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A Tripadvisor-style website to help parents choose schools

(13 Posts)
JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 02-Sep-11 15:06:41

What do you make of this?

At the moment it's a Bath thing, but I guess they'd hope to expand.

I'm really uncomfortable about it tbh, but I can't quite put a finger on it (other than I'm a bit hmm about some of what the site owner has already said about Bath schools and I don't think they know what they're talking about).

Some of the comments on the Chronicle/This is Bath article are quite funny though grin

oldsilver Fri 02-Sep-11 17:18:30

It wouldn't work in Bristol, it seems pot luck if you get a school that you want let alone one that isn't at least two bus rides and a 20 minute walk (passing at least 3 schools as you go) away. I suppose for me it's the idea that you can actually make a choice - unless you live or move within spitting distance of your choice to be, all this is a pointless exercise. Unless that is the plan?

AMumInScotland Fri 02-Sep-11 17:23:03

I think its good to have the information easily to hand, but I would worry that parents might treat this as what's important instead of as some background information when they go to see the school and think about it for their own child. Statistics don't tell you the whole story.

Plus as oldsilver says, do you really get to choose? From what I've seen on MN threads, expressing your preference doesn't make that much impact on what you get in a lot of areas.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 02-Sep-11 17:42:37

Yes, having the info in one place is useful (although no substitute for actually visiting the schools).

Basically in Bath you get the school nearest to you as a rule, although if there are a lot of siblings in that year (at least some primaries have dropped that though) and other people living even closer, then you won't be so lucky.

The other thing that's happened is that people have put down very over-subscribed schools they live too far away from for all their choices, and been offered schools miles away because their nearest school, which they ought to have listed as an insurance, is full (in which case more fool them tbh).

I think I worry too that people with little experience of the schools here will rely on spurious reviews from people with an axe to grind. I suppose like Tripadvisor though you take everything with a pinch of salt.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 02-Sep-11 18:12:50

And thinking on some more, it's no different really to posting on MN about schools in a specific area, is it?

I think I got my knickers in a twist because I objected to a few things they've said themselves about schools in Bath. I'm not a teacher btw grin

MrsFlittersnoop Fri 02-Sep-11 21:24:27

Well, the comments by the website owner were revealing! I really don't understand why, if he is intelligent enough to create a website, he couldn't just do what the rest of us do and Google "BBC league tables". All the info is there, shurely?

The comments made about Culverhay School's amazing Value Added score are particularly pertinent, but you will never get many "sharp-elbowed" Bath parents to agree, never mind send their little darlings there. I am so glad Culverhay will now be kept open as a co-ed, and really hope it will be a Free School serving the whole community and offering wrap-around care, not just another blardy same-old crap-results Academy with a brand-new unaffordable poncetastic uniform.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sat 03-Sep-11 11:47:07

Did you see their article about church schools? It would've been good - if it was actually true. They didn't respond to comments pointing out the inaccuracies confused

LIZS Sat 03-Sep-11 11:57:14

schools.net has some of the info and feedback

CustardCake Sat 03-Sep-11 12:42:03

In our area it wouldn't be terribly useful as there is no choice of school.
If you are lucky, you live near to a school and get allocated a place at it.
If you are unlucky, you live near a school - but not quite near enough - and get allocated a place 5 miles away.
There is no room for reading reviews and spending time weighing up the relative merits of good pastoral care over GCSE results!

In areas where oversubscribed schools aren't the norm though and people have a genuine preference to express I guess it would be quite interesting to get frank reviews from parents already at the school.

jgbmum Sat 03-Sep-11 16:05:45

I think it's an interesting idea. Especially if it could help parents with students at the school to discuss issues that arise (difficult once they start secondary school).
EG my son goes to a local well-regarded comp, but parts of the school uniform cost are ridiculous (£12.50 for a logo'd white shirt which is compulsory and you need to have 3/4/5 depending on your adolescent grin).
I would love to know how other parents at the school feel about the cost, but even with DSs extended friendship group, I would be hard pressed to identify more than 10 families at the school I could comfortably ask, out of perhaps 600 or 700 families.

An anonymous online forum about the school would give an outlet to raise these questions. So I can see how it would be helpful.

Happymum22 Thu 08-Sep-11 00:25:14

Would work very well for private schools and areas where there are sufficient school places to allow parents to choose a school. Where I live state schools its luck if you get the school you want unless it's your nearest. However, there are also a huge number of private schools, all very similar in many ways but also for very different types of children so a website like this would help a lot.
Same with the state primaries there are certainly a good mix- the relaxed school, the traditional, the innovative, the one in the bad area but with fantastic results etc.. which makes choosing very hard as they are all good in different ways.

2rebecca Sun 11-Sep-11 00:04:27

Wouldn't work in amny areas of Scotland where there is minimal choice for state secondary schools outside the big central belt cities. Catchment areas rule round here.

Iamseeingstars Sun 11-Sep-11 23:33:30

I disagree with it. All children are different and will get something differnt out of the school. What one parent may consider a bad school, another parent will have nothing but praise.

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