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AIBU to want to send dd to an outstanding primary?

(51 Posts)
DxbtoLHR Sun 30-Nov-14 10:49:20

Usually a lurker, first time posting in AIBU so be gentle with me!

DH has got a job in a new city, we've had a look around at some houses with our main criteria being close to an "outstanding" primary as next year DD will start reception.

The problem is that for our budget, we are getting places that are either tiny or are not in a great condition. Dh is suggesting looking at other areas, with better houses and the local primary being ofsted rated good.

Also because the deadline for applying for a primary school place is Jan 15th, I would prefer to finalize something in the next few weeks. However, estate agent have told us that this is a quiet season for them and things usually pick up after mid January. So DH wants to get a house after that time so that we would have more options and get something better. Lastly, dh plans on being in this job for about two years, so according to him, its not essential for DD to attend an outstanding primary and it wont make a big difference so early on in her education.

Am I placing too much importance on an outstanding school? What is the difference really between an outstanding school and a good one? AIBU to want DD to go to an outstanding school if it's "just" for infants?

Didn't realise it would be so long! Thanks for reading!

TheEnchantedForest Sun 30-Nov-14 10:52:47

Nothing wrong with wanting an outstanding school for your child.
I wouldn't use ofsted to judge outstanding for me though.
Your view and theirs may be very different!

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 30-Nov-14 10:53:51

Personally I'd go for the better house and the good school.

outstanding doesn't necessarily mean it would he the best fit for your dd anyway.

LIZS Sun 30-Nov-14 10:55:06

Today's outstanding may be tomorrow's needs improvement . So much can change between reports, including the way Ofsted categorise them. .

eeyoreeeyoreoh Sun 30-Nov-14 10:55:45

No way would an ofsted report sway my opinion on where I wanted to live.

DDs school was good with outstanding features when we chose it, then was apparently requires improvement and now is outstanding.

I can't say I've noticed anything much changing though, good or bad confused

Skinnydecafflatte Sun 30-Nov-14 10:56:34

Nothing wrong with wanting an outstanding, just remember how quickly it can change. My sons school two years ago had an awful ofsted and had a lot of requirements not met. A few weeks ago it had another and was rated good with outstanding elements and I can't fault it.

A school nearby was outstanding a few years ago and the last ofsted I think it just scraped a good.

RandomMess Sun 30-Nov-14 10:57:40

You absolutely need to visit the schools and see what you think of them.

Ofsted rating isn't really worth that much IMHE.

The ones that get outstanding can just have their entire focus on getting the correct boxes ticked rather than the wellbeing of the dc in their care in terms of both education and emotional support.

TheDogsMissingBollock Sun 30-Nov-14 11:00:20

In my direct experience the difference is huge. Not going solely on ofsted obviously. Dd2 is now at one of the very best in the country and it is so much better than dd1's good school- calibre of head and teaching team, its close focus on every kid's performance, standards, discipline, ethos, results, ambition..

MillionToOneChances Sun 30-Nov-14 11:00:24

Good will be fine for both primary and secondary. I would be more concerned about making sure your closest secondary school is at least good, as though you might intend to move it might not happen.

I wouldn't worry too much about finding a house to buy before you apply, just make sure you know what area you're aiming for and rent in that catchment.

Pooka Sun 30-Nov-14 11:03:46

Yes, I think you are being unreasonable if you are discounting "good" schools because you're set on an "outstanding" school if you are basing these definitions on ofsted classifications.

There are outstanding schools round here (outstanding according to ofsted) that were last inspected ages ago, rely heavily on tutored children to achieve their results, and which offer much less as far as I can see than the local "good" or recently inspected "requires improvement" schools.

One example has a 30 intake. 27 of the year 6 kids were being privately tutored outside of school and it has a tiny catchment with kids coming from an area where a flat will set you back c. 700k.

A friend has dcs at another school. Her children are doing brilliantly and enjoying school. It was a good under the old ofsted, recently downgraded to RI, but in terms of her children's day to day experience, seems little different, if not rather better than it was in terms of communication with parents and other improvements in the last 2 years.

My dcs ar at a school which was satisfactory (old ofsted). Then good, just before last head left. Patently not "good" though, and new head has completely turned place around, it has a positive vibe, excellent communication and generally the children seem happy and the staff proactive and engaged. Recently got RI under new ofsted. It takes time for change to come out in improved results at end of key stages, as new interventions and practices filter through the school. The last ofsted was just before the SATS results came out showing massive increase in attainment.

Sorry so long - but the gist of it is that there's much more to a school than ofsted classification.

Bogeyface Sun 30-Nov-14 11:04:34

I think YABU.

