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How did you decide which school to apply to?

(13 Posts)
verybusyspider Sat 03-Sep-11 00:24:20

wondered what people looked for and how you know if it suits your child... we're a bit clueless... anyone sent siblings to different schools?

madwomanintheattic Sat 03-Sep-11 01:21:38

when dd1 started school we googled town/ school and there were two. one was catholic and we aren't, so we applied to the other one.

then we moved and there was one school in the villagre where we were living, but it was 80% ESL, or a school in the other village which was full of white middle class children. we went for the nearest and were a bit worried about the ESL issue, but the support was fabtastic.

then we moved and we googled town/ schools again. so there were a few but the catchment school was in special measures. we visited in and the HT told us that our children (dd1 needed y2 place and ds1 needed a yr r place) would not be sufficiently stimulated and we should not send them there. so we chose the next nearest school to the house, and the next next nearest as a back-up. we had to be waiting list as there were no spaces.

then dd1 went to juniors in the next county (the y3 place for our address was still the all-through primary that the HT had told us not to send her to) as she wouldn't have been allocated a place anywhere within walking distance. and dd2 started at the same school as ds1 (who was yr 2 then).

then we moved again and there was only one school within a 45 minute drive, so they all went to the same one. it was bliss.

then we moved again and there was a state or catholic option. the catholic school couldn't confirm whether they could take ds1 until mid-sept, so we went for the state options. so dd1 is at the elementary and dd2 and ds1 are at the middle school.

i think choice is a bit of a luxury. grin we've been fine just going to whichever school was nearest tbh (with the exception of the one the HT told us not to go to lol). dd1 is in her sixth or seventh school (i lose count) in yr7, sue to our moves, but she's happy, well adjusted, and on the regional register for more able children. grin (as are the other two but they're only in third schools or whatever)

so no huge advice really. most schools are fine. and no choice is forever. having siblings at different schools is a pita. with the exception of sn, i wouldn't bother, for your sanity.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 03-Sep-11 08:04:16

go round the schools on normal working days and see how it feels. Your gut will tell you a great deal.

twinklytroll Sat 03-Sep-11 08:06:53

I agree choice is a luxury, dd went to the school that had space and would admit her.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 04-Sep-11 11:17:46

We have sent both of ours to the same school, which is also the nearest one to us. According to the league tables its not the best in our town or the worst but DS is very happy there and so we are hoping DD will be too.

My advice is to google the local schools then to go and visit them and make your own mind up. Don't put too much store in ofted reports either, our local pre-school has outstanding and I wouldn't let them look after a dog never mind a child. Go with what you feel, you need somewhere that your child will feel happy and relaxed more than anything.

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 04-Sep-11 12:56:29

Decided we would definitely go for the local school come what may. Then read lots of Ofsted reports. Discovered that the nearest school's report was pants compared to all the others which were glowing. Had a bit of a wobble.

Visited them all. Discovered that of the five that we visited, there were only two where we had a "gut feeling" that DD would be happy there. One was the nearest one - the other was an awkward drive away.

Took a deep breath and ignored Ofsted. Applied to our local school after all.

That was five years ago. Have never looked back.

And no, I wouldn't send siblings to different schools unless there was a very, very good, cast-in-stone reason to. The logistics would be way too awkward.

HoneyPablo Sun 04-Sep-11 12:59:19

I don't drive, so it was always the nearest one.
With high school, there is only one in our town, so didn't really get a choice.

RandomMess Sun 04-Sep-11 13:07:49

verybusyspider the first thing you need to do is work out which ones you are likely to get into!!!! If you leave anywhere near me there is a complete shortage of spaces full stop so even you look around and think you like x y z you have to put down your nearest couple of schools else you risk getting a very poor school miles and miles away.

If you have the luxury of potential preference then yes visit them, have a look around and get a feel.

tallulah Sun 04-Sep-11 19:44:28

At one point all 4 of our older children were at different schools. What suits one won't necessarily suit another.

This time round we visited the 4 nearest schools. The very closest one we really didn't like. Y5 and Y6 were shouting and screeching in their classrooms when we visited, and there was just something about it I didn't like. The head was new and "begged" us to consider the school but despite taking my details never did send us a prospectus. So we discounted that one.

The other 3 we applied for in order of distance. We got our second choice.

MissBetsyTrotwood Sun 04-Sep-11 20:51:55

I did like AChicken and ignored Ofsted, going with the gut instinct. Has been Ok so far.

I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer to hear the KS1 children read though, so got to go into several different classes for half an hour twice a week for a year before we applied. Tbh, there was one class I'd have worked hard to get DS1 out of had he been in it, but the rest seemed to have good, experienced teachers and pupils who were happy and learning well.

An0therName Sun 04-Sep-11 21:32:21

we lived in a village and any other school would have been a nightmare for logistics -school pick up etc. I also wanted DS to go the local school for friendships etc. I knew people who's DCs where happy there and Ofsted was good. I choose 2 others as insurance but we lived really near the school so I was pretty confident he would get in.
But if you are not sure - do visit - and do bear in mind that the child's background and support from parents will have a huge inflence
the council should provide info on how many children applied last year and how far from the school they lived -if over subcrisbed

MuddlingMackem Mon 05-Sep-11 00:55:41

We just put the local school, didn't even bother with a second choice as the logistics for any of the other schools would be a nightmare. Not a problem getting ds in, back then the school was undersubscribed, but by dd's application for this year we were relieved to get a sibling place as it was oversubscribed. Still didn't put a second choice for the same reasons as previously though.

It's not considered the best school in the area as there are people who turn up their noses at it, but that really is their loss as it's a lovely school with a community vibe and good teaching, despite it being in a deprived area. We're very happy with it so far. smile

beautifulgirls Mon 05-Sep-11 10:52:43

Definately gut instinct on visiting for us. We were lucky enough to be close to two schools that we were likely to get into and had a choice in that respect, but not everyone does. Make sure one of the choices on your form is a school you are likely to get allocated into if you don't get the other choices, otherwise you will be allocated a school you don't necessarily like and could be miles away.

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