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Picking a primary schoool

(13 Posts)
roseyposeysmum Thu 18-Aug-11 10:17:15

My dd will be starting school next year, i am trying to be organised as i am on my own and need to sort out childcare etc.

But my main concern is how do you know which is the right school, when i choose the nursery that she now goes to i had looked at about 20 and just got a feeling about the nursery, it wasn't the best according to the Ofsted reports but she has blossomed and loves it there and it is now one of the best nurserys in the area.

Is it the same with schools - should i go off my gut, i have printed Ofsted reports off and one of them stands out - but should this be everything ?

I am going to have a look around the schools in a couple of weeks, what sort of questions should i be asking etc.

HangingGarden Thu 18-Aug-11 10:38:20

Go with your gut!
All the Ofsted reports will tell you is what the schools have done with other people's children. If the school is warm welcoming and happy it is a good start. If you have any particular concerns re your DD they should be able to explain/show you how these can be dealt with.
In the same way that a house is not necessarily a home an Ofsted Outstanding does not always make it a good school for your child.

IndigoBell Thu 18-Aug-11 10:47:24

As well as Ofsted reports look at their league tables.

It is more info to use to tell stuff about the school. Exactly what it tells you is unclear - except that their is a high correlation between good results and wealthy parents grin

BsshBossh Thu 18-Aug-11 22:04:45

We're using the following:
OFSTED reports
Key stage 2 league tables
Querying local parents eg in real life or on online community message boards
School visits
Gut feel

AdelaofBlois Fri 19-Aug-11 11:58:12

But also look at the admissions advice here when both casting your net and actually applying. There is little point getting 'gut feelings' about schools DC is never likely to attend.

gentlebreezeliveupstairs Fri 19-Aug-11 12:17:28

I had a choice of two junior schools for DD to attend. The first one was a lovely school, well resourced, lovely grounds etc. The head was very strange though and decided that DD would struggle.
Second school was similar, smaller with less resources but, the head was so positive about DD and how she would get on. there was no question about which school she would attend.
Less than three weeks and she starts at school 2.

MayDayChild Fri 19-Aug-11 13:24:29

I 2nd Adela advice as depending on where you live, there might be 10 schools in your town but you stand zero chance of getting into any as you don't live close enough.
Thankfully our local school (only one we would get a place at even though there are three other schools within a mile) is great and we really liked the vibe.
If you live in an urban area, I would wait till new term starts and call your LEA and ask for the admission criteria and the distances of last admitted children.
Hope you find a great school

piellabakewell Fri 19-Aug-11 14:55:27

Visit schools during the school day, any Headteacher who won't let you tour the classrooms has something to hide.

dixiechick1975 Fri 19-Aug-11 15:23:10

Ask about breakfast/aftercare/school holiday clubs if that is important to you.

I can recall asking at one and was told there was no call for it - mostly stay at home mums. School DD attends has mostly working mums and good wrap around care.

sugartongue Fri 19-Aug-11 16:23:43

Don't totally dismiss league tables, because if a school has a middle-class / professional intake and it's low on the league table for SATs then the school is sh*t. Be wary of what parents tell you about their school too - parents can give high praise for their children's school when it's actually a dumb, due to some kind of defensiveness. If you read between the lines Ofsted reports can be very useful - the banding of outstanding, good etc is not all that useful, but the detail of the report is worth a read.

In short, take note of what information is available from all the sources mentioned by posters, but don't give too much credence to any single source. Good luck! But don't panic, if you do get it wrong, you can move them!

sugartongue Fri 19-Aug-11 16:24:13

dumb dump

Avaria Sat 20-Aug-11 14:46:32

BsshBossh , and in case of private primary school - which sources you could suggest to review? As I understand ofstead reports and league tables are for public school, am I right?

sugartongue Sat 20-Aug-11 17:35:41

substitute the Ofsted report for the ISI report, but all the rest will be the same.

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