Is there a huge difference between a good school and an outstanding one?(51 Posts)
I'm moving house.
The area we are currently in has an outstanding primary school an a good secondary- but the secondary has terrible reputation and is in a not very not part of the area.
We are moving to a village with a 'good' primary (with a good reputation) and an outstanding secondary both in a 'naice' village.
I'm wobbling because people are surprised that I would move away from the outstanding primary that dd would be due to start. Their reactions are starting to make me doubt myself.
In other aspects the move makes sense nice village, better amenities but we wouldn't be moving 'up' the house would the same as we're in size wise.
Would you stay put for an outstanding primary?
As long as Primary is not so awful that it puts your DC off education for life, I would say that Secondary school is more important and has more far-reaching effects than Primary. Take the long view.
The whole reason for the move was just that senua for the 'long term'. Just people's reactions are making me doubt myself.
I'm going to visit the school on Monday and I'll know more then but based on reputation the 'good' school people seem happy with but it's SATS results are 83% compared to 97% where we currently are.
AFAIK from local schools, Outstanding heads and teachers spend ages sorting the paperwork to tick Oftead boxes, as well as outstanding teaching.
Good heads and teachers are outstanding and instead of spending extra time on paperwork, spend it with the kids.
And here I'm thinking of the head of a three form entry who knew exactly which kids were mine, vs a 1 form entry, where I couldn't even tell you who the head was if I was in the school.
For context where we are the secondary's are 11 to 18 so the kids would be doing gsces and further ed there also.
I have a third option which is move to another village which has an outstanding primary and the kids go to the outstanding village secondary but its V. Expensive we could only afford a tiny box house there and there's no local amenities within walking.
I'm a governor of a 'good' primary school. I would positively (along with many of the governing body) prefer that we didn't chase after an 'outstanding' status. A 'good' judgement gives reassurance that we are doing most of the things we ought to be doing. However it also leaves us the freedom to be the sort of school we want to be. Chasing Outstanding means a commitment to being exactly the sort of school OFSTED wants
I'd recommend having a look round both schools. If you like the good primary then go for it. If the outstanding primary seems much better then think again - but not on the basis of a 13% difference in SATS results. If it's a one form entry school then yr 6 results could vary by that much just on the basis of three or four pupils' results.
I'm feeling reassured by these responses my friend who works in education said pretty much the same. Hopefully once I visit the school that will reassure me further!
I'm just nervous about A big move for us I don't want to make a mistake with the schooling
If your DC has not yet started at a primary school (I am assuming this is the case?) I would suggest that moving now be in the catchement of a particular secondary school might be a bit risky:
The secondary school may change a lot over the next 6 or so years.
e.g. the intake may change and/or the staff and leadership team may change. The admissions criteria and/or catchments may change.
Unless you already know what your DCs academic strengths and/or interests are you will not know if the secondary school is best placed to nurture them.
One advantage you will have of moving house now is that, if house prices continue to rise as they are, then you may find you are priced out of the market in a few years time.
SATs results need to be taken in the context of the intake as the ability mix will vary from school to school and year to year.
Bear in mind that SATs are currently being changed in terms of how they are assessed and what they assess. These changes may change the way parents view particular schools.
As for OFSTED ratings, I don't think they are worth the paper they are written on. What's more the ratings can/do change from one inspection to the next.
I would also take the "reputation of the school" with a pinch of salt - basically ignore it unless the person telling you actually has children at the school.
DD's school was very poor about 12 years ago - unfortunately many local people still talk about this bad reputation as though it was current ...
Outstanding school near me boasts non stop about being outstanding. Only reason it is outstanding is because it hasn't been inspected for years.
It is not a nice school in lots of ways. It's certainly no better than the good school up the road. It has dreadful SEN provision.
Honestly ofsted judgements mean nothing.
I also agree with not putting too much weight on Ofsted ratings. The point made by a pp about outstanding schools going through box ticking exercises is spot on. A school rated good may teach your children just as well, or even better, but might spend less time on the latest Ofsted fad.
