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Help me choose please? (sorry, long)

(3 Posts)
xkcdfangirl Thu 10-Jan-13 19:41:46

You know how when you toss a coin (or get someone else to choose) you suddenly know what you actually want? Could you please express your opinion on these two - we have to decide in the next few days.

Both these schools will definitely be in positions #1 and #2 in our choices but I don't know which to put first.

School A:
CofE Voluntary Controlled school, positioned on the edge of a leafy bohemian yummy mummy area but also on the borders of a quite rough area so has a very mixed intake. Has recently been OFSTED unsatisfactory and in special measures, but is now considered "good". Seems lovely when we looked around and children seem happy and enthusiastic. It's the school I always though we would be likely to choose but when it came to it (before we started looking) but we had some concerns - the head teacher wasn't involved in the open day which rang alarm bells - during the "special measures" period they abandoned doing forest school and some other enrichment things - the library seems very sparcely stocked - friend-of-a-friend who is a primary school teacher elsewhere in the area claims that the "turn around" focussed on just solving the issues that OFSTED prioritised but didn't address what she described as "deeper problems" and says that the school still has serious unaddressed issues which I haven't been able to get elaborated on. we have since met the headteacher who seemed lovely and she was able to respond to each concern in a very persuassive way.

School B:
State primary school, on a different edge of the same yummy-mumy area where it borders a less-rough but quite down-at-heel area. Considered "satisfactory" by OFSTED as at 18 months ago but likely to be on the way up - a new permanent head teacher has been in post for a year now ending the interegnum which there was at the time of the last OFSTED. He showed us around on open day and we were really impressed with his enthusiasm. Same f-o-a-f mentioned above raves about what a brilliant reputation this man has and how marvellous the school is going to become any-day-now. The library has twice the space and stock of school #1. DS loudly proclaims this is the school he wants to go to - but this appears to be solely on the grounds that it has a more interesting climbing frame in the playground. They do forest school. Concerns are that they have very little outdoor space and no greenery nearby, being wedged between roads and the outdoor play areas are little more than gaps between the buildings, not big enough for serious running-about if all the kids are out there - and that at open day the head spent an awful lot of time talking about how good they are at getting unachieving pupils to achieve, and when I asked about stretching and interesting pupils who are already achieving he said that they acknowledge that is something they aren't so good at. A local mum I know a little (not a close friend) turns out to be a governer there, and when I mentioned that concern she said "yes that is a fair comment" and din't defend it - so I kind of feel that's confirmed.

There's nothing to choose between them in terms of distance/convenience/uniform etc. Our distance to them and their typical maximum-radius-of-catchment are about equal so whichever one we choose it is possible we could get the other (if there are an untypically high number of 3-4y-o in the area it is possible we may get neither but we know what our #3 choice is)

Which of these would you put as first choice?

catastrophewaitress Thu 10-Jan-13 21:08:55

At the margin, School B. Because of the HT. But doesn't sound like there is much in it tbh, both schools sound fine. Good luck.

admission Thu 10-Jan-13 22:58:24

Actually I think it is time for your gut feeling as to which one, not what is being said. Each has its pluses and minuses and you have catalogued those, I don't think that there is an obvious "winner" based on what you have said. In terms of your gut, which gave you the better feel, which had the better displays on the wall of recent work.
If I was choosing, I would go with school B. The reason, being that head showed you around and was interested. I would be concerned that the head at school A was not involved in the open day. That is actually one of the most important days of the year for any school and if they do not understand that then, they would not get my vote.
The one thing I would not chose it on is your sons wish to climb on the climbing frame at school B.

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