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Things I wish I had know when choosing schools - sharing some knowledge that those mums in the know will never tell you.

(96 Posts)
NaturalBlondeYeahRight Thu 09-May-13 19:41:15

Firstly, relax. Even the dodgiest school in the area is probably not that dodgy. No child will suffer in reception/yr1/yr2 if they have parents that care.

OFSTED doesn't count for shit (fact) Make your own mind up.

Sending your child to the attached nursery means nowt in the school process.

Don't just follow your friends blindly, no one type of school suits all.

Private is not the be all and end all. Nor is it a great 'back up' plan.

Going to church for a year will a three year old doesn't fool any vicar (lighthearted)


LaQueen Tue 21-May-13 21:24:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummy1973 Tue 21-May-13 20:40:57

As well as finding a school you think your child would be happy at you should also think about the things that are important to you. e.g. amount of homework lots or not, uniform strict or not, active PTA if that's your thing. Otherwise you might spend time trying to change things that are ingrained.

tapdancingmum Tue 21-May-13 17:57:12

LaQueen It could have been the EPPE report which does make some correlation between a mother's education and the attendance of an effective high quality pre-school and primary school to increase the attainment scores by the end of Y5.

The full report can be found here :

I am no longer in primary school but do agree with all that is written here.

Pennybubbly Tue 21-May-13 06:49:42

mamaduckboneThu 09-May-13 19:54:53
That parenting is the single factor that makes the most difference to a child's academic success.
That being able to walk to school and play out with local friends counts for a lot.

Thank you for posting that. It really struck a chord with me.

Pleasecansomeonereply Mon 20-May-13 15:43:55

this is a really interesting thread.. my dc's attend a school 2 miles away. a lovely school granted but only accessible by car realistically due to location/where I work.

DD (10) is in a shitty class - in years she has never received an invitation to a party (seems shallow but I think says a lot about how she is accepted) she has made a lovely friend in a different class now.

DS is (7) and seems to enjoy the school although he is unsettled at a lot of the jostling etc that seems to go on.

I hope to move them in September to a school 1/2 mile away -within walking distance. that way they can make friends in their own neighbourhood and have normal childhoods instead of hanging round their mum and dad because they don't have any friends!

Academically they will probably be ok wherever they go... Altho my DD compains that the class shits are the ones getting pupil of the week etc - I explained that these kids need encouragement to behave well and that she should have more compassion.

Sometimes I do feel angry for her tho unreasonable I know

Madsometimes Sun 19-May-13 21:52:11

Another one who says go for your local school where possible. The school a drive away may seem better in terms of sats and ofsted, but don't dismiss your local school.

Even at secondary level, you may be getting frantic texts from your dc about forgotten PE kits or other items. It's great to be able to drop these off to a school nearby.

I know it's obvious, but be realistic about schools on your CAF. Most LA's provide information about distances that children have lived from particular schools in previous years. In inner cities it is going to come down to metres of even cm for popular schools. You may overlook the back of the playground, but if distance is measured by quickest walking route to the school's front door, don't assume your child will get in.

I know of many children in my area who have been put forward for grammar schools, been tutored for two years, passed the test but not gained a place because they live too far away. So don't raise your child's expectations for a particular school that they have little chance of getting into. Also, don't assume comprehensive schools are bad because they have a much lower GCSE A-C rate than selective schools. Selective schools don't allow 80% of children past their door step (or 98% for super selectives).

ommmward Sun 19-May-13 15:13:18

If you don't think your child is ready for school, or that they are a round peg and school is going to be a square hole, just opt out of the whole thing and home ed them instead.

<smug home educating bastard>

LaQueen Sun 19-May-13 12:37:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HKTekGuy Sun 19-May-13 10:33:10

Apologies Balloon. My comment was more to do with the general conclusion that loads of books in the house equals good parenting.

BalloonSlayer Sun 19-May-13 10:24:26

I think you missed the point, HKTekGuy - I think we were preening at finding out that a hobby of ours that we would have done anyway turned out to look like good parenting. A bit like how you'd have felt if, say, you had been a rabid Mozart fan - never listened to anything else, bored everyone to death - when the "studies" came out however many years ago saying that listening to Mozart raised children's IQs: Not why you did it but happy to take the Good Parenting credit anyway.

