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Would you accept a school place without seeing the school?

(24 Posts)
Skippinginthesnow Mon 18-Jan-21 12:23:58

Our DC started a new school 18 months ago. It’s not been a success and we really think that for all our sakes we should move them, but we’ve been totally thwarted by covid. We’ve ‘looked’ at some other schools- shown round by either a teacher or admin staff, and only when there are no kids there- and been offered a place at one, but we’ve only seen the prep bit, not the senior part. Do we stick with the devil we know, or do we move them somewhere we really aren’t sure about, and haven’t even seen properly? There seems no hope of getting a proper viewing before September.

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stickygotstuck Mon 18-Jan-21 12:27:38

It's hard because of the restrictions, but generally speaking, no, never. You cannot get a real feel of a school without visiting, seeing the kids interact, talking to the teachers.

But if DC is very unhappy there, then I might consider it.

Oh12lookanothernamechange1234 Mon 18-Jan-21 12:29:41

Have you spoken to people locally who have children there? Can the school do a video tour for you? Is it a fee paying school? If so I’d expect something more to be honest

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 18-Jan-21 12:37:28


It's hard because of the restrictions, but generally speaking, no, never. You cannot get a real feel of a school without visiting, seeing the kids interact, talking to the teachers.

But if DC is very unhappy there, then I might consider it.

My child starts school this September, haven’t visited any schools, no one can!!!

Skippinginthesnow Mon 18-Jan-21 12:40:26

@Oh12lookanothernamechange1234 yes, it’s fee paying.
We know one other family with children there who think it’s great. No idea how to find any other families. If I ask the school for families to speak to they are obviously just going to recommend I speak to families they know love the school.

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ChocOrange1 Mon 18-Jan-21 12:41:13

I wouldnt usually but basically everyone with child going into year R this year will have to choose a school sight unseen

drspouse Mon 18-Jan-21 12:43:36

We are looking for a new school for our DS and we have looked round 4 but this has been since June; all the schools have had periods (either too many children in or during lockdowns) when they haven't had visitors. Can you wait till they are able to show you round?

Skippinginthesnow Mon 18-Jan-21 12:53:10

@drspouse they want an answer to their offer within a week. We’ve already said we don’t think we can answer before seeing the senior school.

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RandomUsernameHere Mon 18-Jan-21 13:18:47

Such a hard one. I'm in a similar position, not happy with the current school and if we are offered the new schools (anxiously awaiting results of the 7+ assessments, everything crossed!!!) I will accept without having looked round. I know quite a few parents with DC already there though whose opinions I trust.

Is the current school a prep only? I like the idea of a prep attached to a senior school as by the time the DC get to the end of year 5 you will have a good insight into the senior school and be able to make an informed decision as to whether to stay on or move elsewhere.

GoldGreen Mon 18-Jan-21 13:22:03

What age is your child?

Are you in a local Facebook group - I’m in one and people often ask about schools.

TierFourTears Mon 18-Jan-21 13:39:29

Yes, we have.
Moved back to the UK, and took the only school in the town with a pair of spaces in the needed years.

We also (moving the other way) accepted a school where the only time we'd visited was to drop the then 4 and 6 yr olds off for testing.

But in both cases, it was a case of nothing to this, rather than making an active choice to leave a school we'd already got places at.

ThatDamnKrampus Mon 18-Jan-21 13:43:35

Normally I would say no, for the time being- better the devil you know and all that; however if your child is seriously unhappy for example likelihood of school refusal, basic needs not being met (bullying not being dealt with, SEN needs not being met etc) then I would take a chance. You really need to weigh up whether taking a risk is better than temporarily staying put.

doctorhamster Mon 18-Jan-21 13:51:31

I would if they badly needed to move. There will be a whole cohort of reception children and year 7s going off to schools they haven't seen inside in September.

Skippinginthesnow Mon 18-Jan-21 13:53:09

@RandomUsernameHere current school goes to 18. I think I’m nervous as we did all our research (or so we thought) for current school and got it very very wrong, so I’m really skeptical that private schools are just after your money. DC aren’t unhappy, but they def aren’t happy, haven’t made friends (also not helped by lockdown) and as a family we don’t fit in at the school. Many issues have been raised with the head and they refuse to budge on anything. The attitude is ‘this is the way we do things, like it or leave’. This includes poor teaching standards and safe guarding issues.

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SnickersnotMArs Mon 18-Jan-21 13:53:38

Can you not ask some of the parents if you visit around school finishing hour?

RandomUsernameHere Mon 18-Jan-21 14:24:26

@Skippinginthesnow completely agree about them being after your money! The headteacher at our current school lies about various things, and definitely did when we looked around prior to starting there.

LaPoesieEstDansLaRue Mon 18-Jan-21 16:04:55

Is it worth posting the name of the school/area on here as there may be some mumsnetters local to you who know the school? Otherwise is there a local Facebook/Nextdoor group you could post on for opinions?

Skippinginthesnow Mon 18-Jan-21 17:56:42

@LaPoesieEstDansLaRue I did that a while back and got no response. Couldn’t post on a local fb page as parents at current school would see it.

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LaPoesieEstDansLaRue Mon 18-Jan-21 18:13:14

Ahh @skippinginthesnow - thought it was worth a try!

Cattitudes Mon 18-Jan-21 18:20:15

Could you ask the family that you know to recommend a few other families to talk to, anyone with a child like yours. Although seeing the senior school might be ideal, children do move at that stage in and out of schools so unless transfer is imminent I would maybe go with what you know about the prep and your gut feeling.

toomuchfaster Mon 18-Jan-21 18:27:07

As a parent of a child going into year 3 we have no choice as the junior schools in this area haven't done any visits since 2019!!

Crowsandshivers Mon 18-Jan-21 18:42:10

Yes. My child is starting school in September and I couldn't view schools.

ServeTheServants Mon 18-Jan-21 18:48:36

We did exactly this. We had not had the opportunity to look around the school at all (because of Covid...last May), but I knew from doing lots of research that the school we were looking to change to was superior in all ways. The children started at the new school in September and the children are very happy, and we are delighted with the progress. I trusted my gut on this one.

For reference we moved within the private sector.

crapcrap Mon 18-Jan-21 18:49:13

I had to accept a school without seeing it for my dd. All sorts of circumstances got in the way of me being able to attend the one open day they did. I wasn't able to get a viewing either so just had to cross my fingers and hope for the best. She's now in year 1 and is doing well.
I would've liked to have seen the school but it just wasn't possible. Good luck x

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