Would you apply for a secondary school you hadn't visited.

(18 Posts)
Picturesinthefirelight Mon 25-Aug-14 00:08:39

Dh is a teacher. I work at an out of school activity & am not allowed time if fin term time.

Dhs school Open Morning which is compulsory for him to attend us the same day as the open morning for ds's feeder secondary school.

Neither of us will be able to attend. We could get grandparents to take ds but is that enough.

Ds is currently being assessed for an autistic spectrum disorder. The school is a very academic school. It's an excellent school but we are not sure if its the right fit.

Dh went to the open day 2 years ago with dd but we were thinking from her point of view (a musical, drama, literature loving girl). She applied but chose a specialist school in the end.

If I take the day off I risk severe penalties (I'd lose my franchise) as does dh. But this is important for ds.

Don't know what we can do.

Coolas Mon 25-Aug-14 02:23:28

Ask your employer even for an hour. DH could approach his HT to ask for an hour too? I bet the school you are considering runs some open mornings etc. Ring and find out, explaining your position.

Yes, I do think you need see the school, esp if your dc has some SEN - you need to see Senco.

Ericaequites Mon 25-Aug-14 03:12:31

Contact the head teacher, and explain your situation. Ask if you can arrange to visit at another time arranged in advance, and if you could meet with the senco. I'm sure this isn't the first time someone has had a conflict.

ladybirdandsnails Mon 25-Aug-14 09:29:09

I would arrange a private appt at the school. You need to make sure it's right for him. Surely any humane person can see this?

senua Mon 25-Aug-14 09:56:46

Some people purposely organise a private visit because they know that Open Days are PR puff; they would much rather see the school on a normal working day to get a truer picture.

If the school won't organise a private visit then you have your answer there and then.

It was primary for us, but yes, I applied without visiting any of them, because the "parental choice" was anything but. There was only ever one school we were going to get into. So I didn't visit any.

However it sounds like you have a choice of schools. If this is the case, I think you need to try and arrange another appointment to visit that school, and others you stand a chance of getting into.

ChippyMinton Mon 25-Aug-14 10:11:02

Most schools offer day and evening events and would surely accommodate a private appointment for SEN? Ring and ask them.

SeagullsAndSand Mon 25-Aug-14 11:04:04

No

We visited a school we were set on for dd and absolutely hated it.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 25-Aug-14 11:33:35

They don't have any open mornings unfortunately.

I have visited the school in that its next door to the junior school & they use their facilities for concerts/swimming/PE etc. I also attended a new parents social evening before dd changed her mind.

Dh works 45 miles away & I 20 miles away. All events are 10-1pm so no nipping off for an hour.

I just feel I need to ask questions about policies, homework (a big issue for ds as he has problems writing) & pressure (he is very clever but not good under pressure)

The school is academically selective & he has already passed the entrance test (children from the junior school can take it early though they also hold another in October)

tethersend Mon 25-Aug-14 11:38:39

Email the head and ask if it would be possible to arrange to visit another time- not attend another open day. Many heads are happy to arrange 1:1 meetings and visits. Of course, some aren't, so be prepared for that. Personally, I think a refusal to arrange a visit could be indicative of an inflexible attitude on the part of the head, which would concern me.

tethersend Mon 25-Aug-14 11:40:13

I should say, it would concern me if they refused a visit given the possible SEN. I wouldn't be concerned if the head was unable to arrange personal visits for every potential parent.

Hakluyt Mon 25-Aug-14 11:42:54

Ring the school. Explain. Arrange a private visit. Shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem, it's not a school you want your son to go to.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 25-Aug-14 11:53:42

What the others say. You said he's passed an entrance test, so I infer it's a private school - they should be very happy to arrange a visit at a time which suits you for a potential paying customer! It's in the interests of the school as well as your DS that the school suits his needs.

Greengrow Mon 25-Aug-14 14:36:41

I have never heard of a school which would not allow a parent to arrange a one off visit - and that is private schools. Many parents both work full time with children in private schools so saying parents can only come on fixed days would never work.

tethersend Mon 25-Aug-14 15:25:02

Unfortunately, there are plenty of schools which are difficult when it comes to arranging individual visits, particularly if they are oversubscribed.

I'm an advisory teacher for children in care, and have come across a number of schools where I've had to be incredibly forceful to arrange to visit the school in order to decide whether or not to place a child there. Anecdotally, Academies are the worst.

difficultpickle Mon 25-Aug-14 15:30:20

I would brief grandparents to take him and ask questions. I had to move ds this summer term when I was in hospital long term. I sent him with my mum along with a list of questions for her to get answers to. He has SEN and his grandma was able to get clear answers on all the points that concerned me. I had to get her to look at 3 different schools for me and choose the one she thought was best for ds. A private appointment wouldn't have worked for me as I still wouldn't have been able to attend.

camptownraces Mon 25-Aug-14 16:18:28

Yes, for son, we applied for a place at a secondary school we hadn't visited.
The following March, he was offered a place. AFTER the offer but before decision had to be in, the school put on an additional tour, plus Q&A session for parents.

If grandparents are available, yes, do as difficult says. It's important for pupil to be engaged in the process.

teacherwith2kids Mon 25-Aug-14 21:24:41

I would get grandparents to take DS. I would then ring the school myself, and ask for at least a telephone consultation, and at best a meeting or tour, with the SENCo or whoever you think might be able to answer most of your questions.

I did the same for DS - as a teacher, I couldn't go to the open mornings. I sent DS along with DH (who doesn't 'do' education much - tbh very much like you sending grandparents along). This was great, because DS could see the school just like evertyone else, without a parent asking in-depth questions [DS had many ASD traits, that first became apparent when he started school ... we had no guarantee that they would not reappear in all their glory on transition to secondary].

I then rang and asked the school whether I could either visit individually or have a meeting with an appropriate person to discuss DS. I had, in the end, a lengthy solo tour with an assistant head, who ensured that iI met all the right people to ask all the right questions (and whose extraordinary knowledge of and close relationship with every pupil we passed on the tour did much to 'sell' the school to me!

When I was looking at schools for DD, on the other hand, she did the daytme tours with DH and the evening tours with me. i did ring to ask one of the grammar schools whether I could visit at a different time, and got a VERY shirty response. I didn't push it, becauase DD is much more 'mainstream' than DS, but I have to say had I had that attitude when explaining I had a child being assessed for a specific SEN, I would have got VERY cross indeed and would have pushed for the request to be referred to the head and SENCo for their opinion, rather than going by the word of the receptionist. [As it happened, DD hated the school when she toured it anyway, and DH was deeply unimpressed too]

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