Based on a detailed research, author has compiled a list of 55 qualities of a great school.
This article is useful for parents, students, industry professionals and policy makers !
o To evaluate the current school their children go to
o Filter the schools they would consider their children getting admission to.
– School Business Owners:
o To self-audit their schooling system and take necessary measures to improve
o To become industry leader or trend setter and benefit for getting more students’ enrollment
– Education Ministries:
o To establish / modify educational polices
o Set minimum acceptance criteria for the new schools registration
o Establish school auditing system and generate annual reports for public
– Business Service Providers:
o Approach different schools and offer their services (IT services, Printing Services, Infrastructure setup services, library setup, Electronic services, database and website setup and many others.
All schools must strive to bring excellence in the below domains.
1. Education and Character Building
2. Extracurricular Activities
3. Compliance & Governance
4. IT Services for Students, Parents and Staff
5. Physical, Mental and Emotional Character Empowerment
6. Professionalism and Competence of Staff
7. Social Media Engagements
8. Teaching Quality Standards
9. Parents Networking, Assistance and Support
10. Infrastructure and Facilities
11. Transport System
55 Characteristics Of a Great School
Below is the list of 55 features that makes a school great !
1. Average class size around the world is 15-25 per class. Check this resource: class size around the world
2. Quality Education
Observe existing students’ performance and satisfaction.
Employability of graduates / Qualifying rate for better higher universities
Mean students duration in school. (How many years typically a student continues his education in this school)
Quality of Faculty (For example: what is minimum education of teacher, what is the level of knowledge, skills and expertise the teachers possess.
3. Attention to each student: Every single student is a gem. You never know your son would be the next Einstein, if given proper attention.
4. No overload in terms of home work: Prime job of any school is to make sure the students learn at school. If parents at home have to play the role of teacher then the school is not doing the right job.
5. Discipline: If the child is getting disciplined over the weeks and month, the school is successfully instilling the discipline in your child.
6. Career Counselling and General Guidance: Schools should provide free counselling to students and parents on need-on basis.
7. Bullying Control: A school must ensure that bullying is not taking place. Visit this survey page
8. Weekend Classes: For weaker students school should arrange extra classes on weekend. This will ensure that some of the students are not left behind in studies.
9. Hall of Fame: A room where pictures of high achievers are posted. This will encourage students as well as parents.
10. Award System: School should have good award system not only for the kids producing good marks/grades but also for games, quizzes, social works and so on. These awards should be posted on school’s social media page.
11. Volunteering Activities: School should ensure to conduct volunteering activities such as plantation, hospital visit, orphan school visit, beach cleaning campaigns, charity works and so on.
12. Foreign Languages: French, Chinese, Arabic and English languages are widely spoken across the world. It is believed that the more languages you know the better intellectual you become. Students should be taught at-least one foreign language.
13. Games: Both physical and mental games should be promoted for all grades. Mental games increase cognitive skills of student at large and improve their thinking patterns.
14. Arts and Crafts: Creative students contribute better to the societies when grow up. Fair attention to be given by schools for conducting arts and crafts activities.
15. Interschool Competitions: Such competitions enhance a child’s vision and help him/her understand on where he stands in terms of physical and mental competency.
16. Events: Schools should arrange Food events, gaming event, cultural events and get-together activities. This improves the perception of the school and has many benefits for students and parents.
17. Leadership Training: From higher secondary classes students should be involved in the leadership skills such as goals oriented approach , good listening skills, willing to help, taking initiatives, vision to resolve community problems and so on.
18. Ethical Training: Listening and speaking skills add great value to children’s character. Schools should show documentaries on such subjects. Guest speakers can be invited once in a while
19. Presentation Skills: Practical life is all about communication and presentation expertise. High schools should have dedicated periods for such skills. Students should be trained and encouraged to speak in such sessions.
20. Quality Management System compliance: Good schools should work towards Education Quality compliance such as ISO 21001:2018
21. International affiliation and membership of school systems, forums, groups, magazines and so o
22. Corporate Social Responsibility: Good schools allocate their budget and time for the Social Causes. Social causes may include allocating funds for community, comply with government rules and regulations, provide investments, create jobs and career opportunities.
23. Ease of Fee Payment: Schools should provide convenient methods of paying the fee (online payment, via visiting bank, cheques and cash – all major payment options should be accepted by the school IT/Finance system). If parents are willing to pay the fee in advance, some sort of discount should be given. (If you are a businessman running a school, you know what I mean when you have the payment in advance)
24. Attendance System: Attendance system should be digital preferably to avoid incorrect data management. Schools may issue an electronic card to each student which could be used for school entry/exit time tracking and for bus entry/exit. The attendance of each system should be made available on school website too.
25. Daily / Weekly Reports to Parents: either the assignments, weekly work should be available on the school website under parents’ log-in or it should be sent out to parents directly.
26. Happy and helpful staff: Not only teachers, but every school employee should maintain good attitude towards students, parents and visitors. Satisfied parents will promote the school automatically as it is a win-win for parents and school.
27. Active Facebook page: Facebook is father of social communication these days. An active Facebook page will ensure that parents are fully engaged with what school is doing.
