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Primary school choice - reputation or Ofsted?

(33 Posts)
Springforward Sat 24-Mar-12 19:54:37

So - we're moving, and we have a choice of two good houses to buy.

One is on a nice estate with an "Excellent" school, the other on a nice street on the fringe of a market town with a "Satisfactory" school. Both schools seem to have excellent reputations locally, and get similar results. DS needs a primary school, both have places.

Would you bother too much about the Ofsted ratings when making a choice?

lljkk Thu 20-Jun-13 15:59:26

Would you bother too much about the Ofsted ratings when making a choice?

No. here's a tip, go back 6-7 years ago & see what Ofsted ratings the schools had then. Could you predict the rating now from back then? I bet not.

But I've never had a child at a school with Outstanding rating. maybe when you walk thru the doors the corridors are paved with gold. Every child gets 10xA* at GCSE. DD attends an Outstanding-rated High School from September. They have an impressive hairdresser-training suite and catering-training facilities.

Elibean Thu 20-Jun-13 16:09:04

I read the Ofsted reports, but went on instinct and experience of looking around and talking to the Head, and children at the schools.

We visited four primaries, and the one we chose was 'Good' in Ofsted terms - but as far as I'm concerned, it was head and shoulders 'Outstanding' in ethos and pastoral care. No regrets smile

Flicktheswitch Thu 20-Jun-13 16:15:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FadedSapphire Thu 20-Jun-13 16:24:56

So was the reputation of the outstanding school dire Flick?
As I said earlier on the thread my children go to a lovely school that some [arguably narrow minded snobs] avoid. I know 'outstanding' schools that coast on their middle class cohort and their parents who use home tutoring.
'Reputation' is a funny old thing. Also I don't think ofsted always pick up on the coasting schools or those that just teach to the test.

Flicktheswitch Thu 20-Jun-13 16:49:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

junkfoodaddict Thu 20-Jun-13 20:56:24

OFSTED are always talking rubbish! Certainly, what they are saying in the news today would suggest that all rubbish teachers teach in market towns and seaside towns because poorer children are falling behind their 'richer' counterparts. It has absolutely nothing to do with 'crap' teachers but everything to do with the perception that the poorer children's parents have of education. Of course not EVERY poor family has such a low opinion of education but a lot do. Many don't encourage their children due to their own negative experiences of schooling or have a poor educational background themselves and through embarrassment or their warped sense of 'I've done okay so my kid doesn't need to learn', they do not support their children's education.

I know of one inspection in which the lead inspector ADMITTED that the inspection he did of a school that was graded 'R.I' was political. He even said that he had been told to inspect the school before three years worth of data was available because it was likely 'not enough progress' could have been made in two years. Apparently a 25% increase in Level 4s at Y6 was not enough in two years and he even said that had he come just a few weeks later after this year's results were in, he would have graded the school as 'good', probably because HE KNEW that we would hit our targets. As it has turned out, due to external moderation, we hadve actually achieved ABOVE national average and our level 5 results are more than a third of the year group. He also purposefully inspected two supply teachers (who have no valid interest in the school)and one only took on a class on the first morning of inspection so had absolutely no idea what he was doing at first and absolutely no clue as to attainment and achievement of the class. I would also add that he had absolutely NO PRIMARY SCHOOL EXPERIENCE AT ALL and the 'lay inspector' also had no experience of some of the newer teaching methods so therefore graded a lesson as 'R.I' because she didn't about it!

So consequently, a school has a 'R.I' grading based upon an OFSTED team who came to inspect in order to discredit an LEA and to make a political statement.

The only way you can judge a school is from the very people who have daily contact with it - children and parents.OFSTED judge lessons based on just 20 minutes of an observation. How can they POSSIBLY make a judgement regarding how well children they do not know, have learnt and made progress???

Not one school, even outstanding schools, are perfect and you have to have an understanding that there may be something you may not like about the school. My child's school is judged 'Outstanding' as are, unusually, the two nearest schools. There are aspects of all three I ma not keen on but need tomake a judgement based upon my son's individual needs. One school is very pushy on targets - something I a not happy with for my son being at primary school. I want him to have arounded curriculum, in which he is gently encouraged, his well-being looked after and where learning is seen as an enjoyable experience - not one in which 4, 5 7 6 year olds etc, are constantly told their next targets to hit the next sub-level.

curryeater Thu 20-Jun-13 21:03:22

I think it matters what the "satisfactory" school was marked down on and how it relates to your child.
Some schools are markedly better at teaching the struggling, some, the opposite, will help gifted children realise their potential but not those less gifted. I think you need to read the ofsted report in detail and try to think what it means to your children, bearing in mind that it also matters how long ago the inspection was done.

Startail Thu 20-Jun-13 21:08:57

Buy the house you like, Ofsted is like that investment warning on adverts.

Past performance isn't an indicator of future success.

And remember a child can leave a school in SM with a level 5 and an outstanding one with a 4b if they hate their teacher, get bullied or stressed out trying to please.

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