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Arggh!! School dilema - reception

(37 Posts)
Brunocat Wed 24-Aug-11 13:34:00

Back story - didn't get a place at outstanding village school due to huge number of siblings, got dire third choice. Eventually got a place at an outstanding school but this is four miles away but stayed on local waiting lists. Now we have been offered a place at a school two miles away that is good - don't know much about it but haven't heard anything negative.

Think I should stick with the outstanding school that is further away but is it better having a local school?

seeker Wed 24-Aug-11 13:37:01

My advice? Don't go by ofsted. Go by feel. And local is really important. Why is the third choice dire?

azazello Wed 24-Aug-11 13:40:36

Which one do you like most? Do you know other people with DCs at both / either who you could talk to?

Brunocat Wed 24-Aug-11 13:44:25

Haven't been to the new school we have been offered - didn't look around it originally as it is out of catchment and normally over-subscribed. Don't know anyone with children at either.
The third choice was dire because:
Didn't like it when I looked around - no atmosphere
Results not brilliant.
Ofsted -satisfactory

seeker Wed 24-Aug-11 14:03:52

S satisfactory is just that- satisfactory. Not dire.

seeker Wed 24-Aug-11 14:05:09

You really mustn't send your child to a school you haven't seen.

redskyatnight Wed 24-Aug-11 14:20:51

Well my DC go to a "satisfactory" school which doesn't get great results (due to intake being below average) but it is a fantastic school. Lack of atmosphere would bother me, as long as you are sure that you weren't just hung up on the Ofsted rating before you looked round.

Is the "dire" school local? Because tbh going 2 miles or 4 miles means getting in a car so neither really gives you "local" benefits.

If you liked the "outstanding" school and you know absolutely nothing about the other one you've been offered I wouldn't jump ship tbh - why didn't you consider this school when you were making your original choice - is this reason still valid.

Brunocat Wed 24-Aug-11 14:31:20

The 'dire' school is out of the picture! We have a place at the outstanding school. Could get a place at the 'dire' school again if we wanted it as it has ten places spare...

We have looked around the school we have accepted (the one that is four miles away) We have been to all the induction sessions and like it. The only reason I have niggles about it is because it is the other side of town and neither of us (My child or me) know anything about the other parents / children or much about the area.

The school that is more local has a few children and parents that we would know.

munstersmum Wed 24-Aug-11 15:52:10

My serious recommendation - talk to your hairdresser. They seem to get all the inside info on such matters & will have clients from across your town.

Also playing devil's advocate - I have 2 friends with kids in 2 diff primary schools both in special measures. Parents are happy because things are being done to improve & communication has really opened up. Ten spare places means nice class size?

Brunocat Wed 24-Aug-11 17:31:21

Yes, but nice class size in a not very nice school!

cat64 Wed 24-Aug-11 17:56:42

Message withdrawn

TheMitfordsMaid Wed 24-Aug-11 17:59:55

Personally I'd go for the school that you've discounted as dire. Driving to school is a pain in the neck, and there is a lot to be said for having a mate around the corner.

Brunocat Wed 24-Aug-11 18:16:26

We would still have to drive to the dire school. His school friends would still be two miles away.
The drive to the outstanding school is across the fields so there shouldn't be too much traffic.

CustardCake Wed 24-Aug-11 18:24:23

I don't think you should go to a school that you have visited and dislike - that is just silly. Why would anyone do that?

If you have to drive for both then go with the option you prefer best. BUT you do need a visit so you can compare properly. Just because the school with the worst Ofsted report matched its reputation when you visited doesn't mean the outstanding one will. Being outstanding might mean it is red hot on paperwork and has an intake of tutored children so their results are good. It is perfectly possible to have soulless yet outstanding rated schools.

seeker Wed 24-Aug-11 19:30:07

Please don't go on calling a school dire! It really, puts me off trying to help you, particularly when one of the reasons for you calling it dire is that it is "satisfactory.

Brunocat Thu 25-Aug-11 06:03:24

Seeker - then don't help me! You haven't been to the 'dire' school and I have. It is dire. If the thought of sending your child to a school makes a normally unemotional person want to cry then I can call it dire if I want to. The school hasn't really improved for several years and anyone who can send their child anywhere else does so.

I really don't understand why parents would be happy with an average school for their child when they can have something much better just by getting in the car twice a day.

The original question was if it was worth travelling for ten minutes to get to a really excellent school or travel five minutes to get to a good local school.

hayleysd Thu 25-Aug-11 06:43:22

We live in a town and my son goes to a village school about 4 miles away, I liked it because they have a toddler group so my 19 month old loves going then nursery then school, also small class sizes up until a couple of months ago there were only 4 in my sons year group which means he gets 3 x as much one to one with his teacher than at the town school which did his speech problems the world of good, they have a good ofsted rating but I just liked the school, I didn't know anyone but you would soon get chatting or your child will make friends

Sofabitch Thu 25-Aug-11 06:47:29

At infant level. Ofsted is so insignificant in terms of how well children perform. In fact even at senior school. You need to judge a school on more than just ofsted

Bonsoir Thu 25-Aug-11 07:16:23

As other posters have said, you (a) must visit the school (b) must talk to other parents with children at the school. I would always be inclined to prefer a better school farther away from home to a less good school nearer home, especially when the difference in distance is a matter of minutes, but whether there is a real difference between the schools is not solely the imprecise judgement of Ofsted.

Brunocat Thu 25-Aug-11 07:25:19

Can't really visit the school though as it doesn't open for two weeks. Also if I did manage to visit it now it wouldn't be a true reflection as the children and staff won't be there.

Bonsoir Thu 25-Aug-11 07:30:37

You can still go and take a look at the outside and assess outdoor facilities, general level of upkeep, neighbourhood etc which are all vital statistics! And if there are parents and children in the local park/playground, try to talk to them and get the lowdown!

Brunocat Thu 25-Aug-11 07:36:54

Already now what the outside of the school looks like as I drive past it nearly every day. The neighbourhood of both schools is very good. The school that is nearer is a bit cramped inside but I don't know how cramped whereas the further away school has lots of room.

scrappydappydoo Thu 25-Aug-11 07:39:13

Has your dd done induction at school 4 miles away? and are you intending to stay on the waiting list for local school with aim of moving her when a space becomes available? If she has done induction I would be inclined to a keep her in a school she is familiar with and you know you are happy especially if you are still thinking about moving her eventually.

EBDteacher Thu 25-Aug-11 08:38:07

I would go to the school 4 miles away if you've been and liked it and it has a good report.

Results don't matter. Reports do (if you read them carefully). If a school ends up with satisfactory because not every i was dotted and t crossed on their paperwork it may well still be a fantastic school. If they get satisfactory because the teaching or the pastoral care is average then I wouldn't call satisfactory good enough.

I'm a teacher and, due to at one point in my career having had an LA support role, have taught in many primary schools. I'd drive a long, long way for a really good one. Sadly (and I know I'll get flamed for this) there aren't many.

CustardCake Thu 25-Aug-11 09:37:48

EBD is right - in theory a perfectly lovely school with good teaching can be let down by poor admin and paperwork porotocol and therefore get a lesser grade with Ofsted
BUT its silly to pretend there aren't dire schools out there with a satisfactory ratings because there are! The type of schools where even the teachers admit they would walk over hot coals to avoid sending their own kids there (we know some!).

As a car journey is inevitable and you know you like the school you've been allocated and the journey their won;t be too bad in the traffic, I would go for that one and discount the one that's slightly nearer that you haven't visited, that has a lower rating and has more cramped facilities and is in more traffic to get to.

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