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Help Please! - Your views on these 2 schools

(20 Posts)
MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 18:43:07

I am an old gimmer of a mum and my DTDs are due to start reception class next September. They are in a daycare nursery at the moment which they love. The LA will be sending out all the bumf for the start of primary next month and I will have to choose. Being quite an old bag of a mum, I haven't a clue on all this choice malarkey as in my day you went to your nearest school or the nearest catholic faith school.

Based on the links - which on would you choose? Both schools have similar pupil intake and are in similar areas.

school A

school B

If you looked further into the KS results and tell me what they say to you I would be even more grateful!

funnypeculiar Fri 23-Sep-11 18:44:55

Have you been and looked round - websites are a pretty useless way to judge a school, imo.

coccyx Fri 23-Sep-11 18:47:17

old gimmer! get down to the schools and have a look around. See how you feel about them then. League tables and sats only give a point in time view.

An0therName Fri 23-Sep-11 18:52:22

are they your nearest schools and are they over suscribed - ie are you actually likely to get in? also personally your nearest school had a lot of advantages are DCs friends likely to be nearer, and easier to get to and problem

MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 19:11:43

funny, coccyx - I know, I need to go and look around and see for myself. I am just worried that I don't really know what to look for. I am assuming that all small children are lovely and all teachers very professional, motivated and caring so what do I base my decision on?

AnotherName - School A is the nearest, could walk in 10-15 mins. School B is a little further in the opposite direction and would mean a car drop off.

MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 19:12:54

Oh, and meant to add that I have no idea how to find out which schools are oversubscribed.

DontCallMeBaby Fri 23-Sep-11 19:34:36

Go and see them - the key word coccyx uses is 'feel'. You don't have to have a set list of things you're looking for, just see if the school feels good when you look round it. Some really don't, despite their OFSTEDs and SATS results, and others will feel wonderful to one parent and not right to another.

B is better on paper (outstanding OFSTED) but a walking rather than driving school run is a HUGE benefit. Visiting the schools and discovering you really like one over the other could push you in one direction and make you feel quite content with your decision (or confuse you immensely, but that's a risk you run).

Ask the schools if they're generally over-subscribed. They should tell you. Or does your day nursery have any kind of relationship with either school? The nursery DD went to is the obvious big local private nursery, as as such had a relationship with the school she's now at.

Being completely shallow, A's website makes my eyes hurt, but it does have a unicorn as its logo, which is completely cool. But B has purple uniform, likewise! ;)

MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 20:01:55

DTDs friends at nursery come from all over and will be going to primaries all over the place so I there isn't one of the 2 schools that has a greater pull on that score. I don't know anyone from around these parts - my friends either live further afield or those closer have grown up children (told you I was old grin)

3duracellbunnies Fri 23-Sep-11 20:06:26

I would recomend going under cover, the teachers prob all know when the 'tours' are happening, and make sure their classes are engaged in purposeful work. As long as you don't have to decide before christmas find out when their christmas fair is and go along to both of them, there you see all the children roaming freely, see which bunch seem less feral. You do need to commit to going to both as when you have a preschooler all primary children will seem big and bold!

I think the main things though are going to visit, there probably is a list of questions somewhere, but you will probably get a feel for it yourself anyway, also try to find some local mums maaybe at the nursery with older siblings and ask them about their experiences. Remember though what might suit one child may not suit another.

Tgger Fri 23-Sep-11 20:16:15

Go and look round. Trust your instinct as to which will suit your girls more. If there's not much in it, then go for the walking to school one- this was a high priority for me, did not want to have to drive to school!

MrsJamin Fri 23-Sep-11 20:19:22

3duracellbunnies, I love your idea of going to the Christmas fair! Genius idea.

Iwantacampervan Fri 23-Sep-11 20:39:40

I haven't looked at the school websites in detail but you may want to take into consideration how many classes in each year as you have twins. It may be too early to decide but would you want them to have to be in the same class for 7 years (one form entry) or would you like the option of putting them in separate classes.
I would look round the schools both on a formal visit and fairs etc but also consider the drive - can you park easily, what's the traffic like at 8.30 in the morning etc.
Will your daughters have friends from the nearer school who live close - important later on as they will want to walk in together.
Good luck - I'm making decisions at the other end of primary !

