Secondary school open evenings - how many to go to?

(23 Posts)
Bemused33 Thu 26-Sep-13 17:54:45

we have six options. last year I did four open evenings and one open morning.

this year we have done three evenings and it will be four open mornings by the time we finish next week. all in all five schools. this time my dh has come to them all as last year I went to most of the them with just dd.

Talkinpeace Thu 26-Sep-13 15:28:36

3 options on our forms.
You always put your catchment school plus two others.
I knew where I wanted my kids to go.
SAved petrol by not visiting other schools.

crazymum53 Thu 26-Sep-13 15:26:23

If I was in your area, I would also visit the Catholic school and probably put it down as second preference.

BlackMogul Thu 26-Sep-13 15:07:22

In rural areas, travelling miles out of your way to another school should only be contemplated if the local school is totally useless. What all rural families is need is a good or better local school. There is unlikely, ever, to be much choice because of the distances involved. I would maybe look at one other school that DC could reasonably attend, but most people know what a local school is like because everyone goes there and there are lots of families with first hand knowledge of the school. Looking round on an open day really only informs you about facilities and how well a school boasts. It will never tell you about the quality of teaching, leadership or if your child will be happy there. If there is no real alternative,go to the local school and make an effort to improve it if you feelit could do better. In rural areas you tend to get into your local school because catchment areas are normally honoured.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lottie4 Thu 26-Sep-13 14:12:17

We only looked at two because there are only two my daughter can get to by walking or just one bus ride. We didn't think it was right for her to be changing 2/3 buses especially as our bus often doesn't connect well with other routes.

Do go and have a look at all those you are seriously interested in though and allow the full two hours (or whatever time is permitted) to get a look feel, talk to staff and pupils. There was a massive difference in the two we looked at and it made our decision very easy.

TheArticFunky Thu 26-Sep-13 12:52:34

ThreeBee, I've checked that out and he only meets the admission criteria for our first choice. It's also a high birth rate year lots of bulge classes and we had problems securing a primary place so if anything the distances are going to be even tighter.

Check out the admissions criteria for each (should be on the school website). If it's distance, the school should be able to tell you how many metres away the furthest place went to last year, year before etc, so you can work out if your child is likely to get a place.

If your child does not meet any of the admissions criteria, then going to the open evening is just making it unnecessarily crowded, and putting the school down on your admissions form is just a waste of one of your preferences.

Scholes34 Thu 26-Sep-13 12:38:34

Pleased to hear you're keen to support the PTA. Unfortunately, not many people are by the time you his secondary.

TheArticFunky Thu 26-Sep-13 12:36:25

mummytime makes a good point about PTA fund raising I might visit one other school for that reason. I probably won't take ds with me as I don't really think he is interested.

Frikadellen Thu 26-Sep-13 12:33:03

dd3 is in year 5 and we live in a Grammar school area we are this year visiting 7 schools. only 1 of them is a grammar as the other 2 girls grammar schools are super selective we will only visit those if she passes that well (and both have open mornings after Kent test is announced)

Next year we will narrow down to our favourites and revisit to see how we felt about them.

This sounds over the top I am aware however we had a bad experience for dd2 and it resulted in us having to move her and with dd3 this is something I am keen to avoid. I would rather spend som time visiting schools.

With DS (just gone into Y7) we visited 6 schools 3 grammars. He is in one of the grammar schools now and loving it, hence for me it was the right thing to do.

TheArticFunky Thu 26-Sep-13 12:31:00

I will put 4 choices on the application as a safety net (4 choices max in our borough) but realistically he only has a chance of getting a place at our first choice.

We only have 2 schools within a 5 mile radius. The first choice school I can see from our window and I know loads of staff that work there and we go there quite a lot so have seen it when it is not all polished for open day. The other school within 5 miles is Catholic and over subscribed, I'm Catholic but ds isn't.

The other schools are miles away and out of catchment. I'm not sure what we will achieve by going to their open evenings. If we think they are fantastic we still won't have a chance of getting into them.

Takver Thu 26-Sep-13 12:17:37

If you've visited your local school, you're happy with it, and you're certain he'll get in, I don't see the point in complicating things.

To those who say 'what if you don't get the school' - it depends on your area. Here you have two choices, English medium or Welsh medium and you will get a place in whichever you choose.

Scholes34 Thu 26-Sep-13 12:05:17

As a parent, I don't want choice. I just want a good local school.

hellsbells99 Thu 26-Sep-13 12:02:46

We visited our 2 local schools - 1 was catchment, the other was nearer our house. We also offered DCs the chance to visit 1 of our local private schools but they were not interested. They both opted for our nearest school where they have been very happy. If our 2 local schools were not good then I may have looked around more.

Scholes34 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:59:03

DCs have all gone to the local primary and secondary schools. We only visited the one school on each occasion and only put one on the list. However, with sixth form, where there was a real choice, with the allocation of a place dependent on DD's exam results, we went to visit three and from those DD made her first choice and back up.

If you're as sure as you can be that your DS will get into your local school, only visit others if you really have nothing better to do with your time.

Bramshott Thu 26-Sep-13 11:48:46

Because we're in a rural area and that covers all the schools within 25 miles of us. It's very different in cities I'm sure. We'll get a place at the local school and are very happy with it.

Seeline Thu 26-Sep-13 11:25:15

In our area you have 6 spaces on the form, and stand a chance of not being given any of them shock
My DD is Y5 and I have already visited/will visit 3 local state schools and 3 local indies. I hope to be able to narrow down next year, but will re-visit some.
How do you know that your local school is the 'right' school for your child without comparing it to others?
What happens and you don't get the one school you have put down and end up somewhere else? If you haven't visited it then you don't know whether in actual fact it might be OK, or whether to fight.
I am amazed that you might put a school down without even visiting it!

Bramshott Thu 26-Sep-13 11:19:35

DD1 will go to our local school. We went to one other school for comparison purposes, and will put a third school on the form without visiting it.

ashleysilver Thu 26-Sep-13 11:11:47

6 seems over the top to me. Why waste your time.

We visited 2 schools, but we were genuinely trying to choose between them.

crazymum53 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:10:49

I wouldn't recommend just visiting one school or listing only one school on the application form. What happens if your ds isn't allocated a place at this school ? Assuming you have 3 preferences, the minimum that you need to do is visit your 3 closest schools and then list them in your preferred order on the form.

mummytime Thu 26-Sep-13 11:06:43

Our LA's form has 6 spaces on it. I would recommending visiting other schools for two reasons:
a) you really don't know how others do things, or even what you might be able to ask for/get the PTA to fund raise for unless you look around.
b) the biggest factor after parents and a "good enough" school is, who else is in the class, your DC might end up in a class/year group full of very disfunctional children. Even in the best school it might not be the 'best' school for your child, so it is worth knowing what else is out there, just in case.

My DCs school has 850 applicants for 300 places, but still takes up to 30 from the waiting list, and has taken up to 10 on appeal. It is possible to get into another school if you really think it is better/right for your child.

There is no harm in looking, it can re-enforce your knowledge that the local school is the best.

TheArticFunky Thu 26-Sep-13 10:35:50

Realistically ds only has a chance of getting a place at our nearest secondary school. We are both happy with the prospect of him attending this school.

Is it worth attending open evenings to compare? I can't really see the point in going along to open evenings at schools he is unlikely to go to. However when I said this to a friend she was surprised as she is planning on visiting about 6 different schools.

Ds only wants to visit our local school.

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