Am I missing something here?

(32 Posts)
mumoftwo100 Sun 01-Dec-13 18:42:43

My eldest daughter is 2, so we are in the position of looking for good schools, and was just browsing the primaries everyone on Mumsnet seems to bang on about, but am i missing something? Although they are made out as the holy grail nothing seems very stellar academically?

Sudbourne, Brixton: average point score 29.9 - 2443 out of 14701 primaries, level 5 38%
Coleridge, Crouch End: average point score 29.7 - 2945 out of 14701 primaries, level 5 38%
Belleville, Battersea: average point score 30.3 - 1592 out of 14701 primaries, level 5 38%
Tetherdown, Muswell Hill: average point score 30.2 - 1762 out of 14701 primaries, level 5 45%
Yerbury, Holloway: average point score 30.0 - 2146 out of 14701 primaries, level 5 38%

I know they're all Ofsted outstanding etcetc (apart from Tetherdown which is only good) but none of them are even in the top 10% of primaries and I would have thought for such a solidly middle class intake they would be doing much better? (I'm not trying to offend anyone dont cut me down!)

Our local primary, Foulds in Barnet's average point score is 31.1 ranking it 527th and has 58% level 5. This seems markedly better but it's not really talked about on Mumsnet so does that mean its perceived as undesirable and I should move to one with catchment hysteria?

Arrgh so much stuff to think about -_-

SatinSandals Sun 01-Dec-13 19:20:39

Forget it all and go and visit on a normal working day.

mumoftwo100 Sun 01-Dec-13 19:46:09

Yeah I am planning to visit, but I don't want to base where dd goes for 7 years of education based on a gut feeling on one day - I guess I am being overneurotic but just trying to find out as much as possible!

mrz Sun 01-Dec-13 19:56:09

Talk to parents who already have children at the school and visit ... (league tables and Ofsted reports aren't a good basis for 7 years of your child's life either)

mumoftwo100 Sun 01-Dec-13 20:11:13

Yeah I have children with friends at Tetherdown and they all say the school doesn't do much and that most kids have private tutoring :S that's what im worried about too

Snowbility Sun 01-Dec-13 20:20:26

I was stupid and picked a school based on Ofsted and Sats results. Biggest mistake I have ever made!! I should have trusted my subconscious or gut as you call it because the things I felt on the day - subliminally I dismissed, I have learned to have more faith in my subconscious because it is pretty much spot on most of the time.

RCheshire Sun 01-Dec-13 20:29:49

When our eldest was two years old I spent vast numbers of hours pouring over Ofsted and the previous three years worth of results. Then this year we visited five schools and our first choice is #3 in terms of Ofsted (good vs two others being outstanding) and #3 in terms of results. Before our visits I couldn't have imagined how critical they would turn out to be in influencing our opinions.

RCheshire Sun 01-Dec-13 20:31:46

poring. Phone!

SatinSandals Sun 01-Dec-13 20:32:01

I go by gut feeling, it has never let me down. If she is only 2 yrs you can visit more than once, it could be a different school in 2/3 years time.

mumoftwo100 Sun 01-Dec-13 20:49:03

Ok thanks everyone I'll get a few visits in very soon!

Tableforfour Sun 01-Dec-13 21:52:02

Everyone at Tetherdown is tutored and the downgrading from outstanding to good was to do with the school not stretching the more able but relying in the parents to tutor.

Marmitelover55 Sun 01-Dec-13 22:27:31

Surely if all of the children at Tetherdown are being tutored then they should be making excellent progress, and the school results should be benefiting?

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Sun 01-Dec-13 22:31:26

A lot can change in 2 years when your child will start school. I would look nearer the time tbh.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Dec-13 22:34:50

Suppose your child isn't academic? What might be the best school for one child isn't for another

Dd is very academic but the best school for her isn't an academic one

Ds has ASD but we feel he will thrive in an academic but not too pushy environment

Visit & go with your gut feeling.

SatinSandals Mon 02-Dec-13 08:01:54

Exactly, Pictures, pick the school that will suit your child and don't pick the school and hope your child will fit. It can be a wonderful school but it doesn't mean that it is a wonderful school for your child.

Mashabell Mon 02-Dec-13 09:28:49

Most schools in England are pretty good nowadays.
And please remember that innate ability and parental support are the main determinants of final academic achievement, not schools.

Being able to walk or cycle to school with friends brings huge benefits.

I never considered anything but the nearest primary and mixed comprehensive wherever we lived, and my dd and ds both went to one of England's two best unis (despite my son's dyslexia which he inherited from my husband).

Mashabell Mon 02-Dec-13 09:29:36

Most schools in England are pretty good nowadays.
And please remember that innate ability and parental support are the main determinants of final academic achievement, not schools.

Being able to walk or cycle to school with friends brings huge benefits.

I never considered anything but the nearest primary and mixed comprehensive wherever we lived, and my dd and ds both went to one of England's two best unis (despite my son's dyslexia which he inherited from my husband).