(See also: red wine makes you healthier)

HKTekGuy Sun 19-May-13 10:06:53

I'm also confused at all the preening parents. You choose to buy and hoard your books while others choose to either support their local libraries and charity book stores. Now that we have two Kindles in the house the only new books in the house are Christmas/birthday presents

greenfolder Sun 19-May-13 08:24:01

and i totally agree about local school- dd 18 is leaving next week with some friends she has had since reception and most since she was 9. that has made a difference to her (dd2 is somewhat different)

greenfolder Sun 19-May-13 08:22:13

my only advice is this,as a parent of an 18 yr old, a 15 year old and a little one

How much your child enjoys and gets out of school depends on 2 things

How much your child likes and feels seen by their teacher

How much their teacher likes your child.

This will change on a yearly basis

MeiMeiMeiMei Sat 18-May-13 18:52:51

So you keep your books instead of charity shopping them. Don't understand the preening hmm

FiveHoursSleep Sat 18-May-13 18:38:26

Choose a school without a class bear.

FiveHoursSleep Sat 18-May-13 18:38:08

LaQueen, our parents would like more homework too but our HT is formidable and says NO.
Up until last year we used to get spellings to bring home, but now they do them in class. All we get is reading.
Oh, and the class bear hmm
I hate the class bear....

LaQueen Sat 18-May-13 17:49:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BalloonSlayer Sat 18-May-13 17:41:05

There was an article in the paper very recently which said that (according to a study) the average number of books a child in the UK has is 30. 10% have more than 100. 1% have none. sad

I thought 30 was OK-ish, until I did a count and realised that where children's books are concerned, 30 books take up a space of about 14" on a bookcase. shock

My DCs each have way, way, in excess of 100. And yes, I admit it, I preened. I preened for England.

simpson Sat 18-May-13 17:24:13

LaQ - I went to a literacy session at DC school and the HT said the best way to get a reluctant boy to read was to see their dad reading.

Sticklebug Sat 18-May-13 13:57:43

Don't underestimate the value of being able to walk to school. It is not just the extra time in bed, it is the independance of walking alone when they are ready, learning road sense, having local friends and arriving at school with a brain that is awake and ready to learn.

LaQueen Sat 18-May-13 13:47:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FiveHoursSleep Sat 18-May-13 13:44:11

Look at a school's homework policy. Our first school does very little homework and I love this.
It also does very little in the way of dressing up , another thing I am grateful for.
I hung around the school gates and asked the mums what they thought of the school.

LaQueen Sat 18-May-13 13:17:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alreadytaken Sat 18-May-13 09:13:55

schools are more about selecting an elite than about learning, your child's real education will take place at least as much outside school as inside it. They will forget almost everything they "learnt" at primary school apart from how to read, write and perhaps play a musical instrument.

"Good" schools are often those whose head is good not just at paperwork but at publicity and at fiddling their results to make them look better than they are. As a result they attract bright, motivated children - but that doesn't mean the teaching is any better. There are bad teachers who appear to get good results.

The best view of the school comes from those whose children have left, they can be more honest

DO listen to those who knock the school, even if they don't have children there. It will tell you want you need to check on when you visit. Check with the children, not the teachers or parents (unless their children have now left). Many parents refuse to see any faults in their child's school.

Children who go to "poor" schools sometimes develop excellent self-teaching skills and that helps them at university. Those who go to a "good" school but are less academically able may become demoralised and do less well as a result.

yorkshirepuddings Sat 18-May-13 08:15:30

Go to your local school unless there is a compelling reason not to.

At some point you will feel that the school has let your child down.

Small schools do mean limited friendship groups, but at least children learn to get on with everyone. There are 8 children in my son's year and they are a really tight little group. Given a wider choice I'm sure they wouldn't all choose to be friends. They also tend to be given a lot of responsibility and are very good at helping younger children.

I think LaQueen is correct - studies have shown a link between the education of the mother and achievement of children. Even if the father is present and plays a big part, the education of the mother is more important. (Obviously only statistics. Difference will probably be minimal and there will be plenty of exceptions.)

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