Making the most of Open events

Making the most of your Open Day visit

Open Days are essential when it comes to choosing the right school for your child. They give you a flavour of what goes on, and provide an opportunity to look beyond the gloss of the website and the dry facts of the inspection report!

It is always helpful to come prepared, especially if you are attending various events. This will make life easier when it comes to making a short list, as you will be able to reflect back on the pros and cons of each of the schools. 

Our top tips for making the most of your visit are:

  • Attend the event as a family.  It’s important that both you and your child attend if possible, as each person will notice different things and have a different set of criteria when it comes to what is important to them. 
  • Come with a list of questions. You will usually have the opportunity to speak with the current pupils and they will (hopefully) give you a true insight into what life is like at that school. Ask them about their routines, experiences and aspirations for the future. If current parents are on-hand to answer your questions, so much the better! 
  • Create a wish list. What are you looking for in a school? Consider giving each criteria a ranking during your visit so that you can easily compare schools. Criteria might include: standard of sports facilities, quality of pastoral care, and range of co-curricular activities.
  • Attend the Heads presentation. The Head is the figurehead of the school and should clearly represent the schools ethos and culture.  Ask yourself, do they align with your own values?
  • Look beyond academics. We all know that academic results are important when choosing a school but it’s also important to look beyond the classroom and consider the wider offering. Questions you might like to ask are: How do you promote personal development? How do you support mental wellbeing? How do you prepare young adults for life beyond education?

Be mindful that Open Mornings are there to impress, so if you like the look of the school it is a good idea to arrange a follow-up visit during a ‘normal’ school day. This will give you a real sense of the school environment and reassure you that the Open Morning experience has been a true reflection of the school. 


Our guide was simply lovely. Very friendly and down to earth. Answered all our questions. My son was thrilled. He said in the car on the way home ‘if there is a school in heaven, I think it is that school’. He was simply bouncing with glee afterwards. Thank you!

Visiting Parent

Saturday's open day felt welcoming, friendly and well organised. It gave our daughter a good chance to gather a feeling of the school and what it would be like to be there.

Fiona Goyder

We spoke at length to a couple of Year 10 boys in the English department who were great - full of spirit and happy to be at school. We loved seeing them in the classrooms full of energy and fun. That's important for us, as we want a good school career but we still want our son to enjoy being a boy.

Donna Croucher, Partner, Global Search Firm

We very much enjoyed having the opportunity to speak to so many of the students and a number of parents with children already attending Pangbourne College.

Lawrence and Sonia Willson


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