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To ask what questions to ask when looking at schools?

(15 Posts)
Bellabooboo Thu 11-May-17 20:05:40

When looking at a school?

DH and I are starting to think about schools for our DDs. We are looking mostly at the independent sector as that enables us to have a choice whereas from what I understand from the state sector you can state your preferences but apart from that its a like it or lump it situation?

We are willing to consider both so please don't flame me for looking at private schools.

What sort of questions do we need to ask when we are looking?

Pupil wellbeing and safety is very important as I am sure it is for every parent and for me in particular confidence developing is very important whereas the opportunity to do lots of various sports is important to DH.

I went to a state school and had my confidence knocked out of me (continually told i was naughty and not picked for parts in plays etc) and subsequently very shy at senior school.

MollyHuaCha Thu 11-May-17 20:15:51

IMO the most important thing to look at is the pupils. In a few years time your child will turn into one of them. Are they happy, miserable, confident, stressed, polite, arrogant, enthusiastic, bored, creative, etc. - what you see is what you will get.

BlondeB83 Thu 11-May-17 20:21:50

I agree with Molly, look at the children. The Ofsted report is all well and good if it's recent but beware anything that's a few years old. Also ask about staff turnover.

Bellabooboo Thu 11-May-17 20:39:30

That is a good point. I didn't meet any of them face to face at the recent open day and was shown around by staff but at another school I found myself shown around by pupils who were wonderful.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Thu 11-May-17 20:42:06

Staff turn over.
If it's an academy - ask if the teachers are qualified.

PeaFaceMcgee Thu 11-May-17 20:48:55

Staff turnover, clubs and extra-curricular, bullying policy, school ethos - e.g kindness and caring or "be the best" etc.

nocake Thu 11-May-17 20:49:46

When we were looking round the school DD is at we were shown round by two of the pupils. No supervising, no script just pairs of kids asked to show prospective parents round. That the head teacher was confident enough in his students to put prospective parents in their hands spoke volumes. The kids were polite, chatty, informative and enthusiastic. We thought that if this school helps DD become like that then it's a good place for her to be.

Sleepdeprivedredhead Thu 11-May-17 20:53:51

Ask the pupils what's their favourite lunch. If they like the headteacher. Do they get much work on display. Children do not have well prepared answers to anything other than "do you like it here" or "what's your favourite subject". Anything unexpected will get a fairly honest answer that gets the ball rolling to a picture of the day to day feel of the school.

WhereTheFuckIsWonderWoman Thu 11-May-17 20:58:09

If you speak to children I'd find out what sort of things they get certificates for, whether it's just academic or whether children are celebrated for their efforts and achievements in other areas such as attitude, compassion etc.

I'd also want to find out about school trips to enhance learning and how they balance the curriculum to support those who aren't going to excel in the core subjects. Music, sport and art should be equally addressed. Sport seems to get a much heavier weighting in my experience.

amicissimma Thu 11-May-17 21:00:57

As an older pupil what would happen if someone said 'the F word' in class. (Bemusement or a shocked silence or similar is the best answer.)

amicissimma Thu 11-May-17 21:01:30

Oops, ask not as.

happypoobum Thu 11-May-17 21:05:39

I absolutely wouldn't ask about policies around bullying etc. Some of the most horrible schools I know have excellent policies, but sadly they are not adhered to.

Ask for examples of how they have dealt with a bullying situation, examples of how they have improved the confidence of a child, that kind of thing.

Obviously it will all be anonymised but how they react to those kinds of questions should tell you all you need to know. If you get shocked looking faces and a stutter then swerve it.

If someone asked me those questions the answers would trip off my tongue.

Bellabooboo Thu 11-May-17 23:50:32

Happyboobum - will they be used to competency type questions and won't think I'm crazy?

PickAChew Thu 11-May-17 23:53:52

What tools do you use with non-verbal pupils?
What is your policy wrt incontinent pupils?
how do you deal with violent meltdowns?

Well, you did ask grin

Thegirlinthefireplace Thu 11-May-17 23:58:07

Ask how they deal with bulliying. If they say don't worry we don't have bullying here, run for the hills!

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