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Idiots guide to touring primary schools?

(12 Posts)
Justwanttoweeinpeace Wed 28-Sep-16 10:26:35

DH and I have a few schools to look at next month. We have no idea what sort of things we should be looking at / questions we should be asking.

Can anyone point us in the right direction - some sort of idiots guide ideally. Haven't found an obvious thread around here yet.


HereIAm20 Wed 28-Sep-16 13:28:28

Usual questions would be:

How many in each class (although KS1 will be max 30 by law).

Do they teach in mixed classes at all eg. R/Y1 or Y1/2 or Y5/6.
How are these mixes selected? Ability or age. How does this affect your child based on when they born.

What sports do they play? Does everyone get a turn in any school teams or are they selected by ability.

Are their opportunities to learn musical instruments within school and at what age? Are these at additional cost?

Are there opportunities to take part in school plays? Is it compulsory or by choice/

Where do the majority of pupils go after year 6? Which secondaries?

I assume you'd have looked at Ofsted reports and SATS results but if there was anything "odd" query this. Eg. if SATS suddenly dipped last year. Was it a cohort problem? Had they lost staff?

What is staff turnover like?

Do you get a good feel about the place and the pupils?

How are the pupils behaved and presented?

What is the uniform code and is it strictly adhered to? If you don't agree with it and are going to break the rules then consider going somewhere where it is more lax.

Justwanttoweeinpeace Wed 28-Sep-16 13:51:48


What about things like phonics, homework and bullying policies?

paddypants13 Wed 28-Sep-16 13:57:04

Hi op!

We are going to look at our first school next week. It's the school we're in the catchment area for so dd will prob end up attending.

They recommended bringing dd with us to see the school.

The schools round us are very small with an approximate intake 12.

I feel like a proper adult now!

cece Wed 28-Sep-16 13:57:07

You will probably find some of their more pertinent policies on their website.

Justwanttoweeinpeace Wed 28-Sep-16 13:59:37

Yes, our schools are all a similar intake and have a similar SAT score and Ofsted report. We're pretty much equidistant to both so we will have to make some sort of decision.

The websites are a bit rubbish TBH which is why I want to make sure I have my questions straight when I go.

TeenAndTween Thu 29-Sep-16 15:15:02

How do they teach reading, & what was their pass rate for y1 phonics screening last year?

(Anything that says mixed methods, guessing, oh well phonics screening doesn't work for good readers then run a mile).

Are the y5&6 children like you want yours to be?

Is the standard of work on display
a) varied (shows lower ability get theirs up too)
b) good for the better ones (shows they can produce high standard work)

How do you contact teachers if desired?

(e.g. only via office v you can always catch class teacher at the end of the day, and also at start for very quick messages)

DullUserName Mon 03-Oct-16 22:15:42

Gut feel about the place... how do the staff welcome you into their rooms, can you chat to the pupils, do they seem happy?

Chestersidiot Tue 04-Oct-16 15:49:12

Ask them how they deal with toilet accidents/issues. There are some shocking examples of bad practice around if the threads on here are to be believed. I think the way a school deals with this tells you a lot about their overall ethos.

wineoclockthanks Wed 05-Oct-16 14:07:26

If you're shown around by the older children, ask them what they would do if they could change 1 thing about the school, they will have been briefed but this sometimes brings out some interesting answers.

Ask how many support staff (TA's) there are in each year group, many schools have them in Reception and not higher up the school.

I would also go to the playground at the end of the day, look at the children as they are coming out, are the teachers accessible and are parents approaching them.

Earwig other parents conversations (remembering there are always moaners about!) and even ask them what they like/dislike about the school.

Stickerrocks Thu 06-Oct-16 17:08:12

One of the best bits of advice I was given for primary & secondary schools is to look at the facilities (yes, including the toilets!) If things like the canteen, changing rooms, playground etc look well cared for, even if they are old, the school probably cares for its children too.

If you are shown around by some of the pupils, ask what happens if they are hurt or upset and if they know who to talk to if they have problems.

Traalaa Fri 07-Oct-16 10:17:08

Look at what's on the walls - is it creative, fun, engaging or bog standard and a bit dull?

Though actually I reckon looking round schools is a bit like looking at a house. The minute you walk in you get a sense of whether it's for you or not.

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