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are oversubscribed schools complacent?

(7 Posts)
benetint Tue 21-Jun-11 13:57:00

We were considering moving to an area considered to have "better schools" but have been a little put of by some comments of complacency. Two of the schools I looked at had outstanding ofsted reports and were at the top of the league tables but on looking at their reviews many parents had complained that the Heads were complacent. They said the Heads were too quick to say "there's the door" if any problems were reported as they had many pupils ready to fill their places (waiting lists of 50 and 68 pupils).

I know all schools are different and I will need to see them, I just worry that this may be a common attitude amongst oversubscribed schools. If the school was undersubscribed (if that's the right term) are they more likely to take you seriously if there are any issues?

Wordsmith Tue 21-Jun-11 14:05:21

Schools can be oversubscribed for many reasons - to be honest snobbishness does play a big part in some of it! I know parents who choose schools because the 'right sort of children' go there. By far the best way to choose a school is to go and have a look, meet the headteacher and talk to some of te oher parents (if you can). League tables will reflect the cohort - it is you have nice 'middle class' (I hate that term) kids with educated parents who encourage their children and 'get involved', the school is goingto do better in league tabls - all they do is reflect the SATs and GCSE results. OFSTED reports are a better indicator than league tables. But nothing beats finding out for yourself. If the head is open and honest with you, puts you in touch with other parents who could give opinions, lets you look round and see for yourself, then chances are you are going to find him/her and the school in general easier to deal with.

benetint Tue 21-Jun-11 14:13:40

Thanks for your advice Wordsmith, that's really appreciated.

Hassled Tue 21-Jun-11 14:22:51

I think there's unlikely to be complacency - it's very hard to get an Outstanding Ofsted, and I can't imagine a school could manage it with that sort of attitude. There is such a drive for continual improvement that you can't just rest on your laurels.

There is some truth maybe in undersubscribed schools being more anxious about children leaving - because the majority of school funding is on a per-pupil basis. If you have 27 children out of a possible intake of 30, you still have to pay the teacher and resource the class and maintain the classroom, but you have a reduced income. So maybe then yes, you'll make more effort to retain children whereas the Head with a waiting list might decide there are other priorities.

Wordsmith Tue 21-Jun-11 15:41:22

No problem benetint - and sorry about all the typos, it's not me, it's my keyboard blush! I am a parent governor at an 'outstanding' primary and Hassled is right - the teachers do work really hard and the Outstanding was a major achievement - BUT we are in a lovely middle class area with great kids and involved parents - and near the top of the league table - what a surprise! To be honest a school in such an area that wasn't near the top of the league table would be one I'd worry about. If you visit the school and see how the kids behave, how involved they are, the general feel of the place, that will give you a much better idea than looking at league tables or an OFSTED report. And if you're considering moving simply because of the schools I'd definitely do more research. A school that's 'satifsfactory' or 'good' in a poor area with a 'deprived' intake could well have much better teachers and add a lot more value than an outstanding one in a leafy suburb.

admission Tue 21-Jun-11 16:00:16

I don't think that the right word is complacent. I think the word is more arrogance for a number of these schools. The fact that these schools have such a long waiting list makes some of them believe that they can do and say anything. The term pride comes before a fall comes to mind because in these cases invariably the parents will eventually realise that maybe the education their children are getting is not quiet as good as they think.

Having said that the majority of the schools will jealously guard their reputation and try and resolve any issues. The best possible thing you could do is go and see the schools for yourself and make your own judgement. If you take an immediate dislike to the head, then your view of them is not likely to change with time and maybe that is not the school for you.

benetint Wed 22-Jun-11 20:43:18

Thanks everyone, this is so difficult isn't it? I'm obsessed with finding a school DD will be happy in...I just have no idea how to go about it!

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