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School Choice

(8 Posts)
AdiVic Sat 28-May-11 11:10:45

Hello - Just a quick question about parents rights to choose schools. We are looking to buy a house in a village, but the local school Ofsted report is quite poor (nothing above a 3). I know nothing about this subject as my child is only one, but obvioulsy I have to take her education into account. Would we be able to send her to a school in a neighbouring village based on the fact that the local school is poor, or do the local authority only pay for kids to attend the local school? Any advice would be really appreciated - thank you smile

mrz Sat 28-May-11 11:19:06

Parents have a right to express a choice but in reality they don't always get that choice it very much depends on availability

prh47bridge Sat 28-May-11 12:36:43

A lot can change between now and the time your child needs to go to school and I wouldn't, in any case, rely on Ofsted reports.

When the time comes you will be able to name at least three preferences. Your application for each school will be decided in accordance with their published admission criteria and your daughter will be offered a place at the highest preference school with a place available. Most schools use distance as a tie breaker, however, so your chances of getting your daughter into a school in a neighbouring village will be quite low. Even if you do get your daughter into that school you probably won't be entitled to free transport. But they cannot refuse to admit you just because you don't live in that village.

Some parents think that naming only one preference will force the local authority to admit their child to that school. It doesn't work like that. Be warned that if you don't name your local school as one of your preferences and don't get a place at any of your preferred schools you may end up being allocated a place at an unpopular school miles away.

By the way, the reasons you want a particular school play absolutely no part in the admissions process.

PanelMember Sat 28-May-11 13:39:16

The school admission system doesn't allow parents to choose - it allows them to express a preference. Whether you get your preferred school depends on whether you meet its admissions criteria.

bidibidi Sat 28-May-11 13:50:24

Would we be able to send her to a school in a neighbouring village based on the fact that the local school [Ofsted report is] poor,

No. You don't get to turn it down just because you didn't like the Ofsted report.

PanelMember Sat 28-May-11 13:59:36

LEAs definitely do not regard schools with poor to middling Ofsted reports as closed to new admissions.

There seems to be a widespread belief that parents can veto schools with any less than 'outstanding' from Ofsted but that is not the case. If you don't get any of your preferred schools, you will be allocated a place at the nearest school still with vacancies, which may well be one with a less than glowing Ofsted report. Of course, you're free to turn it down, but the LEA will then consider that it has fulfilled its duty to offer you a school place and won't offer you an alternative unless you make a second application. Even then, the next place you're offered will very likely be even further away and possibly with no better Ofsted rating. An attitude of "I'm only prepared to consider Ofsted 'outstanding' schools" could backfire very badly.

Mellowfruitfulness Sat 28-May-11 14:09:15

I think that the amount of support the children get at home plus individual teachers - and it's entirely a matter of chance whether your child gets a 'good' one or not - are far more important than whether the school is labelled 'good' or 'poor'. Ofsted reports aren't infallible and have recently been criticised, and in any case the criteria they use may not be what you consider to be important.

By sending your own child to a school, any school, you have the chance to change it in the way that you want it to go. Join the PTA, become a governor. Above all, stay vigilant and spend time with your children - that's may advice! smile

AdelaofBlois Sun 29-May-11 19:27:39

There is a generational thing here-back when we were kids parental preference wasn't really an issue, and most of us went to perfectly adequate schools that let us learn and be happy. Only with the coming of league tables has there become a concern that 'worse' schools are actively bad-this school might be fine. Look at it, think about it, don't judge by Ofsted. And by all means be aware that school 'quality' does not equal 'education' quality, and that you can contribute to school and your own children.

But, equally, we were (on the whole) a generation with falling rolls where change and choice was possible. If you choose to live in a village location and really feel the local school unacceptable, your chances of getting to other schools are very slim indeed (since distance will probably be the key criteria).

Make an independent decision on the school but also don't be too naive-there are hundreds of appeal threads here many of which state 'I wish I'd thought about this when moving (and I know I wish I had, although DS seems to have worked out OK). If you hate the school and haven't yet committed to the move, think very hard.

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