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Ofsted reports and affluent areas

(16 Posts)
FeelLikeTweedleDee Mon 20-Jun-11 16:49:05

Ok I'm new at this. My daughter is 11 months old so I'm just testing the waters to see which school she should attend and if we should move house to accomodate a good school.

I assumed (wrongly it would seem?) that the more affluent the area, the better the Ofsted report. However after searching for schools in my current area (reputation for being "rough") and an affluent area I know of, the schools in my area rated higher (some outstanding).

I realise that I'm a complete noob when it comes to schools. So am I missing something? Don't people move to affluent areas partly because of the "excellent" schools?

WearegoingonaKwazihunt Mon 20-Jun-11 16:54:26

People move to affluent areas to be with 'nicer' middle class kids. Although I doubt many would admit it.

clam Mon 20-Jun-11 17:02:17

It's not as cut and dried as that. Ofsted judge a school on the provision that it is making for the children it has on roll. So you could have an outstanding school in a deprived area giving a fantastic education and meeting the diverse needs of its children on the one hand, and another school in an affluent area coasting along resting on its laurels, which only merits a satisfactory.

admission Mon 20-Jun-11 17:05:48

An outstanding Ofsted result is not necessarily saying the school gets high results at KS2. Mr Gove has just announced that the 200 worst performing primary schools will become Academies in Sept 2012 but that does not mean they all have lousy Ofsted reports. I suspect there will be good or outstanding schools that will be forced to move to being Academies because Mr Gove's blunt methodology does not lead to any diffferentiation of good schools from good results.
Whilst it is probably somewhat premature as your daughter is only 11 months I would go and visit all the local schools and see what you think of them, don't rely solely on Ofsted reports and don't rely on playground gossip. the right school for your daughter is the one that you and she will be most comfortable going to, within reasonable commute of your home.

FeelLikeTweedleDee Mon 20-Jun-11 17:05:53

clam - are you saying, the "rougher" the majority of pupils, the easier it is to get "outstanding"?

cory Mon 20-Jun-11 17:16:27

I think what clam is saying is that Ofsted take into account how much the school adds to pupils' progress (which is monitored year by year). So in a deprived area you might have a larger number of pupils coming in at a Reception levels which is lower than national levels (and they look at all sorts of things, verbal development, reading etc).

If the school is poor/average they will leave at correspondingly low level in Yr 6.

If the school is good, however, they may leave at a much higher level than could reasonably have been predicted from where they started and this will count towards the Ofsted report.

A school in an affluent highly educated area may get exactly the same result from their Yr 6 pupils without it being the same achievement, since this school might have been expected to achieve even higher results, given the initial intake.

So no, it won't have been easier for the rough school. But if they do do well that will be because they have worked harder.

mummytime Mon 20-Jun-11 17:18:45

No its not easier to get outstanding with "rougher" pupils.
And outstanding school in a "rougher" area might have children using 60-120 different home languages. The majority might have English as very much a second language, and be in a deprived area. It might not get 90% level 5's in SATs, but getting 80% at level 4 is far tougher than a school in an area where all the pupils come from nice middle class homes, and 20% have their own Tennis courts. Both schools could be outstanding, or the second could get fabulous results but not be stretching the most able.

I have not sent my kids to the local school with the best SATs results, and am very thankful that I used an outstanding school instead, as they get a much broader education, and don't spend all of year 6 doing practice papers. I also have a friend who moved her son from the local "nice middle class" school where he was unhappy, and sent him to a "rougher" school further away, where the teachers could cope with a bright boy who wanted more stretching.

I would suggest you follow the advice and go and look at schools. Not just base your opinions on newspaper articles. It is not simple.

FeelLikeTweedleDee Mon 20-Jun-11 17:24:53

Thanks guys. I'll read the Ofsted reports in more detail.

drkej Mon 20-Jun-11 17:25:10

Look at the schools...most important advice I would give.

