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How on earth do you chose a secondary school because I am down to nicest uniform?!

(18 Posts)
MNBlackpoolandFylde Sat 04-May-13 03:58:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frazmum Sat 04-May-13 04:36:49

School 1: do you know if they've any plans to upgrade facilities? Did you get a good 'feel' from the staff. A bright shiny school isn't everything. Could DD cope academically?
School 2: I would be concerned about the commute, depends on DD, however I know kids who've managed this fine. Could be worth a gamble.
School 3: If selection purely based on distance, check previous years to see whether their zone is shrinking or if this year was unusual. Could a SEN statement move you to top of list?
School 4: Can you find out more from parents with DCs already there?

Visit them all again when they do their events in September. A primary Head gave me good advice when we were struggling like you. Provided the school is safe (there was one near us that wasn't hence that caveat) go where your child will be happiest and they'll do well.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Sat 04-May-13 04:50:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 04-May-13 06:20:47

You have to go with your gut feeling to some extent. You say your dd has sen but don't elaborate on what this means for dd so is hard to say.

Have you asked the schools specifically how hey would support her?

The free school sounds nice because you said 'fantastic ethos' which can contribute a lot to happiness/behaviour in school and is not to be sniffed at.

School 4 doesn't sound good as nothing to put it ahead of your other options.

Basically you are def able to get a place at 2 if they have space, and is 1 your catchment school?

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 04-May-13 06:21:40

How full is school 1, does everyone in catchment get in?

mummytime Sat 04-May-13 07:41:00

Have you spoken to the SENCos? Do they really know their job? You could cheekily ask to see an anonymised IEP, or at least ask about how they write them and their process for reviewing them. Ask about the special measures they will take. Do they call in outside experts? How do they let teachers know of SEN?

A fabulous SENCO can make all the difference. If its an out of area school and you don't have a statement, then start to gather evidence to appeal for a place (just in case).

MNBlackpoolandFylde Sat 04-May-13 07:48:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Sat 04-May-13 07:56:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytime Sat 04-May-13 08:03:29

Have you only visited on Open Days? I would want to visit on a normal working day. I would also want an unrushed meeting with the SENCO.
Also do trust you gut instinct.
In your situation I would be looking carefully at 2 and 3, and trying to problem solve to get my child there.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Sat 04-May-13 10:33:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytime Sat 04-May-13 11:24:13

School 1 doesn't sound that great, but could be your 3rd or 4th choice if you get 6. With equal preference they have to offer you a place regardless of where you put them on the list.
Are you going to take your DD to open days in September? Seeing how teachers interact to prospective pupils can help judge too.

lljkk Sat 04-May-13 13:00:55

I would let my DC choose; seriously, I did this with DD because I couldn't make up my mind. She probably has chosen the right school for her, too, the more I think about it.

45 minutes is not too far to walk. If my DC couldn't choose, on basis of what you've written, my preferences would be in this order:

Free school
school 3
school 4
school 1

Elibean Sat 04-May-13 13:38:54

I would say exactly the same as lljk smile

Elibean Sat 04-May-13 13:39:08

oops - lljkk

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 04-May-13 14:09:09

I think you like the free school quite a lot smile?

And school 1 sounds a bit rubbish tbh!

Sunnymeg Sun 05-May-13 11:44:37

I would look online to see if the school has a published code of SEN practice. I would also telephone and make appointments to see SENCO' s from all the schools. I was looking this time last year and ruled out two schools purely because the SENCO appeared to know very little about my DS condition.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 16:04:25

Having had a child with SEN at primary, I can't speak from a perspective of experience at secondary but I can give an opinion based on what I would have done, had her problems not lessened. I would have gone with school 2 with a few caveats:

1. Go back in September and make sure that the same SENCO is still there and see if you can gain an idea as to whetehr they'll stay for a while. As you probably know, a good or bad SENCO can make a world of difference.

2. You mention your fears about whether the school will be around for the long haul - so be aware that you may have to change your plans after a period of time, if it all goes badly for the school. Let's hope that with the sort of ethos it displayed to you, it'll thrive and gain more confidence from the community.

Good luck and go with your gut feelings, they're not often wrong wink

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 05-May-13 20:19:21

I realise this isn't at all scientific, but once I had a shortlist of schools that we liked, I assessed the 'product'; I tried to speak to young people from a range of year groups. Not just the confident 'flagship' ones who do the guided tours on open day, but others too.

I looked for a sense of loyalty/pride in the school and enthusiasm about learning. I asked questions like "If you were older and had children, would you send them here, and why?" and "If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be?"

When we looked around with DS2, I was looking at the learning support departments, as he has SEN. Two schools that seemed very similar in other respects were of wildly different standards when it came to the SEN provision.

If you are lucky enough to have more than one school that you're happy with and your DD meets the admission criteria, I would see which one she likes.

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