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would you send your child to a brand new school?

(35 Posts)
NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 10:05:09

My ds is 4 just coming up to his 4th birthday and we are starting to find out about open days for schools for next year. We are in the fortunate position that the 3 existing primaries near us all have good ofsteds and reputations, however, as non church goers 2 are C of E and the other is the non religious infants to a church junior school. I don't particularly have a problem with this but I do know it puts us a long way down the list to get in for all of them. Our 4th option is the brand new school that will be opening very near our house for next September. My DP seems to be quite against sending ds here as it 'is all unknowns' according to him. Can someone help me weigh up the pros and cons of a new school compared to existing, well liked and well subscribed schools? Please? Its starting to do my head in!!

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 10:11:25

Is it a free school?

NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 10:12:21

Yup, they all are.

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 10:17:46

No, I mean a free school as opposed to a maintained school - a load of them are popping up at the moment and they ahve their own advantages and drawbacks.

NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 10:18:32

ah, um, not sure. Hang on will check.

NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 10:25:26

I believe its a trust school with a charitable foundation. It will be run by our Education Health Trust.

NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 10:26:43

I haven't found any mention of it being maintained so am guessing it isn't. Sorry I think I'm just realizing how green I am to all this!

Riveninabingle Fri 30-Sep-11 10:27:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

An0therName Fri 30-Sep-11 10:59:53

upsides of new school would be enthaustic staff, I would imagine quite small classes to start, all parents would be new which would be quite nice, and good facilites

mummytime Fri 30-Sep-11 11:08:39

Okay free schools are maintained (get money from the government). Free schools and academies are independent state schools as opposed to community schools.

I would look at the buildings, the terms of the trust, who the trustees are, and what staff have already been recruited (does it have a head teacher yet?).

Personally it wouldn't bother me at this stage, I would hav more concerns at secondary age, as almost all primaries are fine for most kids. It will probably have better designed buildings etc, and the local proximity will be great.

Schools do change as well, you only need the head to leave or another key member of staff and lots of things can change.

Actually I wonder if the choice is a bit illusionary, as in lots of areas new schools are only developed because there is a huge demand on places.

admission Fri 30-Sep-11 11:28:07

I don't believe that there will be any problem with going to a new school, other than the potential for the building etc not being complete!

I suspect that many parents will be thinking exactly the same as you, so the new school may be vastly oversubscribed. This means that you need to look very carefully at the admission criteria for this new school. If it is a community school it will be something like looked after children, siblings, catchment zone and then distance. Obviously as a new school siblings will not be an issue and it may well not have a catchment zone, so if you live very near to the school, you could be well placed. However if there are other criteria you may need to think carefully about your preferences.

Also check the CoE schools because if they are voluntary controlled schools then they are LA maintained schools and they will have the LA admission criteria. If they are voluntary aided schools then they will be their own admission authority and probably will have a faith admission criteria. You need to consider where you might fit on their admission criteria and look at where admissions were last year in terms of the admission criteria

NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 11:40:50

I think everything here is oversubscribed hence the need for a new school. Thanks for explaining it like that though. It is starting to make a little more sense now! I have about 3 weeks before the open days for the 3 existing schools so need to start making a list of things i need to find out.

IndigoBell Fri 30-Sep-11 11:53:03

The most important thing about a school is the HT.

If I went to the open day and thought the HT was inspirational I would jump at a chance to send my kids there.

Loads and loads of benefits to a brand new, purpose built, school.

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Fri 30-Sep-11 12:48:30

I would jump at the chance, personally.

A lot of effort and money will have been expended on the launch of a new school which will mean great facilities, enthusiastic staff and a completely clean sheet.

it sounds like you live in a good area with a lack of non-faith related school places, which is why this new school has been built. So the intake will be similar to the good local schools without the need for the parents to play the Finding God game.

I was in the first intake of a brand new nursery school myself when i was 5 and it was utterly brilliant. Fantastic state-of-the-art facilities, wonderful teachers and effective modern teaching methods. That school gave me a brilliant introduction to education which stood me in good stead to overcome the disadvantages of a fairly crap secondary. This was all a LOT of years ago though! grin

Go see the school, talk to the head and the staff about their vision for the school. If you like what you see and hear, grab it with both hands.

camdancer Fri 30-Sep-11 13:27:07

A friend of mine's child has just started at a new free school. Here are my thoughts.

