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should this school be a bit more flexible?

(49 Posts)
unusednickname Wed 23-Apr-14 19:12:48

Have been offered a primary place at our third choice school. It seems fine - Ofsted 'good' etc. Would like to go and look around before deciding.

Called them today - they have 'tours' coming up (which are aimed at people considering applying to the school but which we could join), about one a week for three or four weeks but all at 11 am. I can't go at 11am as DD is at another local school at nursery and I would need to leave at 11.10 or so to get her. No local childcare option. Could drag parents (in their late 70s and 80s - dad v ill) up to do it but not a BRILLIANT option.

They were incredibly unhelpful on the phone. Just basically 'it's 11 am, we have building work going on, take it or leave it.' They suggested I take DD out of nursery for the morning but I want to come and see the school before I decide and that's not going to be easy when I'm attending to her, plus I just want to make the decision alone iyswim? It won't be a sort of 'Oooooooh look at your new school darling' visit, more of a 'what are the sports facilities like?' visit.

So AIBU to ask to speak to the head to sort this out? Because I'm not saying I can only come it at 8.30 on the third Wednesday of the month I'm just saying that it seems weird that they only have one time, which is a time loads of people won't be able to make because that's when nursery am sessions kick out. And that given that they're going to be having building work for the next year or so maybe their message needs to be 'business as usual' rather than 'we can't cope with this'??


LIZS Wed 23-Apr-14 19:15:04

Would another mum do your pick up for you just the once ?

wonderingsoul Wed 23-Apr-14 19:17:41

or pay for you dd to have lunch there/ an extra hour?

it does sound strange, when veiwing a school i was able to just make an apointment (this wasnt round new starters ethier )

unusednickname Wed 23-Apr-14 19:18:21

LIZs yes I could call in a favour but I'm not overly keen - Dad has been really quite ill so I feel like I've used quite a lot of favours lately and my prefered people who would do it would need to hike themselves out to the school with other babies in tow...

Maybe I just need to do that <sigh> just can't see why they can't be a bit more accomodating. The message I'm getting as a new parent at the school is 'we don't give a shit'

unusednickname Wed 23-Apr-14 19:19:10

No extra hour/lunch isn't an option - state primary - pick up at 11.30 of find them sitting in reception staring at a wall smile

Littlefish Wed 23-Apr-14 19:19:25

I think you're being a bit unreasonable. You have been offered 3 or 4 opportunities, albeit at a time which doesn't work particularly well for you. It may be the only time when the Reception teacher is available. No matter what the reason, I think you need to sort some childcare or take your dd with you.

YouTheCat Wed 23-Apr-14 19:19:25

Schools are very busy places, especially at this time of year (SATS).

I think it would be a very good idea to take your child, as she is the one who will be going there and it would be useful to see how she reacts to it.

CoffeeTea103 Wed 23-Apr-14 19:20:44

You haven't even joined yet, and already want to complain to the head! hmm

PeachandRaspberry Wed 23-Apr-14 19:21:58

YABU, you've got 3 or 4 options. Are you actively looking for reasons to dislike the school?

unusednickname Wed 23-Apr-14 19:23:24

It's not the reception teacher doing the tours. They're for all comers. And if they had said that I guess that would at least explain why.

I would like to take her with me at some point obviously - just not this time if that makes sense. I'll need to be thinking about/focusing on the school and it's hard to do that with a four year old in tow because they're quite focus drawing (if that's even an expression).

I did think I'd be able to make an appointment. I used to work in a school and member of SLT would always be available to take parents round.

unusednickname Wed 23-Apr-14 19:24:52

Well maybe IABU then. I really didn't think so. Hmmmmmmm.

But I don't have three or four options in fairness. I have Wednesdays at 11. Three or four times grin

phantomnamechanger Wed 23-Apr-14 19:25:04

you have to go with what's on offer, and would be wise to get used to the idea of having to fit around school-dictated times from here in. you really cannot expect them to change this when it HAS to fit round their needs during their school day

pudcat Wed 23-Apr-14 19:26:21

Can't you take your child with you. But what will you do if you don't like it as this school is the third choice on your list?

unusednickname Wed 23-Apr-14 19:27:25

Yes I do get that about fitting round things. Which is why I posted.

