Help me choose school

(29 Posts)
nataly13 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:24:31

Can you please help me to decide which school should i choose?
School number1: Very close to our house, outstanding, good results in KS2 (but not great), with after school clubs, new building, swimming pool but used to have pupils from council flats and a not so good reputation which is changing. It takes 60 every year and it has good ratio teacher:pupil

school number 2: a mile from us, CoE who takes other christian and a few community places, Ofsted is good but KS2 results Great, white middle class pupils, in a better area, no after school clubs and only takes 30 pupils and doesn't have a very good ratio teacher:pupil.

We recently moved here so not really sure where the other kids in the neighborhood go but according to Rightmove they go to school number 2 and another school which i didn't like (at least for the previous years because catchment areas now is significantly smaller).

I want my son to go to a school that will challenge him if he is very bright and will support him if he needs extra help. We are other white background that value a lot education.

any advice is much appreciated!

Thanks

Danann Thu 19-Dec-13 12:38:31

Most schools ime have some children from council houses/flats (including at DD's private school as some grandparents pay school fees) so I wouldn't worry about that part.

Both sound like good schools to me, 0.3 miles instead of a mile would probably be a bonus if you are walking in the winter and it does sound like school 1 is very good at supporting kids who start off a bit behind, which depending on how good your DC's english is might be worth considering (just thinking that english grammar and spelling are pretty hard anyway and must be even harder if its a second language).

nataly13 Thu 19-Dec-13 10:24:33

thank you all very much for your advises.

I have almost decided to choose school number 1 until I read teacher's comment so I will speak with the nursery to see what they think but because it is close to my work place they won't know the schools.

So so stressful!

LIZS Wed 18-Dec-13 16:07:33

Can't you tell where neighbours' children go from their uniform ? If you've listened to hearsay it is probably self evident, people willed defend their "choice" or may be "allocated choice" and run alternatives down That may not be based on fact at all. What do the nursery say about the option s?

The previous flat I was living was a council flat and the landlord was a very nice family Not a council flat then , but privately owned.

mousmous Wed 18-Dec-13 15:26:01

op sorry you are getting a tough time.
the school system in england is bloody confusing, even more so if you come from a different system/country.

I agree with previous posters, look at the school and the ofsted report, talk to other parents if possible and teachers.
ime, you will not really have a choice as such, the lea will assign the places by their criteria no matter which boxes you tick.

bronya Wed 18-Dec-13 15:25:07

I used to teach in a school very like your school No.1 . Our children made good progress from KS1 to KS2, and outstanding progress in Reception. Our KS2 results were never amazing though, as we just didn't have lots of children that could achieve L5. They all left at some point in KS2, to fill places in the local over-subscribed C of E schools.

I would ask the nursery how intelligent they think your DS is.
If they say very, then I'd opt for school no.2 as he'll have plenty of people at a similar level to him, with whom he can work and play (children like that are likely to progressively leave school no.1 if it's anything like the school I taught in).
If they say he's struggling - school no.1. They will have tonnes of experience of helping children to improve and to catch up with the national average.
If they say he's average, then it's whichever one you like, really! The closest, perhaps?

3asAbird Wed 18-Dec-13 15:15:17

Im just thinking hard enough moving to new area never mind new country.

This I dont think is ops onion its what shes been told by locals.

The english education system and admissions is so stressful much more so than wales or scotland.

Three are lots of other faiths and nationalities at dds coe school.

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Dec-13 15:08:31

And I think it was meant as snobby...the use if 'but' makes it seem that way...

mammadiggingdeep Wed 18-Dec-13 15:07:33

I stopped reading at council flats. I don't think you and I think alike so no point you having my point of view.

3asAbird Wed 18-Dec-13 14:52:00

Im not sure op meant to be offensive or snobby so reserving judgement.

Shes just being factual about the catchment area and demographics thats all.

Its not like shes comparing fsm fgs.

Ok op have both types schools in my my area,

dd2 goes to school bit like class 2 predominatly middle class coe but has mixed faiths and is less snobby than other middle class schools in area but has loads after school clubs and small pan.

we also have school like no 1 intake 60 half council half executive new build estate, new build school new head, loads after school activities but as it was new school took years for it to shake off its bad old reputation but now it has new head, good ofsted, good value added, improved sats year on year.

Also has breckfast club and after school provision.

One thing would say is dont underestimate extra curricular activities ie after school.

With 3kids much easier to pick them up our later from school then ferry them to another location and wait with siblings in tow.

