understand the core of the school's unique qualities, its primary strengths, and how it distinguishes itself from competing institutions. It provides insights into the school's perception of its competition, highlighting what they consider important. Secondly, the school will outline its own core values, which reflect its identity and principles. These are the values that will influence your child's education.

What extracurricular options do you offer for students?

This provides insights into the school's dedication to nurturing your child's holistic development, ensuring that they have opportunities beyond academics. Extracurricular activities play a crucial role in shaping a child's character, teaching values like sportsmanship, and aiding in the development of resilience through experiences of both success and setbacks.

How does the school handle the well-being of students?

This question delves into the school's approach to addressing the non-academic aspects of a child's education, including issues like drugs, alcohol, behaviour, and relationships. It's especially relevant when considering boarding schools. This open-ended question provides insight into the daily care and support that the school provides for its students. 

Mr Ian Ward, who serves as the Principal of Emirates International School Meadows, has also provided valuable recommendations for questions that parents should consider asking. According to Mr Ian Ward, parents should pose enquiries such as:

  1. What after-school activities does your school offer?
  2. Tell me about the university destinations of your students.
  3. Is there an ‘open door policy’ at the school if students or parents have concerns?
  4. What is your school aiming to achieve in the next 5 years?
  5. What are you most proud of at your school?
  6. What is your school's take on bullying?

These questions aid parents in gaining insight into current state and future objectives of the school, facilitating an informed decision-making process.

When it comes to additional queries, here are some more questions that parents should contemplate asking during an open day.

How does the school support students in terms of career guidance and preparing for higher education?

Traditionally, schools relied on questionnaires to assess individuals' aptitudes and interests, which often proved unreliable. Therefore, parents should enquire about the methods and tools the school employs for career guidance. It's essential to understand whether the school has dedicated staff to mentor students throughout their academic journey or if they outsource this responsibility. 

What is the rate of staff turnover?

This question serves to determine if there are any concerns regarding the school's ability to retain its staff, which, in turn, can be an indicator of the school's overall work environment and teacher satisfaction. It offers insight into broader issues such as investment in teacher development, job fulfilment, and teacher engagement.

What type of student is best suited for this school?

This question serves as a valuable tool for uncovering the specific attributes and qualities that the school believes are most conducive to a student's success within their academic environment. It, in turn, offers insights into the school's own character and values.

Do you provide educational assistance for students with additional learning needs?

If you're aware that your child requires extra help in the classroom, this is a crucial aspect to consider. It's also valuable to understand the school's approach to providing additional support, as it can be vital for your child's future. Similarly, it's important to know their strategy for highly capable and gifted students to ensure that if your child excels in a particular subject, they receive the necessary guidance, support, and encouragement to continue thriving.

Which educational framework is implemented at your school?

It's essential to ensure that your child's learning and academic needs align with the school's curriculum. To do this, gather comprehensive information about the school's curriculum. Enquire about the educational standards and guidelines the school follows. 

How are individual achievement and progress assessed at the school?

Every school employs methods to measure student progress, even those that may avoid conventional grading systems have their ways to track student performance. Exploring the school's strategy for measuring student progress is imperative, as it's vital to stay informed about your child's academic development.

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