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How Do You Evaluate A School's Quality?

Updated: May 13

10 Parents Considered These Factors To Evaluate A School’s Quality For Their Children.

Welcome to our series exploring the Irish education system through our personal journey to find the right school for our son. Based on our conversations with 24 families, each post dives into a different aspect of choosing a primary or secondary school.

School kids drawing and writing.
School kids drawing and writing.

Q: How do you evaluate a school's quality? For example, academic performance, GAAs, quality of teachers, student demographics, facilities, etc.?

This question surprised 14/24 parents. Unlike house purchases or job switches, most parents did not have a framework or structure for their school decisions.

10/24 Parents considered these factors to evaluate a school’s quality for their children:

Academic Performance: 8/10 parents emphasized academic performance as a primary indicator of a school's quality. Views varied from focusing on specific aspects like class sizes to broader metrics like school rankings.

  • "They evaluated schools based on class quality, school rankings, pass percentages, and other factors."

  • "Values academics highly and appreciates Newpark for its sports programs and small class sizes."

  • "Acads performance."

Quality of Teachers: 6/10 parents mentioned teaching staff's quality and engagement in their school quality assessment. Some parents looked for qualifications, while others valued teacher's ability to address diverse student needs.

  • "We evaluate a school's quality based on academic performance and the quality of teachers."

Facilities and Environment: 5/10 parents considered the physical and emotional environment provided by the school, including the facilities and overall atmosphere.

  • "Evaluating a school's quality focuses less on sports for us, though connections to a GAA club might benefit our children if they show interest. School visits and open days are planned to assess facilities and atmosphere firsthand."

  • "Facilities that cater to all students, including sensory rooms, are vital." 

  • "Made appointments to meet principals and visit schools before deciding on Holy Cross for the eldest kid."

Extracurricular Activities: 4/10 parents reviewed the availability and quality of extracurricular activities, particularly sports. Some parents saw sports as crucial, while others placed more emphasis on academics or cultural activities.

  • "Sports, particularly rugby, suggest that the schools' reputations in sports and extracurricular activities were important factors."

  • "based on academic performance and after-school activities."

School Values and Culture: 5/10 parents paid importance to a school's ethos, values, and how it manages diversity and student needs.

  • "The family values the school's broad curriculum and its focus on teaching kids about different cultures. They believe learning about global diversity is essential."

  • "Wanted to avoid experimenting with their child's education."

  • "She highlights Holy Cross's community events and practices, such as the emphasis on healthy eating, strict uniform policy, and student-led activities."

The 12 Articles in this series


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