in catchment for worst state primary in the area - WWYD??

(91 Posts)
elephantsdung Thu 03-Jan-13 16:40:35

I haven't started a topic on here before so here goes (pls be gentle):

We live in a nice'ish house but have an estate behind us which also has the local primary school in the middle of it. This is obviously our closest primary school but also has the worst reputation and OFSTED report in the area. It has an above average no. of children who have free school meals and, 'whilst the majority are White British there are a large number of Travellers from Irish heritage' (Quoted from OFSTED report). Whilst I really don't want to offend anyone I am looking for some advice:
DS is nearly 3 so will be starting primary school in 2014, so I will need to apply this time next year. Originally I was set on moving but, having estimated moving costs this will cost us around £18-£20K to move to a similar house to the one we have now. We have also considered private school but this would make it really tight for us (and we have no.2 on the way)
This school has been closed down a few years ago and started again as it got so bad, the thing is all the other schools in the area are really good but I know there is a real push to send people to this school (as no-one wants to go?) so there's no guarantee we could get him into another school.
So my dilemma is - should we
a) stay where we are and fork out for private school (although we probably wouldn't be able to afford it for no.2 as well)
b) stay where we are and apply for all other schools except for this one and just keep fingers crossed
c) Fork out the money to move so we are close to a good school
WWYD??

If its really bad move. We were in the same boat a while back. We chose three schools and got none and were allocated the catchment school which is the worst school in the town. It was in special
Measures at the time and although the last report I read stated it was improving rumor has it that it's in trouble again. We were lucky and wangled a spot at a village school a few miles away on second round of applications. However the price of this is spending alot of time at bus stops and as a result dd2 doesn't get to do anythin sad its home bus bus school bus bus home twice a day.

If u can move do it. They get one shot at their education!!

Also meant to say that it's highly possible that if it's in trouble that the LEA will dump whoever they can in the school in order to be able to get numbers and funding up im
Pretty sure that's what happened with us only we can't prove it.

hammyimo Mon 07-Jan-13 12:34:00

Surely they can't force you to go to a school with a lousy reputation if you don't even put it on your list?

Our local school in special measures (we moved to avoid it) has around 40% of intake "diverted" according to the statistics. i.e. they were offered none of their three choices, but given this one as it's their catchment school.

If spaces r not available in the choices you put down you will be given a place at the next school that has places available whether you are catchment or not. Each school allocates spaces in a certain order for example , looked after children, siblings, catchment, church etc and any spaces left can be allocated to children outside of catchment. My catchment school was never an option for me or many others. After first round out of An intake of 60 there were still 14 spaces left. That's how many turned it down. All of us from
The nursery school who were allocated the school turned it down. Not one put it on the list. Catchment or not of that's the nearest school with spaces that's what u will get given even if u don't pick It sad

Ilovesunflowers Mon 07-Jan-13 12:56:23

It disgusts me that someone sees the words free school meals and travellers and immediately judges based on this.

I used to work at a school that had a very high percentage of children on fsm, 30% had English as an additional language and 15% Roma travellers. The children were absolutely fantastic. The area was severely deprived but the school had turned around from being in special measures to being a strong 'good'.

Go and visit the school and stop being judgemental.

It's stated I believe in reports so parents are aware that there is alot of upheaval sometimes. Many embrace the diversity and the potential to make new friends more often than many people would normally get to.Those children are very lucky and have a fab time. Some children just do not cope with the constant change and and for that reason a parent may choose another school.

I agree with you, ilovesunflowers. It's really depressing that people read FSM like it's the plague ('cos, you know, they might catch 'the poor') and think that casual racism is something that can be overlooked because we're talking about their children. It's also depressing when it's dressed up as their children being unable to cope with 'upheaval'. There is loads of upheaval in primary schools that serve university populations (because students and academics tend to move around), but people are usually clamouring to get into those schools. Upheaval doesn't seem to be a problem when it's an opportunity to make friends with lots of so-called 'nice' kids (because you can tell that from their parents' job titles, bank balances or ethnic background).

SunflowersSmile Mon 07-Jan-13 17:13:10

Well said Ilovesunflowers and caffienedrip.
I come across these revolting attitudes all the time.
My children are loving their school with a diverse mix of children including many traveller children.
It is a great school but the fanning and swooning from some in the community when they realise they are in its catchment.
Pathetic.

SunflowersSmile Mon 07-Jan-13 17:14:07

Sorry not well said caffienedrip but well said Arbitraryusername.

happynewmind Mon 07-Jan-13 17:27:30

Please do not give up on this school without checking it out properly.

We have a school such as this near us AND an outstanding ofsted "middle class" one.

The "poor area poor ofsted" school has the best facilities, loads of afterschool activities and enrichment clubs, they have excellent SEN support and a TA in every class from R to Year 6.

My dc outstanding ofsted school does bugger all and has poor sen support and no TA in class about Year 2.

I turned my local school down not because of the people who went there. I couldnt give a crap if aliens were walking the halls. I turned it down as the resuls are that bad the school has been threatened with closure for years, spent three or four years in special
Measures where improvement wasn't sufficient and that by end of year six the children were two years behind. I am friends with people who have removed their kids due to
Poor safe guarding and a disturbing lack of progress to the point they were sugnificany behind after just two years there. Even if the ofsted read outstanding tomorrow there will not be enough evidence of the ability to sustain that for me to consider moving my child there. Until the school remains satisfactory for long enough for progress in Sats in yr six to be in line with national averages then the answer will be no.

