There’s no denying it – St Albans is one of those places that people move to to have a family. It means that the local parents Facebook groups and online forums are absolutely full of questions about local schools. Things about how big the intake is, where the catchment area stretches to and where they can find the latest Ofsted report. Information about all these things is out there somewhere on the internet, but the relaunched School Reviewer website brings it all together beautifully.
As a parent, your child’s education is one of the most important things you can plan for and parents are wanting to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible before making decisions about where to apply, or even where to buy houses. Being a local school governor I feel that I actually know the local school scene reasonably well – at infant level at least – but I’ve always felt that parents should make their own decisions based on what is right for them. And the best way to do that is to find out as much as possible about a school before going and visiting it.
What I absolutely love about School Reviewer is just how much information they have and how it’s been presented in an easy to follow way. You can search for educational establishments around a postcode based on stage (pre-school, primary, secondary etc) but also type (state school or independent) and then for each school you can look at a heat-map showing where the catchment area has been in recent years, see all the data on the school and links to the latest Ofsted report and other academic data, depending on the school stage.
As if that wasn’t enough they have also included forums where you can go online and talk to other parents at a school, or even prospective parents as you might be.
Another genius addition in my mind is the new buy/sell section where parents can, as the name suggests, buy and sell things like used uniform or other school equipment, on a school by school basis. So much easier than trawling through a large selling group somewhere to see if someone has the right blazer that your child needs.
The help for parents doesn’t stop there though as School Reviewer also now exclusively includes walkthroughs for Maths GCSE, SATs and soon to be launched 11+ papers. So many parents will know that things have changed since we were at school and knowing how to help your children can be increasingly difficult. School Reviewer have teamed up with a teacher who both sets and marks exams to give you and your children clear and easy to follow solutions to show you how to achieve that 100% score, as well as pointing out common pitfalls to avoid. It’s just like having a home tutor, but at a fraction of the cost. But if you think that you still need a tutor for your child to help them that bit more then School Reviewer are also currently building up a database of tutors so that parents will be able to search for one local to them.
Shockingly it’s soon going to be time for us to apply for Little Miss C’s junior school place and whilst I’m pretty sure I know where she will go I now know that I can at least do my homework on School Reviewer first. My head’s still firmly in the sand on the whole concept of secondary schools, but sadly not for much longer I guess!
Disclaimer: This post was brought to you in collaboration with School Reviewer. All opinions remain my own.