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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?'

ATailOfTwoKitties Sat 15-Sep-12 19:35:40

Yes, the catchment school is oversubscribed (but we meet all the priority criteria).

She might be able to switch. When we wanted to move DS, there were two spaces in his year, and we were warned to act quickly if we wanted one. Plus, DS's grades dropped when he moved and it took at least two terms to catch back up again (admittedly he had to start a different MFL from scratch in that time!). And I wonder if I'd overreact to every little niggle by leaping to the phone and getting an in-year transfer started with the LEA!

ATailOfTwoKitties Sat 15-Sep-12 19:36:56

This is really useful, btw, as I don't want to inflict all my dithering on DD (and DH is just saying 'She'll be fine at either').

Startailoforangeandgold Sat 15-Sep-12 19:44:11

I think you are just going to have to visit the two schools with and without DD if possible and get as good a feel as you can.
Looking at them, as far as possible, purely as schools for her.

balia Sun 16-Sep-12 16:36:47

You might also want to look at the 'value-added' score for both schools - just because results are better doen't mean the school is moving the students on more - they might just have a higher score on entry.

lljkk Sun 16-Sep-12 16:57:31

Let her have a big vote in which school she wants to attend. Plan to move her later if necessary.

Primary school that turned awful for DC1 has been fab for DC2 & adequate for other DC.

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 04-Oct-12 12:51:43

Just an update, as we've been to the open day for the catchment school: still not much further forward, as there was no chance to talk to any staff or ask any questions of them! The entire tour was conducted by Yr 11 prefects, and the head's talk didn't leave a chance for questions at the end.

I feel a bit short changed. How are we supposed to find out about options, current pastoral care and behaviour policies from a couple of polite but rather vague 15 year olds?

Lots of buzzwords about happy confident achieving children, but DD said 'You should have seen your face, Mum, when That Woman said they didn't have a bullying problem...'

DD liked it, though

racingheart Fri 05-Oct-12 14:12:26

Hmm. Here's what I think: a bright child with caring, supportive, educated parents will probably get similar results in any school they go to, state or private, outstanding or OK. The exception is, if they are unahppy, if they are bullied and left to rot, or the school expects them to conform, instead of letting them thrive as they are. Then their grades might drop. They will certainly be damaged.

I'd go for school B, personally. English is important, but if children read a lot, parents are articulate, the rest can be brought up to scratch with a handful of good grammar and crammer books.

Art is more difficult maybe, but you could find some evening or weekend classes or clubs for her to attend.

Perhaps she'll be fine, but from what you've described, I'd be doubly wary. What does she think?

'No bullying goes on at our school' is the biggest red flag in the world.

wordassociationfootball Fri 05-Oct-12 14:48:16

A tail, it's mad that you weren't able to ask teachers any questions.

ATailOfTwoKitties Fri 05-Oct-12 16:00:44

Yes, isn't it, Word? I've already emailed both schools asking if we can come round for a separate tour. School B (DS's new school) replied within half an hour to say sure, come next Thursday during a normal working day.

The art is bothering me more than the English, RacingHeart. Loads at School A got A*s, none at School B (they're stronger in performance arts). But hey ho, she could always be a mouldbreaker. Good idea about clubs if I can find one; older DS's sixth form college does one after school but she's a bit little for it (yup, I have three at three different schools already)

[I've just looked at the Ofsted for the school DS hated, and it's done nothing for my blood pressure. 'A few parents reported disruptive behaviour and bullying but we saw no evidence to back this up', hence the outstanding grade. No evidence? Parents reporting bullying isn't evidence, Ofsted??]

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