What Matters When Choosing A Primary School?

As a parent of young children, you will inevitably be starting to look for a primary school that will be the right ‘fit’ for your child and offer them the best start into their educational journey. Every primary school is different, with its own set of values and learning techniques, so it is important to consider what truly matters to you when choosing a primary school. One option you may consider is choosing an independent primary school. Independent primary schools are able to tailor their educational programmes to create an environment where children can still enjoy playing and exploring, while assembling the building blocks of their future education. If you’re considering an independent primary school, read our guide to what we believe matters most when deciding on the right ‘fit’ for you and your child. 

What Is An Independent Primary School?

child listening at a provate primary school

An independent primary school is sometimes referred to as a private primary school. This is because parents pay a fee for their children to attend. However, what really sets an independent primary school apart is the educational structure, the resources on offer and what this ultimately means for your child’s future. Independent primary schools have the power to set their own curriculum and decide how to best teach students. At Sidcot School, this means we are a SATs free zone, and we offer a huge range of activities that cultivate children’s natural passions and interests. What matters to us is providing children with a holistic education that fosters their individuality. So, although typically private primary schools are thought of as fee-paying institutions, they actually present children with a huge amount of benefits and an incredible platform for their future. 

What Matters When Choosing An Independent Primary School

Now that we’ve covered what an independent primary school is, let’s take a look at how to choose a primary school and the points to consider:

1. Location

It may seem obvious but location is a priority when thinking about schools for your child. You’ll naturally want to find somewhere that’s conveniently located near your home or workplace, and will need to consider the commute time and transportation options available. 

Choosing primary school locations isn’t solely about practicality, however. Sidcot School is located in North Somerset and surrounded by lush green spaces and natural areas of wonder. This allows us to offer students ample time outdoors, making the most of activities such as Forest School. We also have our own Equestrian Centre for horse lovers. We’re close to Bristol, Bath and Weston-Super-Mare, meaning that, as well as an accessible location, we can also provide children with enriching experiences outside the classroom.

2. Teaching and Learning 

As we said previously, independent primary schools are in control of what and how they teach. This extends to every aspect of a child’s education, from the way we manage assessments and monitor progress, to the class sizes and how we set homework. Teachers in an independent primary school are specialists in their areas, whether that’s music or languages, and spend time getting to know their students, so they can teach them in a way that motivates and enthuses them. Every child learns differently and while some may excel in exam conditions, others thrive vocationally. At Sidcot School, we believe in tailored teaching, and supplement learning with hobbies and other activities. When children are engaged in what they are doing, they develop a lifelong love of learning.

3. School Culture

When choosing primary school options, it’s important to visit the school first and get a feel for it. Your child will be soaking up the atmosphere and the culture of their primary school every day, so it's essential that they enjoy being there. Find out about the school’s aims and values to make sure they align with your own beliefs and expectations, and ask questions about the community and any relevant projects that students take part in. 

Sidcot School is based on the Quaker values, which respect every member of our community as an individual and hold consideration for others in the highest regard. We prioritise the emotional health of every child, and encourage them to be themselves at all times. We also have a thriving international provision where children learn about other cultures simply by spending time with other students from all over the world. Children who attend our independent primary school gain the courage and the confidence to make a difference in their own lives and the wider world. 


child enjoying outdoor play at a private primary school

4. Activities

Independent primary schools offer a well-rounded education thanks to the variety of activities available. Not only does this mean that children with an interest in a particular sport or hobby can immerse themselves in it, but it also encourages children to be curious and try new things. There’s a solid focus on sports, with children at Sidcot School taking part in PE and swimming lessons as soon as they start in our Reception class. With a gym, tennis courts, all-weather pitches and an on-site swimming pool, all children can find something that lights them up. Below are just a few more examples of the activities you’re likely to find on offer in an independent primary school: 

  • Choir
  • Crafts
  • Chess
  • Netball
  • Basketball
  • Fencing
  • Triathlon Training 
  • Nature Club

5. The Future

Children enter primary school from age 3 onwards, and so it might seem early to be thinking about their future. When they enter Junior School, children are independent thinkers and will already know many of the things that they do and do not enjoy. As well as the foundational skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, an independent primary school provides  personalised teaching, multiple opportunities for activities and excursions, and a robust programme of wellbeing initiatives, supporting children as they develop into young adults. By supporting pupils in this way and preparing them thoroughly for the transition to secondary school, independent primary schools provide the best foundation for your child’s future. 

If your family decide to continue in independent education, an independent primary school like Sidcot can be additionally beneficial as, not only will your child be well versed on the day-to-day routines of an independent school, but they will also have used many of the Senior School facilities and taken part in multiple transition events to ensure a smooth ‘moving up’ process.

6. Convenience

Your child will understandably be the priority when choosing a primary school. Yet, we also know that convenience is important for parents. That’s why one of the things that matters at Sidcot School is supporting parents, as we know this means you’re better able to support your children. We offer wraparound care and a holiday club to make life easier for you and provide continuity of care for children who get to spend time in a familiar setting with people they know. We also have baby and toddler groups for parents with very young children to enjoy, which is not just fun for everyone who attends, but means parents planning to send their children to Sidcot can get a feel for the school.

Choosing Sidcot Independent Primary School 

Primary school lays the foundation for your child's education and overall development. At Sidcot, we want all students to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally, so you know that when your children start at our independent primary school, they’re getting the absolute best start in life. 

There’s nothing quite like seeing things for yourself, which is why we have regular open mornings or encourage you to book a private tour. This way, you can see exactly what a day at Sidcot School looks like and how everything we do is tailored towards our students. Putting children first is what matters most when choosing an independent primary school, and you’ll find that, at Sidcot, that’s exactly what we do.