The academics at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) asked members of the public what they believed made a ‘good school’. The organisation interviewed 2,176 people and the results may be surprising.
The report from NatCen reveals that there is a very clear emphasis on preparation for life and for work when it comes to first-rate schools. Respondents stated that schools capable of producing ‘pupils who become confident and self-assured adults’ topped the list. A whopping 84% considered this to be a ‘very important’ quality and was the highest scoring attribute in the survey. 'Schools that help pupils to find fulfilling employment' was also high on the list for most people, with 80% stating that it was a ‘very important’ aspect.
The results also revealed the value of social development within schools; almost 80% said that pupils’ mixing with others from different backgrounds was important in a good school. 72% said that pupils being ‘well-presented and well-behaved’ also reflected on the quality of the institution.
Academic outcomes were significantly less important than might be expected. Although 68% said that it was very important for pupils to make good academic progress, regardless of what standard they start their studies at. It may be surprising to learn that achieving good GCSE results was only rated as ‘very important’ by 57% of the respondents and accessing university was lower still at 22%.
Are overseas parents any different?
For a parent in China, an education overseas is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon a child; no doubt it is a status symbol. However, while sending a child to a top school might provide the chance to brag at a Beijing dinner party, it is not purely about acquiring the educational equivalent of a Prada handbag. Parents, particularly in China and Russia, want to give their children more creative opportunities at school than they might have gained from the tough academic teaching in their own countries.
"The majority of parents I have met over the years aspire to send their child to a high-ranking school whose name is recognised in their social circles. Initially they may seem obsessed only with what ranking the school holds in the UK. However, once you speak to them at greater length they often change their mindset slightly. At Bright World, we assure parents that all boarding schools on our list are very good, and that perhaps an academic hot house is not necessarily going to bring out the best in their child who may be strong in Art or Sports. In this, our 17th year of succsessfully placing international children into UK schools, we have seen many start at lower ranking schools. They grow in confidence, gain a broad and all-round education and still gain places at top UK universities. It really is all about finding the right school for each individual." -Lana Foster, Managing Director at Bright World
So what really makes a good school according to this survey?
In short, a good school is "one that helps prepare pupils for getting a fulfilling job, that helps develop confidence and assurance, and one that puts some emphasis on the social side of pupils being well behaved and presented."
At Bright World, our Admissions team understands that a school where one pupil flourishes might not necessarily be suitable for another. Using the school rankings in combination with the other resources schools have to offer, we take into account what is important to both the parents and the student in our care.
It is clear from the responses that ‘good schools’ are not just about academic success, but defined more by work readiness, personal characteristics and making sure that all children progress throughout their time. When placing a child into a UK boarding school, we should consider these results and the ideas about what really makes a ‘good’ school.
Posted on August 11st, 2017 @ 12:33 AM