Your best bet is to visit schools in the areas you are looking at and see which is the best fit for your child. Some schools with consistent Outstanding ratings may be more focussed on results than the children for example.

OFSTED ratings are just one tiny piece of the picture, and as has been pointed out, can change very rapidly. Best to find a place where your child feels happy and at home rather than focussing purely on whether all the official boxes has been ticked.

WD41 Sun 30-Nov-14 11:06:32

The only outstanding primary in our city is in a dodgy area, so I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

We have moved to a nice area where the schools are classed as good and happy with that.

TheDogsMissingBollock Sun 30-Nov-14 11:07:30

As others have said, visit the sctual svhools. "Good" in our local context means one with such poor results and bullying that many parents vote with their feet- move/go out of catchment or go private.

Inertia Sun 30-Nov-14 11:10:20

Don't use Ofsted ratings. Use your own judgement.

NancyJones Sun 30-Nov-14 11:10:58

As a teacher and a parent I can categorically say to you that an 'outstanding' primary is not necessarily any better than one rated 'good'. In fact, I have taught in outstanding primaries that no way would I ever want my children educated in. Yet some (old style satisfactory) graded schools really are superb. Although they are now graded requires improvement.

The difference between outstanding and good could be some missing paperwork. Or one team may have graded outstanding and another good on the same day. It is so subjective.

Pico2 Sun 30-Nov-14 11:12:59

You'd be much better off visiting the schools rather than relying on Ofsted, particularly the difference between outstanding & good. Also read the ofsted reports to understand what they thought the good schools were missing. In some cases the difference might be an issue in higher years and you don't expect your DD to actually still be at the school for those years.

You also need to consider how likely you will be to get a place if you apply late - you could end up with your DD being shipped across the city to an unsatisfactory school if all of the local places are gone when you finally move.

We moved into the catchment if an outstanding school about 4 years ago. It was downgraded to requires improvement about 6 months later and has stayed there since. DD will be going there next year. We have looked around, spoken to the head and spoken to current oarents. I am confident that it will be a good place for DD.

Other friends have moved into the catchments of outstanding schools elsewhere only to find the same.

Blessedandgrateful Sun 30-Nov-14 11:13:34

Outstanding in Ofsted terms means jack all. Really .

Blessedandgrateful Sun 30-Nov-14 11:14:28

Totally agree with Nancy.

HollyJollyXmas Sun 30-Nov-14 11:16:24

Agree that you need to go and see the schools and work out which one fits best with your child. Ofsted can be pretty misleading, to be honest.

Our local 'outstanding' school is a strict, religious school with a very rich set of parents. Results are excellent. I hated it when I visited!

DCs school is 'good'. Results arent as amazing because lots of children come to the school without English as a first language. But the atmosphere as soon as you walk in is wonderful. Its a happy place. Thats so, so important at primary level, imo.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Sun 30-Nov-14 11:16:30

Like others, I really wouldn't put so much of your trust in the Ofsted system.

Visit a school (whatever the Ofsted may be), talk to staff & parents and make an informed decision on whether you think your DD would fit in well there.

DS2 went to a "Satisfactory" primary in Reception. By the end of Year 1 it was rated "Outstanding". Ofsted is way too fickle and imperfect a system to take much notice of TBH.

TheDogsMissingBollock Sun 30-Nov-14 11:18:57

Strict schools with "rich" parents can also be happy places!

WorraLiberty Sun 30-Nov-14 11:19:37

OFSTED move the goal posts so often that even if the school was outstanding today, it could well be satisfactory after the next inspection.

I agree with your DH here.

Dinosaursdontgrowontrees Sun 30-Nov-14 11:20:36

Totally agre with others who say 'outstanding' means nothing. How would you feel is you sacrificed your home for a school which then got ofstead and became 'good' or 'requires improvement' In my experience 'good' schools are much nicer than outstanding schools anyway! Have you looked at any of these schools?

FollowTheStarship Sun 30-Nov-14 11:22:26

Yes "outstanding" could mean good at playing the system and concealing failures. It could mean a lots of hothoused kids and an emphasis on academic performance that really won't suit some children at all. It can also mean your school will get horribly oversubscribed and have huge class sizes.

The most important thing in a school for me is the feeling that they care about everyone at all levels, communicate well with parents and there's a happy and respectful atmosphere. (Including respectful towards the kids.)

PunkrockerGirl Sun 30-Nov-14 11:25:28

Definitely use your own judgement rather than Ofsted' s. My ds' s primary school went from outstanding when ds2 started there to special measures the year he left. It was a lovely school and both dc did really well there.

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