DilysPrice Fri 23-Sep-11 20:44:37

Dear god, School A's website is horrible. That had better have been designed by an actual 10 year old girl, because otherwise there's just no excuse.

MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 20:47:39

I wish I knew some parents. I think I'll do as suggested, go to the school as well as ask around at nursery, however the parents all seem to have their older children in my girls group.

I appreciate all the advice - I just want to make the right decision for my girls - no different to any parent but these are my PFBs wink.

MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 20:50:45

Dilys - I know! I'm trying (as suggested) not to base a decision on the websites but I agree - school As effort leaves a lot to be desired (see I knew one of my own teacher's comments about me would come in useful one day).

MirandaWest Fri 23-Sep-11 21:21:57

Hard as it is, I think you should try not to judge by the websites. Both have incorrect apostrophes though grin.

The first one, when you get to the brochure gives details of the catchment area which could be useful, although basically it depends on exactly where children live as the main criterion is normally distance, or siblings then distance. Will try and find details on the admissions part of the council website to see if they show either school being over subscribed.

Looks like both are 2 form entry I think.

MirandaWest Fri 23-Sep-11 21:40:48

Have found the online information and it looks like catchment areas are important. This is what it says

(i) ‘children looked after’ in public care for whom the school has been expressed
as a preference.
(ii) pupils permanently resident in the admission zone who express a preference
for that school (proof of address may be required).
(iii) pupils who will have a brother/or step brother and /or sister and/or step sisters
living at the same address attending the school in the following September.
(iv) pupils with exceptional social and/or medical reasons for attending the school,
which in the latter circumstances are substantiated by the LA medical advisors.
A letter from the child’s GP or other relevant professional such as a social
worker must be submitted with the application.Social reasons generally do
not include domestic arrangements such as parents working commitments
or childcare arrangements. Only exceptional circumstances such as parents
who have a disability, which may mean their child must attend a particular
school will be considered. (In this instance a letter from the parent’s GP or
other relevant professional such as a social worker must be submitted with the
application)
(v) pupils who attend the nursery of the school they wish to attend in reception.
(vi) pupils who reside closest to a particular school, “as the crow fl ies – straight line
measure”. The measure will be taken from the front door of the pupils home
to the main entrance of the school.

Looking more closely the first one has an admission number of 50 and the second one 30. Both had more applications than places although the numbers they give are for all preferences so people who put the school first, second or third. First one had 77 apply, second one 98. They show which categories children got in under - basically category 2 has most in each case with a few siblings, some who attended nursery and very few for living nearest. So looks like you need to have a good look at the school whose admission zone you fall into. I can't tell from a quick look at the website how you are meant to know (apart from the information on one of the school websites). The second school's website also gives entirely different dates for the admissions process from the council's page hmm.

MagdaMagyarMadam Fri 23-Sep-11 22:00:57

Thanks for this Miranda - I too am totally confused by school B's admission process. It seemed to be saying that one has to apply direct to the school by 23rd October as well as completing the LA application. On school A's website, the catchment area is stated and we would fall into that but I can't find school B's. What I don't understand is if it is all down to catchment area then why am I being required to make a choice of 3 schools?

I have sent school B an email. I can't send an email to school A as there is no email address to be found anywhere on their website.

MirandaWest Fri 23-Sep-11 22:12:16

I think it isn't all catchment area, but that it is a very important part. I think maybe there used to be different admissions times as School B seems to say you would find out by end of February whereas the council says it would be later (and that you need to apply by 15th January). I would call the council and ask about the admission zones and how you can find them out for each school.

Clary Sat 24-Sep-11 00:30:44

The thing is about catchment areas that you can apply to any school you like - but you are most likely to get a place in yr catchment area school (assuming you put it on the form).

My DCs school has some years with a very low intake (PAN is 80) - eg DS2's year, there are only about 55, so if you lived 10 miles away you would get a place in that year.

If you are a car drive (so 2+ miles? in a city?) from a school with an intake of 30 which had 98 applications last year then I would imagine you are unlikely to get in. I agree tho, find out how likelybefore you apply or fall in love with a school you are nowhere near. Is the other school your catchment area one? If not I would put it on the list or you may end up with something miles away and unsuitable.

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