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Outstanding school a bit away or good school near home?

(20 Posts)
Brunocat Wed 16-Jan-13 17:11:05

That's it really. We are moving so have quite a good choice of local schools. I've narrowed it down a bit and it seems to come to an outstanding school that is 15 minutes drive away and a good school that's five minutes drive. I'm not bothered about travelling but I'm more wondering about daughter making friends with kids that live 5 plus miles away rather than round the corner. In your experience which is better? Social life or quality of schooling?

MackerelOfFact Wed 16-Jan-13 17:14:28

Is it a primary school or a secondary school? I think I would personally go for the closer 'good' school, but if you may potentially be moving in the not-too-distant future maybe the further away school might be an option.

Have you been to see either of them? What is your general feeling about the two? Being Ofsted 'oustanding' doesn't mean it will necessarily be better for your DD than the 'good' one.

MackerelOfFact Wed 16-Jan-13 17:15:37

Oh <clocks what topic she's in> obviously it's primary! Not that it makes any difference to what I've said above. smile

Brunocat Wed 16-Jan-13 17:18:03

Going to see the schools in two weeks - just going off results and ofsted for now. Daughter's in Year 2.

ByTheWay1 Wed 16-Jan-13 17:20:16

Would go for the closer one and walk... social life is important at primary age (but not the be all and end all)

15 min drive is quite far away for walking if you intend to instil independence in Y5/6 etc by getting them to walk to school ready for secondary etc especially if there is a closer primary which is good enough...

LIZS Wed 16-Jan-13 17:20:28

Will you get any choice ?

Brunocat Wed 16-Jan-13 17:22:42

ByTheWay1 - Can't walk to either - one too far away and dual carriage way in the way for the other (no near bridge)
LIZS - at the moment they both have a couple of spaces.

Cakethrow Wed 16-Jan-13 17:22:53

Visit both and decide where your DD is best suited to.
We have 3 outstanding schools in our area and when I looked around the one that sounded best I really didn't like it.
You can't get a full picture from a visit obviously but I wouldn't rely on Ofsted reports at all.

Startail Wed 16-Jan-13 17:26:38

Go to for the one you like best OFSTED are not to be trusted, what was good-Oustanding yesterday, needs improvement today and may well be in special measures tomorrow. Same schools, same staff.

OFSTED are not to be trusted.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 16-Jan-13 18:29:33

I'd probably go for the closer one as will make your life a lot easier and the social side is important at this age. But do check them both out as it's the only way to tell how you think they will work for your child.

Mutt Wed 16-Jan-13 18:30:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JenaiMorris Wed 16-Jan-13 18:38:01

Visit, obviously. Also, when were the last Ofsted inspections?

An two+ year old Outstanding is not the same as an Outstanding today - ie a lot of schools have been downgraded to Good without actually getting any worse. Read the reports too - don't just go on the headline grading.

DS's primary was Good when he started in 2005, Outstanding by the time he left in 2012 and I would guess it'll be a Good (if they're lucky) next time grin

teacherwith2kids Wed 16-Jan-13 18:40:26


In a town with several 'Outstanding' primaries which we could have sent our children to (we were moving so could have lived near to any of them), I chose the 'Good' school.

I went round them all, and all the private schools, and the school we chose won me over completely by the fact that everything was focused on the children. Not on 'the results', not on 'the school', not on 'pleasing parents', not on 'being outstanding', but on really looking at and listening to every child and meeting their needs [including waiting 5 minutes for my then-selective-mute DS to reply to a question from the head...who then went off with a child on each hand, to "show you my school - I like it and I hope you two will too" leaving me trailing in their wake]

sunnyday123 Wed 16-Jan-13 20:41:34

I'd think of the potential for that journey to become several times a day. Dd is in year 2 at a primary 3 miles away. I do that journey 3 x a day usually because of drop offs, collection and then after school activities such as rainbows, friends for tea, going the park as presumably kids want to join clubs or socialise with their school friends and if most live near to that school then you won't just be going once or twice a day. I can do that trip 4 times in one day! - If she goes somewhere in the evening at tea time. That's 24 miles on my day off work!

I'd go closer if there's little between- my petrol is costing a fortune!

Dinkysmummy Thu 17-Jan-13 11:34:02

The best thing to do would be to go to both schools at home time before the kids come out and chat to the parents. The only people that will give you an accurate sense of the school!
My dd could and gone to 1 of 3 schools that were not ery far from where we lived. I spoke to parents whose children go to the schools. The outstanding school was indeed outstanding. And I put my dd down for that one... Hit a crisis, and the school have been what every parent I spoke said it was and more! I don't think I could ask for a better place. I'm sure your dd could have home friends and school friends and some kids in the area might even go to the 'outstanding' school.

Good luck I hope it all works out for you x

mrsscoob Thu 17-Jan-13 12:28:41

The closest one. Definitely. The reports are based on the last inspection so on the next ofsted inspection the good one might get outstanding and the outstanding one might get good.

Brunocat Thu 17-Jan-13 14:29:50

Outstanding school had Ofsted two months ago!

meditrina Thu 17-Jan-13 14:41:47

It's not just the ordinary journey time to think about - it's how reliable the route. If there are notorious bottle necks, you could become very sick of it very soon, especially if there's no other reason for you to head in that direction.

Also, what is the fallback plan for days when the car won't start, or if you're unable to drive for any reason? How long does it take to walk? Are there buses? Do neighbours have children at the more distant school?

lljkk Thu 17-Jan-13 18:40:47

in what respect is the outstanding school outstanding? If you're only declaring that on the basis of an Ofsted report, i wouldn't credit it very much.

fwiw, when I had similar choices, I chose the one closer to home.

Pyrrah Fri 18-Jan-13 00:06:15

I looked round 5 schools for the Primary application. One I visited twice (because I wanted to like it), one I send DD to the nursery and have been very pleased with it.

My first choice - that I will need to get via a waiting list - is 25 minutes on the bus from our house (central London so pretty close as the crow flies).

It is Ofsted Outstanding - as were 3 of the other 4. It is not as modern or as beautiful as some of the others, but it was amazing academically and in terms of subjects and opportunities on offer.

I went through the private system myself and had got to the point where I thought I needed to start adjusting my expectations of state education - then I visited this school and realised that I wasn't in la la land, what I wanted was actually out there.

This school has 78% EAL and over 50% FSM as well as high mobility (thank goodness as we might actually get a place), so if they can manage what they are doing so could every school in the country!

For all of the others, they were equally uninspiring and quite frankly the Satisfactory primary DD is currently at would have been my pick there if it wan't so religious that we won't get a place for Reception!

So if you look round and think wow, no contest here then go for it, if it's just based on Ofsted then go for closer to home.

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