Pros: The school is a new free school, so the government will pump money into it so it won't be allowed to fail. The building will be purpose built and lovely. All shiney new resources. Enthusiastic head teacher and staff.

Cons: The school is starting with reception class only. This means they will be the oldest in the school for their whole primary school. I think having older children to look up to is a good thing. Seeing the older children's work is a good motivator etc. And it also means most children in that class will be the oldest in their family, so who are they going to learn things like playground games, jokes etc from? Maybe that doesn't sound critical but for me the social aspects of school are very important.

I think if the school had taken older children also, even if just a mixed year 1/2 class I'd be much more positive about it.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 30-Sep-11 13:40:04

OP, wrt admission to the church schools, do actually check what the policies are.

Church attendance now has no bearing at all on whether or not you'd get a plcae at DS's CofE school, nor at many of the other CofE primaries within 5 miles of us.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Sep-11 15:02:22

If the new school is in a newly built (PFI) building RUN AWAY
if it is in a converted building the above comments all make sense

AbigailS Fri 30-Sep-11 16:23:53

Brand new building
New books, desks, chairs, etc
State of the art facilities
Possibly an amazing head who relishes the challenge of shaping a school from the very beginning and can select their own staff not just inherit existing staff.
Possible negatives:
School not finished and teething problems with infrastructure
Staff a new untested team who might not have gelled
I know of a couple of new schools where the parents of challenging pupils, who were somewhat in denial and not happy that previous schools were sanctioning / putting on SEN register / seeking outside (PRU) support sent their children there and there behaviour was appalling. As they gathered children from various primary schools that they were disgruntled with they became a bit of a sink-hole for a couple of years, to the point that one Year 2 child on the SEN register became one of the "top set" on his arrival. Their results were very low for several years, despite a dynamic head and young enthusiastic teachers.
And in my opinion the most risky thing is I can't visit the school to see it in action and get a feel of whether it is a good fit for my child. It's also harder to prepare a child for a school that they can't visit as it's still being built.

AbigailS Fri 30-Sep-11 16:25:18

New schools will not have any policies for you to look at, because the staff haven't agreed or written them yet.

NinjaChipmunk Fri 30-Sep-11 18:04:34

Lots to think about here, thanks very much.

Ladymuck Sat 01-Oct-11 11:26:59

The single most important thing is to find out who the head teacher is, and where they have come from. The leadership is the single most important aspect of any school. I would be no more nervous of a brand new school than I would of one where the head was leaving/retiring.

Greensleeves Sat 01-Oct-11 11:29:05

"to the point that one Year 2 child on the SEN register became one of the "top set" on his arrival"

that is a pig ignorant remark

my ds1 is on the SEN register and is highly intelligent academically


ChippingIn Sat 01-Oct-11 11:33:41

Friends of mine sent their children to a new school - we'd all been looking forward to it opening etc. It was lovely - all shiney new things, all enthusiastic staff, no old jaded attitudes etc smile

The downside was that they spent lots & lots of time fundraising for things [many of which their children wouldn't benefit from (and obviously they weren't benefitting from fund raising done by previous parents)] and the school was lacking in so many resources (computers/sports equipment) etc that in the end they moved them to another school. It was a shame, but they felt they were just missing out on too much.

esselle Sat 01-Oct-11 11:49:28

My DD started at a school which was a year old and I think it is fantastic. The buildings are all new and being purpose built are completely appropriate. Equipment, books, playground, facilities are all new and not yet worn out or trashed.

All computer equipment is new and up to date. Every class room has interactive whiteboards.

Granted the gardens/grounds are not very well established but they are more than adequate and slowly getting there.

I figure that we won't be in the situation in the couple of years to be fundraising for a new gym or something similar as it is already there.

AbigailS Sat 01-Oct-11 12:58:58

Sorry if I offended Greensleeves. I was not saying that SEN children are not intelligent. But the child in question was on the SEN register for lack of progress in literacy and numeracy and was functioning at P scales level with a teaching assistant allocated to work all morning supporting him and another child. Many of the children on the register at our school do not have a lebel of ASD, Dyspraxia, Specific Learning Difficulties, medical needs, etc. But are added to support slow progress with the aim that the support closes the gap between them and their peers who are working at aged expectation levels.
That is why I said it was an indication of the new school if he was "top set".
And before you ask, I am an experienced and successful SENCo.

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