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Questions to ask when looking round school?

(9 Posts)
HumpheadWrasse Wed 24-Oct-12 20:46:06

My mind has gone a bit blank. We're going to have a look round one of the two local primary schools tomorrow to decide where to send DS next September. I'm planning to look to see if there's art up on the walls, if the children are engaging with the teacher and each other nicely, if the head who's showing us round seems enthusiastic. Anything else I should ask or look out for? Thanks.

radicalsubstitution Wed 24-Oct-12 21:04:51

OK, I'm really not going to be very helpful here. I had very little choice (or none) about where DS goes to school. But, things that get MNers quite upset about are:

- do you have a healthy lunch box policy?
- do you allow any authorised absence in term time for holidays?
- do you have assemblies that include a prayer (gets some people very upset)?

But seriously, things I can think of are:

- how can I get involved in the school?
- what is your home learning policy?
- do you follow a phonics-based reading scheme?
- how do you track pupil progress as they go up through the school, and what interventions do you have in place for pupils that don't make expected progress?
- what extra-curricular activities can my child get involved with?

Can't think of any more at the moment.

Catmint Wed 24-Oct-12 21:23:12

Behaviour/reward policy.

FannyBazaar Wed 24-Oct-12 22:27:01

What happens when it rains? Yes, are they forced to stay inside and watch DVDs at lunch time incase they melt in the rain or are the allowed out?

How does the school communication information to parents? My DCs school uses newsletter and 'ask the teacher when you pick up your child', not so helpful if not picking up child...

Are there After School Clubs and from what year? How do you access these? Are there costs?

learnandsay Thu 25-Oct-12 07:53:51

We found neighbours' views of what the best school was to be our most helpful guide, and the OFSTEAD reports. There wasn't enough time with teachers to ask proper questions and the school tour was done by pupils. I did have some direct questions to ask about reading and found some teachers quite defensive. On the whole I didn't find asking questions helpful. But it's a good chance to see the school.

midseasonsale Thu 25-Oct-12 11:17:34

How bulling is dealt with

Catmint Thu 25-Oct-12 22:24:24

Keep your eyes open for signs asking for money all over the place. One school we visited was almost papered with put us right off. The school had every mod con going, but obviously screwed the cash out of parents by using their children to emotionally blackmail them. yuck.

mummytime Thu 25-Oct-12 22:36:16

Umm Catmint you might have thought that about DCs school if you are visiting right now, as they have just finally started to complete building a big project. So there are lots of posters for "Buy a Brick". However it is really low key about fund raising really.

Catmint Thu 25-Oct-12 22:42:08

mummytime - that wouldn't bother me at all! It was a while ago so i can't remember specifics, but it wasn't fundraising for things that I was comfortable with iyswim.

Also, considering the socioeconomic background of most people in this community, it just felt wrong, not that people were being given an opportunity to contribute to their school, but that the school had an over active PTA who had lost sight of the basics.

I do realise this is my preference and for some people it is more important that their children have access to climbing walls, laptops for each individual etc.

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