My decision was nothing to do with my attitude towards the pupils!!

Blu Mon 07-Jan-13 17:48:18

they were offered none of their three choices, but given this one as it's their catchment school.

You don't make a choice, though, you express a preference. If the schools they had put down on their lists had had places then they would have been offered those. Since they put down schools which were not able to make an offer, they got a place at the nearest school with a place. And it is the schools that no-one wants that get all the kids whose parents put down 'impossible' preferences.

That's how it works, it isn't a consiracy!

One would like to believe its not a conspiracy but when people who live further away with no siblings or any other reason that would bump them
Before u on the list, get in over those who are one or two houses from
Catchment line it sure feels like it sad

Blu Mon 07-Jan-13 18:08:28

That would make very strong grounds for appeal, though, as the Admissions Code would not have been correctly applied!

Did the applicants from further away cite any social and medical reasons? Or.... use a temporary rented address???

We dropped appeal when got given the school we wanted second tw round. A few did appeal though and didnt win

seeker Mon 07-Jan-13 18:19:46

If they didn't win their appeal then those other people must have had some grounds for admission to the school- SEN for example. The is no way that anyone would lose an appeal based on simple proximity. That would be grounds for a judicial review.

gazzalw Mon 07-Jan-13 18:20:51

Several of these posts make me wonder whether any of you live near us as Happynewmind's post could have been written by us!

Have to say that we were lucky in that DS was school age before the great baby boom which is currently choking primary school provision in a lot of places. We too had OP's dilemma but held out for a good school much further away which he got into. DD got in to the same school through the sibling policy but wouldn't have done (on distance) had she not had an older sibling already at our preferred choice school.

We still consider we made the right decision and the close-by school continues to be at the bottom of Borough league tables. Furthermore we know several families who have taken their children out of the failing school and sent them to the outstanding Ofsted primary nearby....

It's a difficult one....but DS got into grammar school from his primary school (although they did not actively support him doing the selective school exams) and although I know that our parental involvement has helped our DS to achieve his secondary school outcome, I do think that had he attended the local (failing) school with 35% of children statemented, he probably wouldn't have got in...

If you really don't like it or feel positive about it when you visit, try for others and just hope and pray. You can always stay on waiting lists and if you're in London there's a lot of population movement which can free up school places at short-notice....

tiggytape Mon 07-Jan-13 18:42:35

Wheresmycaffeine - it depends how distance is measured (crow flies, shortest approved walking route or pre-defined catchment area). In all cases it is possible that someone who appears to live further away by one measurement actually lives closer by the only measurement that counts i.e. the one the school chooses to use.

It is also possible for people genuinely much further away to get in due to a statement of special needs naming the school. Not all special needs are visible ones - it is perfectly possible you wouldn't know they had a statment.

But if for any reason school places were allocated not in accordance with the admission criteria and this was demonstrated at appeal, the appeal would be won. It isn't the case that schools are picking and choosing who they take but you may feel their chosen method of measuring distance is unfair (eg one school last year deliberately chose one method over another to exclude a council estate from being close enough). If that is the case then the Schools Adjudicator can rule on this and make them change it.

There is no way that u can get to this area that would be nearer than where we r. Also others living in same area were turned down. No idea why kid got in he seemed ok as in didn't appear to have trouble speaking or coordinating himself seemed perfectly happy and healthy but obviously I'm
Not an expert or haven't spent time with the child so can't judge. It just felt very unfair given the areas me and several families went through to find alternative schools. Everyone previous year got in and everyone since got in.

Stress not areas blush

PolterGoose Mon 07-Jan-13 20:49:44

gazzalw you say I do think that had he attended the local (failing) school with 35% of children statemented, he probably wouldn't have got in... I have to take issue with this sweeping assertion.

It is highly unlikely that such a high proportion of pupils will actually have a statement hmm, more likely that the figure relates to number of children with SENs. As parent to a child with SENs can I just stress that my child is considered an asset to his class, despite being one of the youngest in year he is academically exceptionally able and contributes greatly to the learning of all the children. I find it deeply offensive for my child (and other with SENs and disabilities) to be considered as something to avoid sad

TreadOnTheCracks Mon 07-Jan-13 20:54:11

I wonder if the schools results are bad because traveller children often have low attendance at school, so won't do too well in SATs, hence bad statistics. The school itself could be great. The ofsted report rarely tells the whole story. Visit the school and ask some questions.

Our catchment school was in special measures when I was making my choices. I went in and asked the head to explain, she did, it's a great school.

seeker Mon 07-Jan-13 21:16:10

The op doesn't actually say anything about results- she only talks about FSM and traveller children.

seeker Mon 07-Jan-13 21:18:14

"No idea why kid got in he seemed ok as in didn't appear to have trouble speaking or coordinating himself seemed perfectly happy and healthy"

So OBVIOUSLY no special educational need then.

If u are gonna quote me at least include what I go on to say which is that obviously I don't know the child or that i haven't spent time with them and can't judge.

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