OK, flame me gently... would you send your child to this school?

(34 Posts)
ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 11:26:33

Right. Ahem. Long-time lurker here.

We are in catchment for an 'outstanding in all categories' secondary school.
DD attends a feeder primary.
It's ten minutes away by bus.
All her friends will be going.

It's a no-brainer, really, isn't it? Lucky us.

Except that her brother went there for yr 7, and was so wretched that we eventually moved him to a less 'outstanding' school several miles away and NOT on a bus route. (Anyone recognising us from this unusual form of secondary-angst, please keep it under your hat.)

I love school B, but it undeniably gets lower overall results than School A; and DS, who says it's 'awesome', adds the rider 'but the English and language teaching was better at School A'. Art also appears stronger at School A. English and art are DD's strengths at present.

Two years ago we felt so let down by school A that we would never have considered working with them again, but certainly on paper it's the better fit for DD.

Aarggh. Anyone got some really penetrating-yet-tactful questions for Open Day that aren't just 'How would you help this child flourish at your school when it didn't work for her brother?'

I think you should ask your question as you've written it there, tbh. Chilldren are individuals, and if you think your DD will do well at school A, then give her the option. Why did your DS have a bad time?

cheesesarnie Thu 13-Sep-12 11:33:22

going by what you've written- i would try dd at school A.

up until recently i had 3 at 2 different schools.

the one that dd went to didnt fit ds1.

ds2 goes to the same school as ds1 did because it fitted him better.

They are different children. What is a good fit for your son might not necessarily be so for your daughter.

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 12:01:32

Thanks all. They are both quite naive, never quite 'in' with the mainstream, and find it very hard to shrug off teasing. In DS's case this tipped over into bullying, which he then took out on his sister as soon as he got home. School A's response was basically 'he overreacts' (probably he does) and 'he'd fit in better if he played football' (not a hope!). It's one of those schools where 'there is no bullying', but we aren't the only oversensitive parents to move a child out because of the inadequate response to this non-existent bullying.

Ah. Well, in the case of a school where they basically deny that you have a problem when you have a problem, I'd avoid like the plague.

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 12:18:38

Mmm. Yes, that's the issue in a nutshell. This is the school that all the village kids go to, though, and presumably most of them don't have that kind of a hard time. Talking myself round in circles here, because everyone is chatting at the school gate about year 6 being such a lovely group of girls (they are)/ can't believe they're nearly at secondary/aren't we lucky that they'll all move up together! DD is feeling 'really weird' about the whole thing (she's one of the few who's a younger sib -- most of her friends are oldest or onlies)..

I have experience with schools where "there is no bullying" and would be skeptical to any school who claims this.

The reason there is no bullying is not because there is not any, but because the school is refusing to label anything as bullying. So, of course there is no bullying if bullying is brushed under the carpet, never recognized and never dealt with.

Go with your gut!

cheesesarnie Thu 13-Sep-12 12:26:43

After reading the bullying post I would maybe go for school A.
It doesn't matter what the school can offer if they don't deal with bullying imo.

That was another reason that we moved ds1 and another reason that ds2 went to his school.

seeker Thu 13-Sep-12 12:29:59

I would be incredibly wary of a school that claims to have no bullying.

And I think, if I was brave enough, I would ask your question as it stands.

'he'd fit in better if he played football'

i think that's very telling. Conform or be doomed

purplehouse Thu 13-Sep-12 12:34:29

Consider it the other way around.

What if your DD was the eldest and thriving at secondary school A. Then you sent your DS to the same school and experienced the problems you have described. Would you have moved both DS and DD to school B, or just DS?

I would perhaps challenge them on the no bullying statement. It is an idiotic thing to say. Some children are bullies, it's just a fact of life - all schools need to deal with this.

mummytime Thu 13-Sep-12 12:37:05

I would be asking school A lots of questions about their attitudes and practise on bullying. If things haven't changed, then I wouldn't send any of my kids there. Safety is right at the base of Maslow's pyramid of needs, so basically no-one can learn unless they feel safe.

However fortunately my kids Outstanding school has very robust policies and ways of dealing with bullying.