My school are at an outstanding primary school. The SATS results are great but a very significant percentage of parents are paying for their children to have private tutors in maths and english.
I'm no educational expert, but if i had a good primary and an outstanding secondary in my area, i would be happy with that. My DC went to a primary which started as Good, then went down to Satisfactory after changes in head and is now back up to Good. You never know what might happen. I did lots of support with my DC, when the school when to Satisfactory, at home and they are now in Yr6 and doing really well, above average. It isn't just about the OFSTED report, there are many factors involved in you DC edcuation. i also think an excellent secondary is the most important, this is a deal breaker regarding your DC future!
Sometimes a school's reputation is based on what the school was years ago. My local secondary used to really rough, with poor results and some people frown when I say this is where my kids are going to go. But in the last 4 or 5 years the school has really improved, on many levels, including sports, music facilities, quality of teaching, results, etc
Ofsted is bs, imo, especially at primary level.
Have you been round these schools?
Have you got a sense of the culture of the secondaries in particular?
I'd say the main difference between a 'good' school and an 'outstanding' one, is most likely to be the stress levels of the staff. The local Outstanding primary to us lost over 50% of its teachers last summer. A few of them came to our (good) school and are reporting to us they're so much happier. That's got to rub off on the kids.
The two Outstanding schools I know well get that by being obsessed with policies and politely or less politely pointing out that other schools "do SEN". And a bit of luck. A Good school is more likely to be good, and I wouldn't discount a satisfactory one, just read the report and ask about the issues raised.
Have a look at pick-up time.
OP, do you just move house for DC's education or you have to move now? If you just move house for DC's education, then I would stay for the outstanding primary, then move a few year's later for the secondary, maybe when DC is in Y5.
From my experience of our city, a good primary school is enough for DC, but if there is a outstanding one, it is better.
IME there is often very little difference between a school requiring improvement and those deemed outstanding. As others have said, visit the schools and get a feel for them. This will tell you far more than an OFSTED report.
A school rated good wouldn't put me off but I touch a school a failing school with a barge pole.An local independent school failed their ISI report and where then inspected by ofsted.Again failed to meet independent schools standard.It just ticking boxes the headmaster told parents.He didn't mention the lack of teaching ,the bad behaviour ,the bullying failing children at all levels.The school have very low numbers not by choice and says it's a family school.The reports were only the tip of the iceberg.
It is actually hard to get a "good" these days, so if the primary has a recent Ofsted, then they will have worked hard to get it.
The two local outstanding primaries to us are a den of stressed teachers, stressed parents and stressed pupils. The results were no better than another local school which currently "requires improvement".
I think an outstanding secondary is a different matter. Secondaries do work better with strict policies etc in place.
Ultimately, you get a better feel simply by visiting the schools.
A good secondary (by your own standards, not necessarily Ofsted's) is worth moving for, IMO. An outstanding primary, if your kids are in a good one, not so much. Our school went from outstanding to satisfactory to outstanding again in less than 4 years. My kids experience - and achievement - was the same throughout.
When was the last Ofsted report? A lot has changed and several Outstanding primaries are now "only" good due to the new assessment they have to go through.
DD is at a good junior school, it was actually Required improvement for a while and the head was very open about the issues and a year later asked for a voluntarily re-test and back to good. I find their teaching and the whole atmosphere a lot more relaxed than the outstanding one my friend's children go to, more strict teaching but a lot less fun and opportunities for clubs and away from the book-learning DD has. One reason for outstanding is the vast ground the school is on but apart from 2 sport days I never hear them using it.
I think a good primary can easily deliver the same results as an outstanding one. But I would be careful with secondary. But as PP said reputation is only worth if you speak to people with children there now and not 10 years ago.
I'd take the reports with a pinch of salt - my DS attends a so-called 'outstanding' secondary school; it does not impress me in the slightest, we choose to employ a private tutor as our DS gets no encouragement/motivation at school.
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