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How do you know if your school is a good one?

(10 Posts)
Eaney Thu 23-Jun-05 14:08:33

Someone asked me recently if my ds was going to a good school and I found I couldn't really answer her. How do you know if the school you have picked is good?

My ds's school has a pretty good rep, my son enjoys it and seems to be progressing well but what do I know. Perhaps he should be progressing faster. He is in reception.

One of the other parents surpried me last week when she said she hated the school and was hoping to move her son. Is there something I'm not seeing. Any ideas what I should be looking for or asking at the next parent/teacher meeting?

marialuisa Thu 23-Jun-05 14:38:01

I think that so long as the school appears to be getting the majority of pupils to achieve the expected targets the rest is highly subjective. For example I live very near a "beacon" primary school, excellent results, facilities, reputation but I would send my DD there over my dead body.

I think my DD's school is amazing but I know of parents who have been less impressed.

janinlondon Thu 23-Jun-05 15:13:22

A good school is the school that is right for you and your child. No point in being the highest academic achieving school if that's not what your kid is about. Or in having great sports facilities if your child is a budding artist. A school is about the people in it. Sorry if that sounds trite. I suppose it is.

homemama Thu 23-Jun-05 15:15:35

Eaney, if your DS is progressing well and is happy then I wouldn't worry.
It's all very well to look at OFSTED reports but there could have been a full staff turnover since the last one. Equally, league tables don't give you the full story. A school could get 80% level 4 one year then 60% the following year. Same teacher, same teaching technique just different ability kids (perhaps more SEN that year)
It may be that this other parent has a completely different ethos from you. She could be unhappy because of lack of dicipline or because she prefers formal teaching to informal etc.
As long as the results aren't consistently poor, and the kids are progressing both academically and socially then the school is doing its job.

Also, just to agree with ML's point, I taught in a beacon school for two years and I would NEVER send my children there OR recommend it to anyone. (that's not to say, of course, that all beacon schools are awful - most are super!)

homemama Thu 23-Jun-05 15:18:54


KBear Thu 23-Jun-05 15:32:08

perhaps its a personal thing - has she had words with the head or is her child unhappy/being bullied or not coping well generally?

Nothing's ever 100 per cent perfect and there will always be someone moaning but if your child is happy there, don't worry.

The ofsted reports make interesting reading if you want to have a look - they're online.

Eaney Thu 23-Jun-05 16:48:23

She is worried about the rough play in the school which I must admit is a bit of a concern. My ds comes home most days with bruises, scratches and recently another boy kicked him in his privates. She think there is not enough control in the plyground and she is probably right.

Accademically as far a I can tell it is quite strict and the OFSTED report is very favourable. It was rated as being one of the schools in the top 300 a couple of years ago.

homemama Thu 23-Jun-05 17:26:56

TBH, there is always rough play at break times. This is partly because there is less supervision and partly because the energy is bursting out of them by the time they get outside.
I'm not suggesting there should be systematic violence and aggression going on but I have never known a break time, in any school, to pass without even a minor incident.
Hopefully your DS's teacher dealt with those incidents you mentioned. If you have serious concerns go see his teacher or the head.
I hope they're able to put your mind at ease.

goldenoldie Fri 24-Jun-05 14:08:19

All depends on what is important to you.

For me - I look at:

1. SAT results (I'm looking at the % who reach the top two grades)

2. number of children from there who get into good, usually selective secondary schools (I'm asking as many parents of leavers of the school as possible as the school won't release this info)

3. Ofstead reports (any dire problems will usually be picked up on - and tell me where I might have to get some supplimentary help in)

4. and % of children with special needs (because schools are never funded adequately for SN children, and this becomes a big drain on resources for schools)

In that order. But that is my choice as my main concern is will my child come out sufficiently literate and numerate and motivated.

nooka Fri 24-Jun-05 22:26:31

I think that what really matters is:
Is your ds happy?
Do you like his teacher, and think that she knows and likes your son?
Does your ds have friends that you are OK with him spending time with?
Does the school have a good atmostphere?
Do you think that the school has an ethos that you agree with?
If you have friends with children the same age is your ds doing roughly the same sorts of things?

The last one is a bit difficult, as children vary hugely at that age in terms of development etc, but it will give you a general idea if his development is about right.

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