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 12:38:17

Cheese --- that's interesting, as your daughter is presumably fine at the school that didn't deal with the bullying, because she's not the sort to be picked on, or can handle it?

Quint -- my gut is churning! Poor old DD is feeling a bit that way too. Two years ago she was frankly scared by the sound of DS's experiences at School A and only reassured when we said she didn't have to go there (that was the point that we realised we had to move DS). Now she has her friends from school and Brownies all discussing School A and is feeling like the odd one out even before the open days.

nancerama Thu 13-Sep-12 12:39:15

Do both schools have open days that your DD could attend? I was thoroughly miserable at my first secondary school. I hated the examination day I had there and knew that I wouldn't fit in there. Unfortunately my mother didn't involve me in the decision at all and sent me to a school I hated. 3 years later when I moved on I was very much involved in the decision and have very happy memories of my second secondary school.

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 12:39:42

Purple, that is a very astute question. No, I would not move a child who was thriving, just because it didn't suit a sib.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 13-Sep-12 12:40:08

1) How hard would it be having them at different schools?

2) What is the balance between DD being happiest with her friends, being teased like DS.

3) What does DD want to do?

DD1 (my lovely, social inept, quirky, dyslexic) collects hassle mostly off other kids, sometimes off staff. Good pastoral care and the ability of school to answer concerns is essential.

DD2 is any schools perfect pupil, clever, makes friends and fits in. (She saves her insecure side for home).

DD1 would be best at school A
DD2's best subject is English so I might be tempted to B.

Only you know your DCs well enough to decide.

Don't let the other Mum's bother you. I wish one off DD2's friends had stayed with the group, I understand why she hasn't.

goodstuffhappens Thu 13-Sep-12 12:43:27

I'm a teacher and I would never be offended if a parent asked me that questions (as you phrased it). We understand that children are individuals and that each child is suited to a different school. If you get a snotty response to your question, perhaps that's your answer...

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 12:46:05

Star, your DD1 would indeed suit my son's current school (I'm getting my As and Bs muddled by this point). Quirky is what they're best at (ponders whether DD is in fact quirky enough for that school).

Having DD at the catchment school would be easier for transport, though she'd get fit cycling five miles each way whenever I couldn't take them!

DD changes her mind daily. I'd like to take most of this off her shoulders and let her concentrate on being 10, but we need to take her views into account.

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 13-Sep-12 12:48:21

Thanks, all. I've got a much better idea of what to ask now. Will try to remember to report back after the Open Days!

cheesesarnie Thu 13-Sep-12 12:51:58

my daughter didn't get bullied so was fine.

ds1 has 'issues' (easiest way to sum it up- dyslexia plus behavioural) and the school refused to recognise it so he (imo) was more open to being bullied and less able to deal with the bullies because of their crapness lack of care.

shewhowines Sat 15-Sep-12 16:57:06

I asked to individually sit in some of the lessons at two schools near us. The schools were ok with this. I sat in 5 lessons at each school (for about 10mins in each) and based my decision on what I saw. Worth asking.

One school I was accompanied by the head but he didn't actually come into the classrooms as "he didn't want to influence the kids". With the other, the deputy head actually sat in with me and there was still bad behaviour. I thought that was rather telling in itself. The actual choice of school was a no brainer for me despite the other one looking better on paper.

ATailOfTwoKitties Sat 15-Sep-12 17:14:44

Ah. Great idea, Wines. Does the fact that I can already guess which school would say Yes to this, and which would say that that is what Open Day is for, tell you anything? I rather think it does.

Chese -- DD is less of an obvious target than DS ever was, so could have a perfectly easy ride BUT if things go wrong I don't trust the nearer school to deal with it.

RandomMess Sat 15-Sep-12 17:22:29

If dd is open to going to the catchment school I'd send her and be prepared to move her if need be. She is a different child, she has a lovely group of friends, it's strengths are her interests. I'd said it be worth giving it a go IF she is happy to do so.

jeee Sat 15-Sep-12 19:05:27

From your description the catchment school is likely to be over-subscribed? And again, going on your OP, I suspect your son's school isn't?

Assuming this to be the case, if your DD wants to go to the catchment school, put that school down. Presumably if the same problems arise she'll be able to switch?

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