Sorry, another which school one.(25 Posts)
My dd is in Year 5 and we'll have to choose her secondary school this autumn. Choices are:
School A - Our catchment school is rated "requires improvement" by OFSTED in every category. Last year it's GCSE results were 43% got 5 A to Cs, an improvement on the 34% achieved the previous year. It's been a disaster for years. Attainment of kids joining the school is low but progress of kids is also significantly below national average. I know of teachers who work there who say they would not send their kids there. New head teacher over the last two years who has made improvements, but I hear through the grapevine it is not a happy school.
School B - School is also close and dd would probably get in. Last year it was inspected by OFSTED and was graded "requires improvement" in every category. It was re-inspected this month and is still RI in everything except behaviour. Exam results are much better, but they have more kids coming in at a higher level. OFSTED says it's mainly about not high enough expectations, variable quality of teaching, poor leadership and governance. Sounds uninspired.
School C - Brand new, super dooper school also quite close, opening in Sept 2015. Should be great (amazing facilities etc), except the person who has been appointed to run it is the person who ran School A for many years, culminating in school A being one of the worst performing 200 schools in the country in 2012. New school is part of the academy chain that also runs school A.
School D - School in a village, 30 mins away on a bus. Supposedly a good school but all the peer group will live in the villages. Literally no-one will come from our town. Her social life will be completely cut off from her peers. They will all be popping round to see each other after school and in evenings / weekends. She won't because she lives 30 mins bus ride away.
School E - Exceptionally pushy private school that regularly features as one of the best in the country. Except it's private school and costs £15,000pa and we have 3 dcs and when they are all there it will cost us the equivalent of 90% of household income, which is insane. And I just can't get my head round the fact that it's outrageous that the 3 state schools that we have any chance of getting into are all not fit for purpose and I am am even having to consider private as an option. I want my dcs to be part of the local community not tucked away in some elitist fortress.
My dd is achieving significantly above age related expectations in her academic work (Level 5bs in Year 5) but she's not particularly socially confident. I haven't got a clue what to do for the best. We're seem to be making decisions based on which is the "least bad option", which frankly, is crap. Any views would be appreciated.
Yes school D if she can get in. My DGD goes to an independent school (went at 11) and is now 14. All her friends live at least 30 mins away (she lives on the wrong side of the tracks!) but they get ferried about by parents, and teenagers today spend a lot of time talking to their friends on their phones and Facebook etc. these days. I'm not so sure the other kids will be popping around to each other's houses. I went to a grammar where my friends were all bus rides away, but of course in those days we travelled on buses from a young age.
D, or possibly E if there is any possibility of a scholarship or bursary, and if your other children might also be likely to get one? Don't commit to 3 lots of school fees unless you are confident in your ability to pay without making unacceptable sacrifices [speaking from experience....].
School D, unless you can get a bursary to school E.
We've got similar choices going on where we live and I would say definitely d. I know loads of people who did the equivalent and were v happy.
School D. Perhaps you could both take second jobs? We found with a lot of hard work we could fund 5 sets of school fees, not easy but possible for some with two full time wages and a lot of work on career direction and extra jobs too.
I'd move....Could you move near to school D?
My three go to a private school and they put the fees up every year, plus everything else is really expensive - uniform, trips. Don't do it unless you can easily afford it.
Definitely D, but go and see A and B and look at their GCSE results this summer carefully. Would have a look at C but probably discount it as it is the head that drives the school forward. Don't listen to the grapevine but go round and make up your own mind, sometimes a head does have to make difficult in order to turn the school around and they do have to make difficult for staff. Go round in the day preferably not on an organised open day and see the schools as they are and talk to staff and pupils. A lot depends with A and B whether they are on the up, or are likely to slide further. If anything it will make sure that D is the right choice and you can order your preferences,
Go look at them all in detail. D otherwise
30 mins by bus is not really that much of an issue. Round her an hours journey to school is usual for various reasons-my kids to grammar schools- 1hr door to door sometimes less- but also the teens I see walking to a community school or the catholic high school as I drive to work. I start work at 8am so they are leaving home a good hour in advance of school start.