How long ago was ofted as outstanding hard these days.
swimming pool on site very rare and good opportunity,

ratios again important.-ours was struggling and needed extra elp.

we have done 2 schools like school 2

first was rc and 1half intake
the after school clubs never materilised
they couldent support all the kids needed additional support oddly enough it was kids in middle co-hort who struggled.
They seemed to think parents were made of money always asking for money and never considered the expense.

our 2nd schools is coe mixed classes but despite its small size it does breckfast club £2 a day.old school was £2.50, it hs after shool activities but no after school childare provison which means workin parents use childminders.Old school snobby aout uniform had to be logos and my dd frequently lost stuff 2nd school an wear supermarket stuff in right colour, has good 2nd hand shop, some of clubs are free and pta heaviliy subsise trips not spend on pet projects..

But a lot can depend on the child,applying for my 2nd and shes diffrent personality to 1st. 3rd childreckon be very diffrent again.
ideally want her go to eldests school as we love it.
2nd 2on our list also coe schools 1 small 1 large infants.
the middle class community school near us not coe is very pushy with sats, sliquey and snobby so avoiding that one.

We looked at whats known as sink school this week bad rep mostly estate intake and surprised me how many pluses it had.
huge classrooms, outdoor space
free clubs
breckfast club £1 a day.
specialist sports coaches.

it has high pupil premuim as more kids on free school meals

Is there anymore advice is look at as many as you can.

now im old timer at schools and have freinds at lots local schools they broadly all achive same results but run diffrently ie faith/ethos and extra curricular varies.

We looked at another school similar to school 1 couple weeks ago where head very passionate, lots moey being spent on it, free musical instrumets and free clubs dd1s flute costs £50 a term.

mummytime Wed 18-Dec-13 13:11:57

0.3 of a mile doesn't guarantee you a place at some schools BTW.

my2bundles Wed 18-Dec-13 11:44:34

Look around all the schools in your area, see which ones you think would suit your individual, list them in order of preference (more than 2) then wait, there is no guarantee you will get into either. As for the council flat comment, please hang your head in shame.

looknow Wed 18-Dec-13 11:32:02

Frau, it is nothing to do with the language that the op used. Nor the lack of knowledge she has due to recently relocating here.

It is to do with the underlying assumption that council house=benefits=no aspirations and lack of progress.

It is not acceptable to assume that, plenty of council house children work hard, achieve and have aspirations despite facing difficulties.

Taking a colleagues word for it is no excuse.

If you look at the Ofsted report of the school being discussed, the fact that many children are refugees, ESL and the school population is transient is considered to be relevant.

This comes up time and again here. Hence the ffs.

NotCitrus Wed 18-Dec-13 11:27:50

If the reputation of school 1 is improving, go for it. The KS2 results will partly reflect the intake, teaching, aspirations from 7 years ago. And out of 60 kids there is bound to be a group from aspirational families, whether they live on a council estate or not.

Some small schools with children from similar backgrounds aren't good at dealing with other children or families, eg assuming there's always a parent at home can be a problem if both parents work.

FrauMoose Wed 18-Dec-13 11:16:32

It can be very exasperating when people stereotype you because of the kind of housing you live in. (I used to live in a Housing Association flat.)

But writing ffs rather sabotages the point you're trying to make. An alternative would to model good manners to someone relatively new to this country - who is trying to deal not just with the minefield that is parental choice, but a language that isn't her own, and social structures that are unfamiliar.

How well do all of us think we'd do when asking for advice in a strange language on an internet forum in whatever country nataly13 has arrived from?

nataly13 Wed 18-Dec-13 11:09:33

looknow that is not nice and not the true!
The previous flat I was living was a council flat and the landlord was a very nice family. As I said I don't know what kind of people live from benefits. I think it's grate to live in country where of the circumstances of your life change you will be able to live somewhere and don't need to be homeless but I from what some colleagues told me that's not always the case. I don't want my son to not to have friends with aspiration, that's all! I don' care whether people are rich or poor, Christians or non-Christians, white, black or yellow.

nataly13 Wed 18-Dec-13 11:00:57

TheGonnagle that is how I felt for another very oversubscribed school in the area with great results and outstanding Ofsted but I didn't like it at all!

looknow Wed 18-Dec-13 11:00:08

People in council flats are not necessarily on benefits

Some people may own their flats in the "council" flats

My son lives in a council house and excels at school. I am a supportive parent

I have far more problems with over entitled parents posting nasty sweeping statements before checking their facts. You mention that you are from abroad. Did you not learn manners?

