Your Guide to Picking the Right School

One of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make is choosing which school to attend. This could be secondary school, sixth form/college, or university. Education is the first step on the path to your future career, and your choice now will determine which opportunities you’ll be exposed to during your academic life. So, what determines the right school?

No school is going to be the perfect place for every type of student. In the right setting, you can make friends for life, gain new experiences, and be in the ideal environment to exceed academically.

There are seven key aspects to choosing a school that should be considered carefully before making a decision over which one is right for you.

Exam Results

While it shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, exam results are an excellent indication as to how well a school performs on a consistent basis. Each year, league tables are published which show the schools and universities that have received the best exam results. This is often further accompanied by other ratings, such as progress 8 scores and student satisfaction levels. You can get a great picture of how a school has performed across the board by spending a little time looking at the academic results and reports.


A secondary performance indicator is provided by OFSTED, who perform inspections on the services that schools and universities provide. Taking a look at the OFSTED reports offers a much more in-depth study of the school life and care that an establishment is able to provide. OFSTED reports examine multiple areas of a school and give a grade between 1 (outstanding) and 4 (Inadequate) for each aspect. While the rating does not take into account every element of a school, it is an excellent indication as to how well the establishment is catering towards its pupil’s needs.


There are few better ways to know whether a school is right for you than by experiencing the environment first-hand. Each school holds different values and has different expectations of its students, which can normally be experienced by touring the school. By looking around the premises, you can evaluate the standards of the school, quality of teaching, and the ethos of the students. The right school culture will help you to make the most of your time at the school and the experiences that will be available.


Facilities are a big part of school life and reveal a lot about what the school is able to offer its students. It also shows where new school funding is being directed. New buildings, educational resources, and modernisation, all reveal what opportunities you will have at the school, and which departments are focused on. For university education, this can reveal whether your preferred subject is well catered to by the establishment.


An important aspect of all tiers of education is the curriculum available. Secondary education is very standardised, but many schools do offer additional subjects and classes for students to further expand their abilities. For A-levels and university degrees, the subjects available to study is an important basis for choosing which school to attend. Some colleges and universities specialise in certain areas, so whilst they may be lower down on the league tables overall, they can still offer exceptional educational opportunities.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Academics are a vital part of your educational career, but they are not the only experiences a school can provide. The diversity and amount of extra-curricular activities available, demonstrate the type of students that attend the school, along with what opportunities there are for further development. Sport clubs, music bands, societies, community projects, and school trips, all make up an important part of the educational experience.

Further Prospects

Many people choose a school based on the future career or study path that they wish to follow. When choosing a school for this purpose, it can help to look at what past students have achieved since leaving the school. This partially shows what their time at the school has helped them to achieve, and where the school directs its pupils. Further prospects include which jobs university students have moved on to, and how many students progressed to university or sixth form/college after attending a school.

Choosing the perfect school is a very difficult task. Until you experience the culture of the school first-hand, it is very difficult to know whether it will be right for you in the long run. However, by following our guide, and learning more about the potential schools you are looking at, you can make an informed decision.

Whichever school you choose to attend, the success of your educational career is dependant on the work that you put in and your commitment to studying. Choosing a school that can tailor to your needs, and help you to follow your desired career path, is a wonderful bonus that provides invaluable assistance along the way.