Tips for getting to know the school behind the advert

8th April 2005 at 01:00
* Read the school's Ofsted report, available online at

* Check out school performance tables at, but do remember to look at the school's record over at least the last five years

* Good Schools Guide:

* Check out the school website. Is the information accurate and up to date?

* Do a Google search on the headteacher for more detailed information

* Buy a local newspaper or search archives on the internet.

What kind of publicity does the school tend to attract?

* Arrange an informal visit before your interview. Are the buildings well-maintained? Is students' work on display? What is the atmosphere like in the staffroom? What do pupils think of their school?

* Talk to local shopkeepers, estate agents and parents. What are their impressions of the school and its students?

* Use your personal contacts. A "friend of a friend" can often provide valuable insider information.

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