I truly despair. Send your dc to a private school if you don't want them to accidentally catch benefitis or whatever the hell you think they will catch going a school that has a high proportion of children that you dismiss as worthless.

Ffs.

nataly13 Wed 18-Dec-13 10:59:02

thank you very much for your help.

The area I live has very selective schools, great catholic schools (we are not Catholics) and not so good academies.

I am 100% sure we can get on the school number 1 as it's only 0.3 miles and the take 60 and we have a lot possibilities to get to CoE as we are in their catchment. I should apply by the 15th of January so very stressed.

In both schools (as in all schools I visited) children look very happy. TBH I don't think I will fit very much in any of the schools but I am not attending my son will and hopefully he will be fine wherever he goes unless he is bullied as he is very sensitive. He attends aver multicultural nursery at the moment and he has no issues. Sometimes I think that he might be the stranger on school number 2 but maybe this is only my fear as you can't always tell he is from another country as his English are very good. He seems very bright to me but I guess I am a bit bias :D !

I have spent hours reading Ofsted reports but since for both schools are from 2010 these are a bit old.

The KS1-KS2 results shows that school number 1 do exceptional good job as kids there start with lower abilities.

TheGonnagle Wed 18-Dec-13 10:49:15

Ignore Ofsted. Go and visit both schools, and see which one makes you feel most comfortable.
My dd is at the 'less desirable' of the two schools within a mile of my home. It's fabulous. Caring, friendly, warm. Everything I would want for a nurturing environment for my child. IMO it beats the pants off the one up the road, but they all look down on us (smug gits) fgrin
Go and look round.

FrauMoose Wed 18-Dec-13 10:45:20

Which school seems to have the happiest atmosphere? Where do you think your child is more likely to be happy?

TheDoctrineOfSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 10:44:22

Are you applying by the 15th Jan deadline?

Are you sure you will get in to either school? What was the furthest distance admitted for school 2 last year?

mummytime Wed 18-Dec-13 10:44:15

You may be totally right that those in school 2 do receive tutoring, or just lots of pushing from parents.
However school 1 may also have more mobility, which means it only has the pupils for a couple of years, which could deflate test scores.

I would: read the Ofsted reports (the whole report), see if the school reads better than its grade/worse than its grade. See what the schools are like, what they are like at pick up time too.

Are you in a Grammar school area? If not then if secondaries are so important then I suggest you investigate what their entry criteria are. For example the only schools near me where which primary school a child attended really matter tend to be Catholic, and if you are a Catholic you will probably get in anyway; if not you might struggle anyway.
If it is a Grammar school area, then see what percentage get in from each school; but do also ask if they prepare them (MOST schools DO NOT), again it might be due to private tuition.

See if the schools have changed head teachers recently, as that can change things a lot.

maillotjaune Wed 18-Dec-13 10:40:11

Well I think if you are concerned about results due to selective secondaries it is still important to look beyond the headlines at how the school helps pupils of different backgrounds to improve over KS2.

The league tables are pretty detailed, have you spent a bit of time wading through them beyond just the basics results? As I said before, that might give you a better feel for how your child, rather than some nonexistent average child, may fare.

nataly13 Wed 18-Dec-13 10:28:39

Thanks for your answers. As I am only a couple of years in the country I have probably expressed myself in wrong way. what I wanted to say is that in school number 1 used to go kids from families living from benefits is council flats. As I don't have an opinion of my own about this (we don't have such a think in my country) lots of colleagues and people I met told me to avoid schools having a number of these families. The comment that school 2 has kids from white middle class family came from a mother-governor from school number 1.

I have of course visited both schools but I left with mixed feelings for both.

My main concern for school number 1 is that doesn't have that good results in KS2 as school number 2. I thought that this might be due to private tutoring (as i assume parents in school 2 can afford this). I live in an area with very good secondary-selective schools but not so good non selective secondaries so I am concerned about results.

As my believes makes me feel more positive for school number 1 I am worried that I may loose a chance of sending my son to one of the schools in the country that has great results (in the 10%).

Thanks again

pinkdelight Wed 18-Dec-13 09:45:22

I would definitely go for the one full of white middle class children over the one that might have kids from council flats.

Are you serious???

Visit the schools. Talk to other parents. Go with your gut. Proximity and ratios sound good at School 1, but you'll only know by going there and getting a feel for their approach.

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