Mashabell Mon 02-Dec-13 09:31:37

I don't quite understand how i ended up posting my reply twice. Sorry!

columngollum Mon 02-Dec-13 09:48:36

Can't be innate ability, surely, apart from speaking there is nothing very innate about our education system. It's all artificial and in a tradition inherited from the Ancient Greeks, if I'm right and Masha's also partly right it would mean that parental involvement is the most important determinant of final academic achievement, (which, incidentally, a study published recently already does suggest.)

Mashabell Mon 02-Dec-13 10:16:33

I have taught lots of lovely children with very supportive parents who, to put it plainly, are intellectually quite weak and would simply never get into Oxbridge or even any university no matter what.

I have also helped quite a few pupils get into Oxbridge. There is such a thing as innate differences in ability.

Even weak pupils do better with good parenting than those who have to get by mainly by dint of their own efforts. Sure. But there are limits to what they can achieve.

And one thing which is extremely unhelpful to pupils at the lower end of the ability range is the inconsistency of English spelling. When learning to read and write is easy for all (as with Finnish spelling), even pupils at the lower end of the ability range can still learn quite a lot during their time in compulsory schooling. With English, their prospects are far more limited.

columngollum Mon 02-Dec-13 10:29:20

Let's be blunt. When you say intellectually quite weak you're saying these children were thick but lovely, right? But could they dance, sing, create beautiful wallpaper?

Being a brilliant classics scholar or a brain surgeon is only one aspect of ability. There are many others

and neither classics nor surgery are innate.

columngollum Mon 02-Dec-13 10:43:21

I think what I'm saying is that scholasticism is by definition contrived and artificial and therefore it is itself the very opposite of innate.

Intelligence may very well be innate. But there are many forms of intelligence, not just the one used in school.

Mashabell Mon 02-Dec-13 11:09:03

Sure. But being 'thick' or 'bright' makes an enormous difference to the ease with which children are able to learn to read and write English, and therefore to their academic potential which is what most parents on here tend to worry about.

columngollum Mon 02-Dec-13 11:12:57

Of course it does, but look at David Beckham and Jamie Olliver, or even John Lennon, come to that, not one of them distinguished himself at school.

Thick or bright is only one tiny aspect of what being a human is all about. We need to bring out the best in out children and if that's in playing football and not studying maths, then so be it.

They also play football in primary school.

columngollum Mon 02-Dec-13 11:21:26

I expect the mn primary forum is also unrepresentative of parents in general and quite representative of those parents who scramble for outstanding school places and would even move house on the strength of one. Why that has happened I don't know for sure but I think it might have something to do with the cut and thrust of the debate here. In other fora/forums, where the interactions are a little less barbed, parents seem to be far more diverse in outlook and expectation.

Snowbility Mon 02-Dec-13 11:33:19

My db would have been seen as thick at school, he wasn't interested, he skived off most of his secondary education. He runs his own business now...has done successfully for 20 years, is wealthier than any of his siblings who got degrees. He clearly isn't stupid, he's very witty, engaging and hard working....but none of those qualities were admired at school - he was placed at the very lowest end of the ability scale.

Snowbility Mon 02-Dec-13 11:35:54

When I say hard working I mean in the physical sense rather than the bookish sense.

Damnautocorrect Mon 02-Dec-13 11:38:12

I had the choice between outstanding and good. I went with good on gut feeling that it was right for my ds.
So far so good.
As others have said form your own opinion and visit.

columngollum Mon 02-Dec-13 11:40:10

I suppose, in fairness to parents, if they get their children into good schools and the children turn out to be thick then at least they had a chance at education even if they end up being trapeze artists, whereas, if the parents had scrambled to get them into a rotten school (which happened to be next to a circus) and they turned out to be brilliant in all disciplines it would be too late, and doubtless the rotten school would do everything in its power to crush any academic flair the child started off with.

mammadiggingdeep Mon 02-Dec-13 11:42:24

Column....couldn't agree more. Look at Jamie Oliver...driven, focused, love of learning, brilliant communicator, businessman...didn't shine academically at school though. David Beckham, tenacity and determination- used to practice football til half 9 at night. These characteristics are as important as academic qualities. Good schools promote and develop these characteristics as well as a academic development. The parents on here who moan about kids having time 'off' to go to a visit or a pantomime with their school friends miss this point entirely.

I also agree that mumsnet isn't representative if all parents.

noramum Mon 02-Dec-13 15:27:27

We saw a school, state primary, with great results. As soon as the tour was over I knew DD would only go there over my dead body.

It was an exams factory. All joy and fun was pressed out of it. I think only children who learn easily and thrive through pressure may like it there. Oh yes, and if you are good at hockey as well.

She is now on a good school, small and cuddly and thrives as they managed to draw her out of her shell and support her in being a child who has fun while. learning. Result, she is in the top sets of her class without any pressure, just because they make it fun to learn.

I learned fast that results and Ofsted is not everything.

marmitecat Mon 02-Dec-13 15:49:43

Op I think it might be helpful for you to consider the distribution of results that go in to the league tables. It's a bell shaped curve which means there's not a lot in it between a school in the 30th centile and one in rhe 70th. The biggest factor in ks2 results is socioeconomic. So unless you are choosing a school on the basis of social class alone you need to look beyond the league tables and visit.

We visited a nearby outstanding school which left us cold and sent the kids to a good school where they are thriving academically and socially.

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