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Secondary school open days

(17 Posts)
Madsometimes Mon 15-Sep-08 11:25:01

Over the next few weekends there are several secondary school open days for the schools we are considering for our dd. However, she is only in year 4, so is it too early for us to visit secondary schools?

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 11:27:22

Blimey! You are organised. We didn't look around until yr 6 (but we were a little late and we were fairly sure which one we wanted anyway). It won't do any harm but bear in mind that in 2 yrs schools can change a bit. If you go know I'd still want to go in yr6 as well.

tonton Mon 15-Sep-08 11:30:19

DD1 is in year 4 and we're going to look at secondary schools this year. We won't take her. It's just for dh & i to start familiarising ourselves with what's on offer. We're in London but both went to school elsewhere. We will certainly return to the schools we like next yeat and again the year after with dd this time.

MarsLady Mon 15-Sep-08 11:30:55

If you visit then I think you should go without your DD. That way you can narrow them down to the ones that you think suit her before taking her around a much reduced list of schools in Y6.

I did my initial open day visits in Y5, narrowed it down to the 2 or 3 schools I liked and then took my DC in Y6. Easy!

Madsometimes Mon 15-Sep-08 11:34:25

Thanks everyone. You would never guess she's a pfb grin
I'm sure I'll loosen up!

3littlefrogs Mon 15-Sep-08 11:36:32

Agree with MarsLady. We are going to the ones we liked last year, for a second visit this year.

Leaving your first visit till year 6 is too late IMO.

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 11:42:30

Just curious, but how did you know about open evenings? We had no notification of anything, not from the LEA or from the primary schools, until the form for application arrived - 6 weeks before the closing date! I just assumed I was a bit slow on the uptake (although we weren't the only ones) but maybe others were actually told what was going on?

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Mon 15-Sep-08 11:48:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Mon 15-Sep-08 11:48:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

3littlefrogs Mon 15-Sep-08 11:49:16

You have to look in the local papers, also try googling the schools and look at the websites of those that have them. I have never received any information via primary school about these things. With ds1 it was information via the parents of older children that gave me all the info.

I was very naive, as I didn't know how difficult it would be to get a place in a secondary school in my part of london, or that the majority of children in my area had bee tutored for years to do the tests for the selective schools. The whole "race for a place" thing was one hell of a shock. The BBC even made a documentary about it.

I am on child number three now, and it is still incredibly stressful.

This government is determined to ban sibling admission policies, so families could potentially have children at several different secondary schools.

Sorry - rant over .... It really is very stressful.

Madsometimes Mon 15-Sep-08 11:52:32

I accidentally stumbled across a leaflet in the library. I am sure this varies greatly from LEA to LEA. Our council have a mini newspaper that it sends out and the info was in there too (think Pravda, lots of happy residents congratulating the council on how happy they are that their rubbish is now collected fortnightly instead of weekly!)

OrmIrian Mon 15-Sep-08 11:55:52

It must have been awful 3littlefrogs. It didn't occur to me to be proactive. I expected it to be like application for primary. We have 4 possible schools, 2 of which I'd wouldn't touch with a bargepole. And the 3rd was probably not going to suit DS#1. So we had a fairly good idea already. So our visits were just to confirm really. But in the end the school we chose was over-subscribed - first time in it's history and the only one that was! Thankfully DS got his place but it stopped me being complacent for next time.

Blandmum Mon 15-Sep-08 19:00:36

Most of the children go in year 5

If you do go in year 4, it is very advisable to go again in year 6, as a lot can change in two years!

I think that Marslady's plan is excellent.

You go in year 5, take dc in year 6 to your 'pick of the crop'

clam Mon 15-Sep-08 19:41:23

"This government is determined to ban sibling admission policies."
Is it? That wasn't my impression. In fact, in the amended admissions guidelines they published 2 years ago (or so) they said specifically that for local authorities to operate a sibling policy was considered good practice. I remember this distinctly, having just got DS into preferred school and getting twitchy in case they ditched the rule. I know it can be different for partially selective/single sex schools though.

3littlefrogs Mon 15-Sep-08 20:36:19

There has been a huge fuss in this part of North london over sibling policies. It has resulted in some families ending up with children ending up in different schools in the borough. It depends on how many are applying from each year from different areas.

For example if the distance from school is considered to be the first priority and sibling policy is scrapped (which is what they were trying to do at Ds's school, against the wishes of the school), and there are more "first" children within the prescribed distance, then the siblings of existing pupils will end up at a different school.

The catchment area of one of my choices for dd has changed every year for the last 5 years. It is only a mile up the road, but this area is so densley populated that this can make a significant difference.

I have no idea what my chances of a place there will be this year. My neighbour's children went there, but when I was applying for ds's, we were "out of the catchment area".

My first choice of school for ds1 is only half a mile away, but we were refused a place because apparantly we were out of the catchment area.

It really is a nightmare.

OrmIrian Tue 16-Sep-08 13:41:22

Bloody hell! I hope they don't ban sibling policy. I was relying on that to ensure DD would get a place, oversusbcribed or not.

stitch Tue 16-Sep-08 18:17:27

year four is about the right time to start thinking about secondary schools. and if it is going to be a selective one, then it means that the child will get used to the idea of having to give a test.

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