Newbie query: Primary school - OFSTED, enrollment

(16 Posts)
Winnipegger78 Thu 23-Mar-17 19:43:19

We are planning a sabbatical to your lovely community in 2018, with two primary school children.
Just want to get a feel from you mums what really are the differences between an 'outstanding' and 'good' school by OFSTED ratings. Is there a real step above, or differences in the ether so to speak.
Also, say we rent a house across the street from a school of interest, does this guarantee enrollment in that school (i.e., being in catchment mean entrance?
Thanks for your help!

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Winnipegger78 Thu 23-Mar-17 19:44:50

As an aside, we hope to find a place within Cambridge proper, within easy distance to campus.

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girtontastic Mon 27-Mar-17 10:08:26

There's no automatic entrance for living in a catchment area. Many of the "city" schools are oversubscribed, so once you locate an area of interest, I'd recommend contacting the Local Authority to check whether or not there are spaces in any of the local primary schools in the specific years you are looking at (and how many since the application process can take several weeks and allocated on a first-come-first served basis).

The catch 22 is that you need a signed rental contract before you actually apply for a place so I'd recommend that you coordinate house search and school search very tightly. The day your rental contract is signed you basically need to get your school application in somewhere you know they have space and then keep your fingers crossed!

Best of luck.

girtontastic Mon 27-Mar-17 10:09:54

p.s. be aware that if you're house hunting using rightmove, the schools checker function may say "undersubscribed" on a school but that absolutely does not guarantee that there are available spaces in the years you need.

fenlander Mon 27-Mar-17 10:38:35

I'd ring the schools as well to see if they get in year spaces come up. We have moved a few times across the region and in year transfers can be hit & miss. Ofsted wise - I wouldn't pay much heed to it. We went from an "Outstanding" primary to a "good" primary. The Good primary is so far superior to our old primary, better head, better teaching, better facilities.

Winnipegger78 Fri 31-Mar-17 02:18:43

Thank you for your input! 'It takes a village' can be true for being a mom - much appreciated. See you in 2018!

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MrsGrowbag Wed 12-Apr-17 07:11:17

The County Council used to have a page on their website where you could check which schools had vacancies in which years.. I haven't used it for a while so don't know if it's still there but worth a look. I'll see if I can find a link

MrsGrowbag Wed 12-Apr-17 07:14:55

This page has information about what to do if you're moving to Cambridhe from abroad

Perilla Wed 12-Apr-17 20:01:36

It may be worth checking where the department you're interested in at the University is - there isn't a single 'campus' and the University sites (including colleges) cover a huge area a lot of the maths and science research is way out the west of the city, some departments are slap bang in the centre and specific colleges can be miles apart (Homerton is to the South v near the hospital, Girton is way out the West and very much not in the city itself).

LocalEditorCambridgeshire Tue 18-Apr-17 18:25:33

Hi, l'll share this on our Facebook page for you

Winnipegger78 Thu 01-Mar-18 16:01:54


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Londo Sat 03-Mar-18 10:08:32

On the Ofsted rating, the only thing I would worry about is the bottom two ratings. When the school has the bottom two ratings there seems to be a systemic problem with the school. The top two ratings - Good and Outstanding - are opinion based. My daughter is at a Good rated school and she is doing exceptionally well.

Find the primary that your children will like and cross your fingers that you live close enough and they aren't oversubscribed too much. Finding a home and school are difficult. And don't forget what Secondary School will be since that will be your next problem if you are planning to stay.

Good luck.

Winnipegger78 Mon 05-Mar-18 15:58:34

Thanks Londo!

We are really at the 'crossing fingers' stage. It is a nice exercise at being accepting of what is out of your control ;)

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Londo Wed 07-Mar-18 19:29:18

Btw. Winnipeg? Manitoba?

PandaPieForTea Wed 07-Mar-18 20:04:51

Ofsted ratings are a snap shot, so a school that was rated ‘good’ might well be outstanding now.

Winnipegger78 Wed 07-Mar-18 22:44:10

Londo - is there any other??!! haha. In the states now, but that's the old stomping grounds. Let me know if you have a connection!

Thanks PandaPieForTea smile I like the Ofsted method from 50000 feet, but know it is fluid and might not capture the current school culture.

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