School Open Days: A Guide of What to look for

Posted: 22nd February 2024

Navigating School Open Days: How to Make Informed Choices about Your Child’s Future Education

Choosing the right school for your child is a significant decision that requires extensive research. School open days offer an invaluable opportunity to explore the environment, meet educators, and gain insights into the school’s culture. In this guide, we provide you with an overview of what to look for at a school open day and suggest some useful questions to ensure informed decision-making.

How warm and welcoming is the atmosphere?

When you arrive at the open day, pay attention to the atmosphere. A warm and welcoming environment is often indicative of a positive school culture. Take note of how staff and current students interact with visitors. Equally significant is observing how staff and pupils interact with each other when not directly engaging with visitors. This will provide a more precise insight into the overall warmth of the school atmosphere and community.

Explore the facilities

Assess the learning environment and envision your child in that space. Look at the feel of the classrooms, displays that showcase and celebrate the work of pupils and quality educational materials such as charts, maps, and learning aids to support learning.
Explore facilities such as swimming pools, science laboratories, art rooms, drama spaces and sports fields. Make sure to find out how frequently pupils utilise these spaces and how it aligns with the curriculum.

Discover the curriculum

Learn about the school’s curriculum and educational philosophy. Consider whether the school offers a well-rounded education that includes not only academics but also extracurricular activities, arts, and sports. This will give you a sense of how the school supports the holistic development of students.

Speak to as many people as possible

Take any opportunity to strike a conversation with the headteacher, teachers of all year groups, office staff, pupils and existing parents. This will allow you to build an authentic picture of the school from a number of perspectives. Does what they say match up with the school’s ethos, values and priorities? Do the teachers speak genuinely and passionately? Are the pupils polite and confident?

Useful Questions to Ask


  • How do the school’s values and ethos permeate everyday school life?
  • How does the school support students with different learning styles or needs?
  • What extracurricular activities are offered to enhance the overall development of students?
  • How does the school incorporate technology into the learning experience?
  • How is student progress assessed?
  • How do pupils perform compared to the national average?
  • How are teachers and staff trained to handle diversity and promote an inclusive environment?
  • What measures does the school have in place to ensure the safety and well-being of students?
  • How does the school communicate with parents regarding student progress and school events?
  • Can you provide examples of how the school fosters a sense of community among students and parents?
  • What resources and support systems are in place to help students navigate their academic and personal challenges?

Questions to ask pupils

  • What do you do during break times?
  • What is the headteacher like?
  • What subjects do you enjoy the most? What subjects do you enjoy the least?
  • What extracurricular activities would you recommend?
  • Are there any school traditions or events that you particularly look forward to?

Visit Holmwood House School

We are a leading independent school in Colchester for children aged 6 months to 16 years. At Holmwood House, we spark curiosity and ignite wonder in each and every child, allowing them to develop individuality, confidence and tenacity to reach their true potential. Discover more at one of our open events or by booking a tour. Our upcoming events are:

Friday 1 March 2024 at 9.30am – Whole School Open Day
Saturday 9 March 2024 at 9.30am – Discovery Morning for Reception and Preschool

For more information please visit

Categories: News Category 1


Holmwood House Nursery

151 Coach Road, Great Horkesley,
Essex CO6 4DX
T: (01206) 273 827


Holmwood House School

Chitts Hill, Lexden,
Essex CO3 9ST
T: (01206) 574305