I thought I would like our nearby village school as nice kids etc etc. Instead it was sterile and cold.
Our catchment school (which most people don't even bother to visit) was warm and vibrant and all the kids & teachers seemed friendly and happy.
Didn't even bother looking at Oftsed.

lovecheese Mon 20-Jun-11 17:25:25

OP, google CVA.

IndigoBell Mon 20-Jun-11 17:35:40

The 'middle class' schools will almost certainly have more kids getting a L4+ in Y6. And this is how many people rate a school....

But it won't effect it's OFSTED report..... You can't 'buy' a good school - but you can def 'buy' good SAT results........

FeelLikeTweedleDee Mon 20-Jun-11 17:57:41

Indigo, would such achievement be down to the school or the parents? (private tuition, resources, etc)

Elibean Mon 20-Jun-11 17:58:02

Much as drkej says - we looked at good and outstanding schools in our area, the ones with the best resources and Ofsted didn't have the best atmosphere/most interested and excited children.

WHen its time (not now, schools can change too much in a few years) go and visit local schools, and get a feel for them, the staff, the children...yes, look at Ofsted, but only as one small part of a bigger picture.

Unless you are also considering independent schools, in which case you may have to get on to their waiting lists sooner rather than later - I would visit them now, if thats the case.

IndigoBell Mon 20-Jun-11 18:00:43

The SATs results are down to 'the cohort'

ie the kids come to school speaking English, fed, not neglected etc, etc

Which makes teaching them far easier.

Then on top of that you have all these MN parents doing loads of work with their kids at home........

Parents might get tutors. They are certainly more likely to know if their child was behind, and more likely to be able to afford a tutor.....

But the SAT results are not down to better teaching.....

Mum2be79 Mon 20-Jun-11 19:17:36

It can go either way. In our 'town' we have 7 primaries and 1 infant and junior school (or should I say 2 - they're separate schools).

Of those, only 3 are in an affluent area.
1 (mine) 'looks' like it is but the catchment is about 35% FSM (i.e. low income familIes, council housing, etc, etc).

SCHOOL 1: Primary. Mixed affluent/deprived. Just gone into SM. Very low SAT results.
SCHOOL 2: Primary: Deprived (heavily). Satisfactory. Very low SAT results.
SCHOOL 3: Primary: Catholic. Quite affluent (must be practising catholic to get in, 30 places per year group). High SAT results.
SCHOOL 4: Mine! Deprived and high proportion in social care. Satisfactory. Very low SAT results.
SCHOOL 5: Primary. Deprived (low numbers because it was SM a few years ago). Good. High SAT results.
SCHOOL 6: Infants. Affluent. Good with Outstanding. Very high KS1 Results.
SCHOOL 7: Juniors. Affluent. Was Good now Satisfactory (behaviour picked up on). Okay SAT results. Used to be very high.
SCHOOL 8: Very affluent. Satisfactory. High SAT results.

OFSTED told us that we COULD NOT get above satisfactory if SAT results at KS2 were low (we have high turnover of pupils. only 40% are with us throughout as we are a seaside town). despite our sustainability for improvement being good to outstanding and that most children had reached their end of year targets half way through the year (OFSTED statement!). We have a new head. But it will take us 2/3 years for the improvements to show in the results. Also it's almost impossible when you have about 20% of a Y6 year group entering the school at Y4 or Y5 being only a level 1 or 2 to get them to a level 4!!

Listen to parents, visit the school and IGNORE OFSTED grades. read the reports instead to get a feel. But remember, they spend MOST of their time looking at statistics and only about 6 hours observing teaching ACROSS a school. Our team had the paperwork from us for 3 days and rang the day before saying that we'd go into special measures. the sustainability for improvement and the GOOD teaching (only 2 out of 17 lessons were satisfactory) put us at a SATISFACTORY grade.

HarrietJones Mon 20-Jun-11 19:46:35

Ofsted results can change v fast. Especially as they move the goal posts.
It's best to judge by visits. I go in a lot of schools with work and there are schools in SM/NTI I would send my kids to & outstanding ones I wouldn't. I chose my dds current school by recommendations / visits .

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