But also if I'd been planning this - which I used to - I'd have three or four options for people who worked shifts, nights, days, one days a week etc. I would have thought that was standard. Maybe not.

phantomnamechanger Wed 23-Apr-14 19:29:49

another thing, having worked in schools and been a parent for 14 years, the best schools are NOT those where a member of SMT is always on hand to do personal tours. That seems like working too hard to look good and put on a show IMO. One particular HT was a real arse licker. Would drop everything to suck up to a prospective new parent, utterly crap as an HT.

At DS school, the Y6s do the tours. They answer the parents questions themselves, then there is a brief talk from the HT in the hall and an any Qs session.

SpockSmashesScissors Wed 23-Apr-14 19:29:52

Take her out for the morning, one 4 year old is not going to be that much of a problem. Perhaps the school would be more helpful if there was a genuine reason you couldn't attend at 11am.

Have you not looked around the school before? Most people would have been doing the tours last year before applications.

YouTheCat Wed 23-Apr-14 19:30:11

It'll also be fitting around playtimes/assemblies etc. School days adhere to a timetable. 11am might be the only feasible time.

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Apr-14 19:30:25

I think if you've put the school on your application list you should have already looked at it.

RufusTheReindeer Wed 23-Apr-14 19:31:00

You can make an appointment for any time at our local infants

Obviously opening hours, don't think they would be happy with you rocking up at 7pm

It does seem a shame that the school can't be more accommodating

Littlefish Wed 23-Apr-14 19:31:05

"Member of SLT was always available to take parents round". Every member of our SLT is a full time teacher with their own class.

I know you've put a smiley face after your comment about not having 3 or 4 options, but you are simply being pedantic. The bottom line is that the opportunities the school has offered you don't suit you so you want them to do something specially for you. As you've worked in a school, you will know how ridiculously busy this term is. It can be disruptive for the children in classes to have visitors being shown round so I'm not surprised the school is trying to limit the number of visits.

Sirzy Wed 23-Apr-14 19:32:08

Surely taking her to look round will help you get an idea if she likes it there?

phantomnamechanger Wed 23-Apr-14 19:32:46

three or four options for people who worked shifts, nights, days, one days a week

that's NOT the norm IME!!

get used to it now, you will get a weeks notice (if you are lucky) of when they are doing the nativity or class assembly etc, and if you are lucky there will be more than one option for parents evening!

Kernowal Wed 23-Apr-14 19:36:07

Unfortunately, fitting in around potential parents is rarely a top priority for many schools, as you are rapidly finding out. Welcome to the world of inconvenient assemblies, short notice meetings, parents' evenings which are simply afternoons, and other trials and tribulations. Schools have to focus on their own needs, because they can't possibly suit everyone.

Didn't you looked around the school before you put it down as one of your choices. In reality, you may as well accept your third choice, then go on the waiting lists for your preferred options. A lot of people would love to have a "good" school offered as their third choice, so what are you planning to do if you don't like the school you've been offered? I suggest you find out how long the waiting lists are (and establish why you weren't allocated a place, as the same criteria apply to waiting list places) at your other schools before you look a gift horse in the mouth.

friedgreentomatoes88 Wed 23-Apr-14 19:39:13

I was shocked when we moved from a rural area (where the norm was to be able to make an individual appointment to look round a school prior to application) to a big city where they have specific times for tours, and only allow people to look round once they have been offered a place (how do you know you want to apply for a place if you haven't seen it, met the head and the class teacher, etc?).

Can also see though that in such huge, busy schools, it might not work practically to have parents doing tours any time at their convenience. I think YABU not to want to pick dd up early and take her with you - I took mine to several schools that we didn't end up choosing, just presented it as "we're going to visit a school to see if we think you'd like it there" rather than "this is the school you'll be going to".

3boys3dogshelp Wed 23-Apr-14 19:41:25

Sorry but I agree yabu - you wouldn't be happy if your children's lessons were being disturbed several times a day by parents. The school may not seem particularly accomodating as they might feel that you should have decided whether you liked the school before putting it down??
At the end of the day you have several options
Take your daughter (her opinion of the school is really important too and my decision was partly made based on how well the teachers interacted with my son)
Keep her off and leave with a friend
Keep her off and take her to your parents
Ask nursery staff for a favour
I know its not what you want but it seems typical to me rather than being a bad school.

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