School open days: Eight things to look for

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It’s that time of the year when secondary school freshen up their display board, pick out the most appropriate reacted minors and preparations for open evenings.

But how can parents get beyond the silky prospectuses and slick presents and decide whether this is the school for their child?

1. Quiz those hand-picked pupils who demo you guys later

As Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, declares, academies will always pedal out their ace pupils for the open night: “They’ll prefer the pupils who are their ambassadors.”

And who are in a position accuse them? It would be rather worrying if a school returned its own responsibility of demo prospective mothers around to the risque, often-caught-having-a-smoke-behind-the-bike-sheds boys and girls.

But former heads of state of England’s school watchdog Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, says expecting these carefully selected schoolchildren lots of questions can be very revealing.