Following Government guidance which recommends schools provide alternative events in place of face-to-face open days, anxious parents are suffering “sleepless nights” trying to choose secondary schools for their children from online only tours.
Many parents must get their school place applications in by the end of October but, according to the Guardian, many schools are only offering parents online talks and virtual tours. In order to win parents over, some state schools have spent over £5,000 on professional promotional videos of their premises and facilities to outdo their competition.
Some of these videos include aerial drone footage and scripted interactions between pupils. Other schools are relying on student-made films or pre-recorded presentations from headteachers and other members of teaching staff.
A small number of schools are still allowing parents to tour their school buildings, however this is usually only in small, socially distanced groups and when the schools are empty, not giving a real feel for what school life there is like.
The Guardian spoke to Michelle Jackson from Bexley in south-east London, who says she is having sleepless nights trying to weigh up the pros and cons of nine different secondary schools for her daughter using only online videos and web talks. She says, “Schools are doing their best – and it’s a really difficult time for them, but as lovely as the videos are, it’s not the same as walking around a school. You can’t get a feel for it. You can’t get a sense of what the children and the building are like.”
What can be done in order for it to be safe for schools to hold proper open days for their prospective pupils?
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