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Questions to ask when visiting primary schools

(7 Posts)
phoneticcak Tue 11-Oct-11 23:19:37

We will moving to another borough in the new year and as DS has just started Reception and other DS will be starting nursery after January application deadlines I really don't think we will get in the popular highly rated schools sad.

I'm going to look at all schools with available places, but I was wondering what questions I should be asking schools on visits/ tours with regards to teaching and learning to help me with my decision?

Hope you can provide me with tips, muchos gratiassmile

sunnydaylucy Wed 12-Oct-11 12:13:35

No advice, sorry. I logged in specifically to look for answers to this question! Moving area in the new year and have school visits tomorrow in a different county. Will keep watching with interest. :-)

phoneticcak Wed 12-Oct-11 17:16:38

I'll bump up to see if anyone has any tips, thanks

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 12-Oct-11 19:06:16

Off the top of my head:

How big are the classes? How many classes per year? How do you differentiate for different abilities? What clubs are offered? Is there any before/after school care (if relevant)? What are the expectations for homework? How do they help new children integrate quickly?

Are the displays up to date? Do the children seem happy, confident, polite, secure? Is there an atmosphere of happy busy-ness? How do the teachers and pupils relate to each other? Are there interesting things to play with in the playground?

And - less seriously - what are the classes called? We looked at one infant school with a green and yellow uniform. The Yr2 child who showed us around very gravely announced "I'm in Courgette Class". Just couldn't quite shift the mental image of all these little green-and-yellow courgettes learning their times tables .... grin

yellowsubmarine41 Wed 12-Oct-11 19:44:41

Another detail - check how clean the toilets are if you get a chance.

phoneticcak Thu 13-Oct-11 21:38:23

Thanks all, am amused about the toilet check!

yellowsubmarine41 Fri 14-Oct-11 11:55:47

Seriously, a friend of mine works in an 'outstanding' school in which the children's toilets really smell. The head and senior management are aware of it, but more interested in the SATS data pouring out of their printers.

It says something about the school's priorities and how much they value the day to day life of the children, I would say.

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