28. Parents engagements: School can use such pages to communicate all important notices, news, events and activities with parents. Imagine the happiness of a mother if his/her kids activities are posted on Facebook!
29. Conduct Polls and Review: Good Schools should approach parents through social medial for conducting polls on important decisions school is considering to implement.
30. Surveys for continuous improvements: Schools should send private emails to parents for getting feedback about its education standards, infrastructure, facilities, timings and overall services. Please participate on our Survey Page
31. Teacher Hiring process: A school cannot succeed until all of its teachers perform their job with excellence. This means the school needs people with excellent communication and teaching skills. Hiring criteria/methodology should be established concretely so that only the best-in-class teachers are filtered and selected.
32. Training of teachers: Having best of the breed of teachers does not mean that no further training and skill enhancement is needed. Remember the law of Sharpen the Saw and always consider periodic train-the-trainer sessions for the teachers. School should invest some time for checking out best practices in the education niche and continuously strive to polish the skills of their teachers.
33. Attitude of teachers: A good school’s teacher will have good communication skills, good listening skills, empathic approach for understanding the quality of apprehension of his/her students to help them succeed.
34. Teaching standards: A good school should ensure high teaching standards. They should establish mechanisms to measure the quality of teaching through student survey, teacher survey, peers’ feedback, response time to different queries, patience, deep knowledge of the subject they teach, the friendliness, approachability, strong work ethics, being prepared and organized, documented and structured.
35. Parent Teacher meetings: A good school conducts frequent meetings with parents to discuss any concerns parents may have, to provide feedback about their children, to provide latest updates about school. A persistent bond with parents enhances parents trust on the school.
36. Parent log-in: Parents should be provided dedicated portal where they can see the progress of their children, their grades, extracurricular activities, pictures and general updates of the school.
37. Email notifications: Email communication channel must be maintained by the school. Although parents do not like a lot of emails from the school, yet important announcements and formal updates should be sent to the parents.
38. Financial constraints support policy: Sometimes parents get delayed in paying the fee on time due to financial constraints. Although a school is primarily a business yet schools should show flexibility for such situations. After all it is a matter of children future. Under the social responsibility umbrella, a good school will provide concession on the fee or accept delayed payments.
39. Better furniture: Students desk, power sockets, cupboards, chairs should be properly designed to accommodate the day to day needs of the student. A nice and clean furniture improves the overall environment of the class. Schools should ensure annual / quarterly audits to check the quality of the furniture and take corrective and preventive measures. The cupboards should have enough space of students’ bags.
40. Good Lighting: A bright classroom will help student maintain their healthy eyesight. Adequate lighting in the class will freshen up the class.
41. Projectors and TV Screens: A good school will have projectors available where they can show documentaries, learning videos, arts and crafts videos from YouTube. Same projects / TV screens can be used for school announcements and notifications
42. Separate room for lunch: To avoid strong odors in the class, a school may provide a separate hall to students for eating
43. Prayer room: Students have to perform several prayers during school time. This is more important for the countries where Muslim population is dominant. Hence school should provide prayer rooms too. Same level of respect should be given to all religions without discrimination.
44. Playground – / Football / Cricket / Basket Ball / Swimming: A dedicated physical instructor, play areas for major games and associated ancillaries will result in better ranking of the school in society. In new age, parents are not only concerned about book based knowledge instead they want their kids to practice physical activities in the school
45. Clinic / Emergency Room: Medical situations are inevitable hence a school should have an emergency room with dedicated nurse staff and first aid medicines/treatment services.
46. Student Health Records: A database of student health should be maintained by school. This should include health history, allergies, medication and emergency contact details of parents.
47. Food shop: Only healthy food should be provided in school tuck shops. Fizzy drinks, artificial juices, fried food should be prohibited.
48. Adequate Washrooms: Separate for boys and girls! Also frequent cleaning policy and governance should be ensured to achieve high hygiene standards.
49. Library: Todays’ reader is tomorrow’s leader. Libraries (digital or physical) are a must these days.
50. Weekly Campaigns: A good school should consider celebrating “Health Week”, “Cleaning Week” “Happy Week” where respective concepts and associated activities should be practiced.
51. School Trips: In line with local authorities and service providers a good school should arrange camping trips to hilly area, zoo day, park day, library day, plantation day and so on.
52. Advance Learning: A Good School not only teaches the course material but also establish courses, trainings, seminars, presentations about Digital Competence, Social Responsibilities, Sense of initiative and leadership, manners and ethics, being healthy and learning to learn techniques.
53. Safety and Security: A good school provides adequate security measure in terms of entry and exit procedures, in-class safety assurance, CCTV cameras installation, dedicated security department, IT security compliance,
54. Each community should establish local bodies to discuss challenges related to schools, brainstorm the improvement ideas, plan to present the problems / solutions to regional or federal government.
55. Industry Visits: For the higher class students schools should arrange visits to factories, showrooms, large scale offices, colleges, manufacturing plants, hospitals and IT companies whichever applicable. This will provide exposure to the kids and inspire them to choose the right domain for their career.