School Guide

Questions to ask when considering a private school

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Jan 30, 2020, 12:29 PM

Now that you have decided on enrolling your child into a private school, what comes next is to find a school that is the perfect fit. Instead of searching for reviews and opinions online, it is best to visit schools to get the feel of the environment, the facilities and talk to the staff to really get to know the place where your child will spend most of their time.

Questions such as the quality of academics and achievements of the school are quite general and would not really differentiate the schools much. And these are questions that you would ask anyway to any kind of school you send your child too. But private schools are, in essence, different than public and international schools, so the set of questions you should be asking should be different too.

SchoolAdvisor has prepared a few questions that parents should be asking a private school when looking for the best fit.

What is the special focus of the school?

Private schools have their own focus, also known as vision and mission of the school, and it can be art, music, languages, overall well-being of a student or to be the best private school in the country. After understanding the perception and the strategic planning of the school’s commitment towards a focus can actually help to figure out if it suits the child’s passion, personality or strength, and if it does then it is definitely a green light. Parents can even dive deeper into the school’s actual identity and values.

What are the facilities and technology in the school?

Something that differentiates private schools from public schools is facilities. Private schools when compared to public schools, have facilities that are more updated and reformed. But private schools are still not as well equipped as international schools. Good facilities provided in school will hone the skill sets of a student, not to mention they can try and undertake new activities with the facilities being made accessible to them. Are the classrooms air-conditioned, acoustic so there won’t be much disturbance from outside? The money should go into the right private school, as some are not necessarily well-equipped even with their unbelievable expensive fees. The usage of technology implemented in classes are currently used in most private schools, but not all.

How deeply involved are the parents in school?  

Private schools are following the footsteps of International schools by encouraging more parents’ involvement in their child’s education. Children tend to do better with the participation of a parent, their presence help improve the child’s mental and social skills, making them more optimistic and confident. It is important to ask the school if there is Parent-Teacher Association in the school and what they do, how involved are the parents in the child’s education, how do teachers communicate with the parents, how do parents get updated on the well-being of their child? It is crucial to get involved in the child’s education to monitor their improvement. Having said that, not all private schools allow complete participation of parents in the school educations unlike international schools, so ask these questions if participating in your child’s education is important to you.

What are the types of extracurricular activities offered in school?

 Academics are important, but so are extracurricular pursuits such as arts, music, sports, tennis or participating in clubs. What most private schools have in common with international schools is that they know extracurricular activities play a huge role in developing a more well-rounded education for their students. It is vital and beneficial to have extracurricular activities in school where the children/students can work on their teamwork, social, critical thinking skills which would mould them into becoming future leaders. Even though most private schools have quite an extensive range of extracurricular activities, they are not as wide as some top-tier international schools. So, make sure to ask if the school offers what your child is most interested in.

How does the school handle the misbehavior of students?

Children/students can’t be well educated without discipline, which trains their mind and moulds their personality by developing their self-awareness towards their behaviour. With proper actions taken by the school/teacher, all will thrive together in a peaceful environment where students get along well and respect teachers. So, it is important to ask questions like does the school simply demerit the student’s points, suspend them from school or punish them by asking them to do community service like cleaning the hallways? How do they take action? You should want to know the type of disciplinary action system they have and consider what matches your expectations when it comes to disciplining your child.

What is the primary language of instruction?

English might have become the universal language, but when it comes to private schools in Malaysia English language sometimes must take a backseat. As private schools are still under the Ministry of Education of Malaysia and the curriculum followed by the school is Malaysian, the primary language spoken at the school is sometimes the official language of Malaysia – Bahasa Melayu. Another reason for this is also the fact that some private schools have more of local teachers and local students, who are more comfortable with speaking the local language. Some private schools are also vernacular schools, where they mainly speak and educate in a specific language. To parents who care about the language is spoken would want to know exactly what language is used as the primary medium of instruction.

Does the school provide religious studies?

Parents who want their children to be educated in religious studies will have to search for religious private schools; Islamic, Christian, Chinese, Indian, or others, because not all private schools provide religious studies. It depends on what curriculum the private school follows.

What type of environment does the school have?

Is it very local, a mix of local and international students or mainly internationals students? This is important because while some parents prefer their children to grow up in an environment that nurtures local students only while some might want their children to get exposure to different cultures.

Hopefully, these questions can assist you in searching for the best private school for your child. But remember that all research and school visits aside, find a school that your child is happy in, just to ensure that your child looks forward to going to school every day.

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