So you've realised that mainstream school isn't the right fit for your child. You've considered options like homeschooling and private tutoring, but online education feels like the right choice for you. In this blog we'll discuss how to choose the best online school for your child.
We'll look at:
- Things to consider when choosing an online school
- Steps to take to choose the right school for your child
Things to consider when choosing an online school
Online schools have gained momentum in the past few years. Post-pandemic, there are now lots of excellent options to choose from. When it comes to choosing the best online school for your child, there are a few key things to consider:
A good online school will follow a set curriculum that covers all the most important aspects of a child's education. The English National Curriculum is the top choice not just for UK families, but international families too. It includes a broad and balanced mix of academic and creative subjects and sets a global standard for high quality education.
Different online schools offer different ways of teaching online. Some offer live, interactive virtual lessons daily, while others offer a more student-led approach. When choosing an online school for your child, you'll want to think about the way they learn best. Other factors to consider are class sizes and whether they make live lessons recordings available or not.
Every child is different and exam results aren't everything. But when it comes to choosing your child's online school, good academic results are something you'll want to look out for. Exam results can give you a sense of how effective an online school teaching method is and how well it supports its students.
Online or not, it's important that your child's school takes pastoral care seriously. Look out for 1-1 sessions, tutor groups and wellbeing support in an online setting. Some online schools even have a qualified SENDCo on staff if your child has Special Education Needs.
The best online schools recognise that school is about more than just teaching and learning. One of the top questions parents have when considering this option is 'How will my child make friends?'. So, look for schools that have things in place to help children and families make friends and connect. Green flags include:
- House or tutor groups
- Celebration events
- A school community platform
- In-person meet-ups
Steps to take when choosing an online school
Attend an Open Event
Attending a virtual open day or event is a must if you’re looking into online schools, especially if you’re new to online learning. These are a great way to get a real feel for the school, its values and how it all works.
Speak with Admissions
Sometimes the best way to get the information you need is by picking up the phone. Many online schools will have a school office that you can contact, or they might have the option to book a call with their admissions team.
When choosing the best online school for your child, you’ll want to treat things similar to how you would if you were choosing a mainstream school. Reading reviews from other parents is a great way to get an impartial, transparent view of a school. External website such as The Good Schools Guide and Trustpilot can be helpful here.
Create a shortlist
Once you’ve explored a number of options, it helps to create a shortlist to narrow it down. You can also check in with your child and get their feedback on what online school they like best.