The Best Way to Prepare for a School Open Day

Ahead of any school Open Day, take the time to visit the respective school website and really get a feel for the school’s vision, values and culture. Choosing the right school for your child requires forward planning and careful consideration.

To help prepare for these visits, it is important to think about the right questions to ask, which is why we have put together a useful list of topics and areas to think about and discuss on the day:

The School’s Vision and Values

It is really important to understand the vision and values of a school to get to the heart of its culture. This is the culture that your child will become a part of and will ultimately influence their educational journey. Questions to ask could include; By attending the school, what qualities will my child gain? What particular values does the school aim to instil in its pupils? How are the school’s vision and values brought to life through examples?

The School Curriculum

Make sure to ask what subject areas the school’s curriculum covers, and if they offer anything unique. You might want to know how the school’s curriculum aligns with the national standards and how learning is structured.

It is wise to compare the curriculums offered if visiting multiple schools, to get an idea of the variety of offerings, and which may best suit your child.

Co-Curricular Offerings

It is not just what happens inside the classroom that counts, co-curricular offerings can open up a whole new world to pupils, helping to inspire and shape new talents.

These activities will often make up a large part of your child’s social, cultural and academic experience during their time at school. You may want to enquire about what is on offer, if there’s any additional costs and how the programmes are structured.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

It is no secret that small class sizes are often advantageous and are an attractive selling point for a school. Find out how many teachers will be assigned to your child’s class, how many other children are currently enrolled and what the gender split is likely to be.

Current Pupils

Open days often present an opportunity to speak with current pupils at the school. These are the true embodiment of what the school can offer and what everyday life may look like for your child. Make sure to ask them lots of questions to get a real insight into the school; What are their favourite subjects? Do they feel encouraged and supported at school? How many pupils are in their class? What is their favourite part of the school day? Who is their favourite teacher?

The Headteacher and Classroom Teachers

Try and speak to the headteacher of the school you are visiting if possible. They are the ambassador and key influencer of the school that they lead, managing staff and pupils alike. Find out their views on the school’s aims, future ambitions and core beliefs. Great leadership is key to a great school, and the head’s interaction with both parents and pupils is of equal importance.

The classroom teachers are equally important to speak with to gain a better insight to what life is like in the classroom. Key questions may look like; What is your favourite part about working at this school? Which recent projects have your pupils really enjoyed? What does the structure of a day look like in your classroom?

Personal Tours

An Open Day is a fantastic way to get an initial impression and feel for a school. However, these days are usually attended by lots of families all wanting to see the facilities, speak with staff and tour the grounds. If you are really interested in applying to the school but feel like you would like to see more before doing so, it is worth enquiring about attending a personal tour at another time convenient to you, which may confirm your decision. 

Admissions Process

Before considering or completing an application for an independent school, you should first understand how the school’s admissions process works. Find out if an entry test is required, how applicants are chosen and how many pupils are accepted. Ask about taster days, as they are a really important part of the admissions process to ensure the school is the right fit for you and your family. 

Don’t forget to check application deadlines and any other submission dates!

Bring Your Child Along

Last but not least, ask your child questions as you go around the school and meet with staff; What do they make of the people they have met so far? What do they like about what they have seen? How would they feel about going to this school? Their education and happiness are central to your decision, so who better to hear from!


If you are interested in attending Clifton College’s upcoming Spring Open Day on Friday 26 April 2024, Preschool to Year 8 (ages 3-13), please register your place using the link below.

Sign up here