Despite the journey as the kids have got bigger they do travel independently to meet friends etc (who may lie an hour the other side of school!) from about 14. So iy's only maybe year 7 and 8 your child will need a mum taxi to everything.
School D. DH and I both went to schools out of catchment, as do all of our DCs. It's really not a problem if you are willing to put in a bit of extra effort with taxiing - friends might not be able to pop in, but they can come on weekends, or for sleepovers.
I wouldn't consider a school in RI, a brand new school with no proven track record, or a private school if I couldn't afford it for all of my children.
You've all really made me stop and think. Thank you. When I wrote the OP, school D was a real outlier as far as I was concerned. I was a day girl at a boarding school about 8 miles away from home. Because literally no-one lived anywhere near me, my social life as a teen was non-existent and this is something I really don't want for my dcs. I know a 30 mins commute is not really that bad. I guess the issue is if she is the only one doing it and everyone else lives very close to each other. But I don't know if they do. One of the things I love about her primary school is that it is 5 mins walk from the house and as a result, our whole family is fully embedded into the community. This is something I was really hoping to keep going at secondary. But your consensus has made me stop and wonder if her experience could be different from mine. In any case, I've done a bit more digging for info about School D which I almost certainly wouldn't have done if I hadn't posted.
Her friends are mostly going to School F, which is also 5 mins cycle ride from the house. School F is an OFSTED "outstanding" school but will only take kids who are religious. And we are not. (Don't get me started on faith schools.....)
Might be worth talking to school F, our local religious school also takes non-religious children who are musical and also if there are any spaces left.
we live in a town with poor secondaries. Whichever school we chose he would have had to travel. So we went with the grammar, 30 mins on the train.
We thought hard about social life. But all his primary friends still live within a mile of our house, and they are all going to different schools, so they will continue to meet up after school/weekends.
Also, I am prepared for the fact that he may go to friends after school and come home later on eg Friday evening.
Since your last post, I would try for school F though. Investigate what % are religious.
F (if you can deal with it) followed by D then B last if I was to choose 3.
I would honestly have a really good look at F. IMO it seems the best option but depends on how much you don't want a religious school.
Unfortunately there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of getting into school F. It is very over-subscribed and the criteria is being religious. Not only do you have to be Christian, but you also have to be the right kind of Christian. Last year, the most devout person I know didn't get her child in because they are baptists and not C of E or Catholic. Absolutely no chance at all for someone who is not baptised, doesn't attend church or go to one of the faith primary schools.
In that case its time to visit D You will be mum the taxi driver
I would put school F down as your first choice, D as your second and B as your 3rd.
You probably won't get into F but if its top of your list and something unexpected happens with admissions you might get a big shock and get in. D is your next choice so would probably be what you get with B as your safety net.
My dd lives in a village and all her friends live in town. (Year9)
I don't think any of them see each other in the evenings much. At weekends I make the effort to ensure dd is taken into town to meet up, etc. though I think she does sometimes miss out on unplanned gatherings but there aren't that many of them.
And I would consider a as well.
A new head can make a massive difference. As evidenced by a leap in gcse results in a year when most schools round here had a drop and blamed it on a tough English paper I think.
Are the grapevine rumours aout it not been a happy place out of date?? It takes a long time for a school to shake off a bad reputation.
Have I read that properly and you are in the town, with School D in the village?
So all the teenage girls will be heading for your town most weekends to spend £3.50 in Primark, and your DD will be envied for not having to get the bus into town. Excellent.
"she's not particularly socially confident."
I would explore a lot with her what kind of environment she feels most confident in, what she would want the school to be like ideally, and go for the best fit that I could afford that she finds appealing. School D sounds awful to me since she won't easily be able to pursue a social life there.
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