As Saturday Schools spring up around the country, we want to provide some guidelines on how to choose the right school. What are the qualities that make a Saturday school stand out from others? What should you be looking for when making your choice?

You should take the same care and diligence in choosing a Saturday school as you would a day school. The two should complement each other. At least the Saturday School’s teaching must be on a par with that received in mainstream school (if not above it). For the very best results, your child should not be confused by the two methods of teaching.

School can be defined as:

The process of being educated formally, especially education constituting a planned series of courses over a number of years a place for training and instruction in some special field, or skill…

Where the word ‘school’ is used in connection with lessons on Saturday you should expect classes and lessons conducted in a formal or semi formal format , taught by experts, that is teachers holding a degree or other relevant qualification.

In terms of academic Saturday Schools, parents expect an institution which will bridge the gap between the teaching that takes place in mainstream school and that on a Saturday.

With that in mind here are some guidelines when selecting a Saturday School:

1. Is it formal (are there desks, chairs, whiteboards, computers)?
2. Does the school have a structure,
3. Are the children taught in classrooms?
4. Are the staff qualified teachers?
5. Are the staff CRB checked to ensure the safety of your child
6. Does the school have a formal curriculum
7. Do the teachers have a scheme of work?
8. Does the school follow the guidelines of the National Curriculum
9. Do you have access to the teachers for queries, progress reports etc
10. Is there a system for monitoring your child’s progress over time
11. What is the ratio of teacher to student
12. What is the class size?
13. Does the school have references, testimonials from existing and former parents?
14. What is their record of success
15. What is the environment like, will you child feel comfortable and happy there?
16. Distance from home
17. Behaviour of other students

As with everything else, you get what you pay for and the best Saturday schools with very small class sizes, conducted in a formal school environment will naturally be more expensive than schools with large classes held in a less structured environment.

In short Saturday School should be a professional establishment for learning. It should be a place that your child is happy to go to and for which he/she is prepared to give up their Saturday morning lie-in