Before deciding which school is right for your child, you should collect as much information as possible about the schools you're interested in.
Read school prospectuses
All schools publish a prospectus which gives information about the school, including the subjects on offer, extra curricular activities, arrangements for uniforms and school meals, and policies on behaviour, discipline, Special Educational Needs etc.
Visit the schools you're interested in
This will give you first hand experience of the facilities and teaching staff, and allow you to ask any questions you may have. Open evenings are usually held for secondary schools in the autumn term. Look at the School Admissions Guide for Parents document for dates.
Read Ofsted reports
Ofsted is the part of the government responsible for carrying out inspections of all schools. Every school is inspected by Ofsted, and a report is written about it. Reports are available via the Ofsted website, in your local library, or from the school concerned (there may be a small charge to cover photocopying costs).
The way that Ofsted inspects and reports on schools is changing from September 2019. Find out what these changes mean for parents.
Look at school performance tables
School performance tables are available online, and in some local libraries. Please note, these should only be used as one part of your overall decision about the school you feel is most appropriate for your child.