When to visit secondary schools?

(40 Posts)
mummy1973 Thu 09-May-13 20:28:06

Do most people go in year 5 to have a look round and how do you find out when open days are? We are in Hampshire. smile

MadeOfStarDust Sun 12-May-13 08:27:30

Forget lockers though - my dd has one and never uses it - there is not enough time between lessons to put anything in or out, there is not enough time at break to get a snack/drink and get PE kit for next lesson etc.... I wish she would use it - even just for trainers/PE kit.... but totally impractical in real life.... we were told on open day it is the thing most parents ask about.

mummy1973 Sun 12-May-13 08:30:26

Wow thanks everyone...so helpful. grin Two further away weren't over subscribed last year so there is hope. I've decided to go along without dd first and ask for a tour in the daytime. I feel more armed to know what to expect now but please let me know if you have any other top tips.

Nehru Sun 12-May-13 09:08:35

Year 7 are obsessed with lockers. They are utterly manic about them.
It's American tv.
Then never use them.

BackforGood Sun 12-May-13 12:48:22

I think it depends where (geographically) in the school the lockers are. ds used his throughout yrs 7 -11, and, now in her school, dd uses hers every day too - indeed her PE kit tends to live in there and only the shirt comes home for the occasional wash. It's great not to have to lug it back and forth each day.
But ask the pupils that show you round.... try and get one that's not in Yr7 as of course they can't answer any of your questions, and if you are shown round by an adult, they give you the "hard sell". Older pupils will tell it as it is more often than not.

cricketballs Sun 12-May-13 13:24:35

I would agree with Backforgood - there are always lots of changes that happen in a very short space of time so the focus on what currently occurs at KS4 shouldn't be the forefront of your mind.

I would question through the suggestion by Steppemum that clubs give a good indicator of what the teachers find important; I find a lot of things important; academic, pastoral, learning styles, a student's future, a student's present but I don't run a club as I don't have time.....what does this say about me?

mummy1973 Sun 12-May-13 19:23:28

cricket balls...it may say you have too much paperwork too do! I'm guessing though that if all the clubs are sports based my dad wouldn't give two hoots! She is into the arts side of life.

mummy1973 Sun 12-May-13 19:23:56

dd not dad!

busymummy3 Sun 12-May-13 19:51:39

Can someone please tell me what is the difference between sets and streams thanks

BackforGood Sun 12-May-13 20:50:01

My understanding is that 'sets' set for each subject individually - so you might be great at French but less able at maths, and for each subject you would be in the appropriate set. With 'streams' they divide the year into groups and work on the presumption that if you are struggling with/good at one subject then you would be struggling with / good at them all.

steppemum Sun 12-May-13 21:23:27

cricket balls - what I meant about the clubs I think was a bit more about what is valued in the school, not really individual teachers.

Some schools seem to focus heavily on their sports clubs and teams, and have little else, others seem to have a interesting variety of quirky clubs, which always gives me the impression that they like to try in introduce kids to new things. One school was very proud of their debating club, but I thought reflected something about their values with regard to developing articulate free thinkers.
Obviously this is only an impression, and it may be totally wrong, but it all adds up to the overall impression you get.

cricketballs Sun 12-May-13 21:54:58

Steppemum; thanks for the reply, but to answer your point a lot of staff do not have time to run clubs, this does not effect the ethos of the school as a whole and should not be a basis of choosing a school especially as staff come and go

steppemum Sun 12-May-13 22:18:01

point taken

MadeOfStarDust Mon 13-May-13 09:03:19

WRT clubs - at my DD's secondary the sixth form run a lot of lunchtime clubs - I think if they have a strong interest in a subject they are encouraged to run a club once a fortnight- so they have clubs for Manga drawing, line-dancing, poetry, knitting, poster design and sculpture, as well as rounders, tennis and netball and general football free for all.... The teachers there run clubs some terms - drama, choir, debating, lots of sports, science, and some others.....

But to be honest we did not really look at clubs, other than to comment that there was a lot going on that wasn't just sport and some seemed very "inventive" .

One of the things that was encouraging to us when choosing a school was that HALF the A' level Maths students were girls - and that there were actually girls doing A' level Physics too! (3 out of our 4 local schools had around 10% of the A' level Maths students girls, and NO female A' level Physics students at all - and they hadn't for the past 3 years...).
We have scientifically/academically inclined girls and that said a lot to us..

Takingthemickey Tue 14-May-13 17:00:56

We looked around in first term of Yr 5. Also let the child have some input. We took DS to visit three schools that academically were quite similar but in terms of setting - urban, semi rural, sports etc were quite different.

DS beings sports mad we thought would love the school with miles of sporting fields, instead was excited about the school in the urban setting.

All things being equal I would allow the child to be the tie-breaker.

One question I asked at a recent open day was on movement between sets in subjects. This particular school reassessed quite regularly so a child that took a bit of time to settle in wouldn't necessarily be stuck in the wrong set all year.

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