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Other parents being very, very negative about DD1's school - is it terrible that I don't share the same concerns?

(23 Posts)
manchestermummy Mon 25-Mar-13 11:53:31

DD1 started reception this September and to me seems to be doing really well. Loving numeracy work, clicking with reading, doing some excellent writing, making friends (she knew no-one at the start) and is growing in every way. We're delighted with her progress and she's happy.

However, what's really bothering me is the negativity of the other parents, which is making me feel that I should have cause for concern. School was OfSTEDed recently and didn't do fabulously (on a parr with the previous report) and some of the parents are up in arms. I tend to take these reports with a bit of a pinch of salt and the weaknesses of the school were noted to be in progress with improvement, which was then marked as a strength, IYSWIM. In particular, the report mentioned that provision for more able pupils isn't as good as it should be and pupils are coasting at the top of the school. DD1 is more able (not saying this just has her mother!), but I'm not too worried about this because she won't be in Y5/6 for a good few years. Besides which, her teacher has told me that DD1 is being set more challenging work.

When I mention to the parents that we're happy, they look at me like I have two heads, and I am beginning to wonder if I am being too niave about the whole thing. Is my daughter destined to not do very well at this school? We don't really have any alternatives (not that I'd want to move her), but I'm having problems listening to all the moaning which to me, does not seem justified.

ZZZenAgain Mon 25-Mar-13 11:57:47

what specifically are the other parents worried about?

Moominsarehippos Mon 25-Mar-13 12:00:30

Some parents love a good whinge! As children get older and closer to exams, the more bothered they get.

manchestermummy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:02:12

Website not being updated (but we still do get plenty of information, and teachers/admin staff are very approachable), able pupils being 'allowed to coast', lack of visibility of governor's meetings minutes, the fact that we don't have parents' evenings but a parents day where you meet with the teacher during an inset day.

Besides the first point, which I agree could be better, it's surely all stuff that can be sorted? There's a very similar thread about 8 per cent of children moving schools due to a poor OFSTED. Interesting!

manchestermummy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:03:30

DD1 is bound not to do well at this school as it's clear her mother can't spell. I meant naive, obviously!

LauraShigihara Mon 25-Mar-13 12:08:32

DS's school is supposed to be the useless school in the area, and all the local 'keen' parents do what they can to keep their children out of it. There is a mad scramble every year to get the children from naice families into the church schools in the surrounding villages.

So there was much chuntering from local friends when I sent DS to the terrible school with all the deprived families. ('Really, Laura, I am shocked!')

I think it's a great school - the children are polite and friendly, the staff are great and it has a fantastic family astmosphere. The Ofsted reports have been horrible in the past, but tbh I didn't recognise my experience of the school in those reports at all. And the latest report says the school has picked up enormously.

If it feels right for you and your DD, it probably is right.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 12:09:46

"In particular, the report mentioned that provision for more able pupils isn't as good as it should be and pupils are coasting at the top of the school."

Our children were in a school ike that which was very nice in so many ways and it doesnt matter so much in Reception. It will matter a lot more to you to the point of irritation beyond measure by the time you get to Yr 4 if you have a bright child.

It will drive you to move schools if your child has to do exams to get into private of grammar in Yr6. My advice is make yiur move at end of Yr 2 at the latest and make sure you work with her at home. Ask for extra 'stretch' work to take home or do in class from the teachers but do expect a negative response.

In fact, I was talking to a woman about this a few weeks ago saying exactly the same thing. Her child is in Yr 3 and she feels the school is coasting along with the bright children not being stretched but everyone is having a 'lovely time' and it is a very happy school.

She is seriously thinking of moving her DS but was asking whether she was unreasonable to expect him to have a grasp of at least soem of his timetables by Yr 3. I think she will eventually move him in Yr 4 because he faces entrance exams in Yr 6.

ZZZenAgain Mon 25-Mar-13 12:10:55

provision for helping able dc to progress further is quite important but the other things don't sound too bad. Would be good to know someone on the board of governors perhaps.

Poledra Mon 25-Mar-13 12:11:14

My mother is a retired primary school teacher. She is of the opinion that an able child will do well at a 'good enough' school at primary level as parents who are involved and interested in their child's education fill in the gaps for a more able child. So, by providing books at home, 'educational' days out, extracurricular activities and so on, the more able child can be challenged at home.

This is not the case for secondary BTW, just primary.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 25-Mar-13 12:14:03

We picked the less (currently) popular of our two catchment schools, and I think a few people raised eyebrows.

I think that a large part of the unpopularity is because our HT is disabled, and people don't know how to approach it. The fact that she is a brilliant teacher and really gets the kids seems neither here nor there for some people.

We are so happy with how DS is progressing, he is very bright (schools words, not ours) and they are stretching him and letting him be himself. He has come on leaps and bounds in all areas since starting in September.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 12:16:06

manchestermuumy - and another thing. The Ofsted reports also pull their punches. Any slight criticism is in reality something that is a serious issue.

Take the criticism and advice of the more experienced parents seriously as they have lived through years at the school more than you have. I used to think exactly like you are now. Questioning whther I was being too 'pushy' and telling myuslef our children were at a lovely school having a lovely time. We had teachers tell us all the things you are now being told.

It was a big mistake. I should have taken more notice of the parents that were actually leaving and going down the road with their bright children. We got the message eventually and thank goodness we did.

Beamur Mon 25-Mar-13 12:16:24

My DD is at a lovely little school, but it has had a few problems. But, get together a group of Mums and all you hear are the moans! But once we've all had a vent, we generally agree that actually, it's a nice place, the kids are doing all right and no-one is actually thinking of taking their kids anywhere else.
I think if you have a a school where Ofsted had flagged up issues and that the school are actively tackling them, then I wouldn't worry too much - and if it does bother you - maybe do something constructive like become a Governor.

lljkk Mon 25-Mar-13 12:20:59

Anything flagged up in the report they will work hard on, those are the things you need to worry least about.

Lancelottie Mon 25-Mar-13 12:22:58

Will it matter hugely for secondary?

This is a genuine question btw. Some MNers live in the sort of area where you tutor like mad to get a private or grammar place and avoid the local school. Others live in a rural spot where it's one, usually fine, melting pot comp or a two-hour drive every day.

Oh, and we had one of ours at an Ofsted outstanding-in-all-categories one and moved him out after a year. Maybe he'll achieve less highly. I dunno. But he's a whole lot happier.

manchestermummy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:24:36

She won't be going to a grammar - not unless we win the lottery. The problem is that we simply do not have an alternative school. There are three other schools in the vicinity: one of C of E, one is Catholic, and one is outstanding only because it gets children who start school at way below any sort of average to something approximating average. The former two are complete no-nos. The C of E isn't that great and I'm Jewish so the Catholic school's out too.

Another criticism made by OFSTED was that there are not enough trips out. MoreBeta I am under no illusions that the school is perfect, but it's seems to be suiting my daughter. Beamur I actually would consider that, should the opportunity arise.

manchestermummy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:03

We are over the road from a secondary that was very, very good, went downhill, and has started to pull its socks up.

learnandsay Mon 25-Mar-13 12:38:19

I've seen much said of the fact that the biggest factor in a child's success is parental involvement and not the school per se. That said, I'd rather have parental involvement and a good school. (But I'd rather not have no parental involvement and a private school or an outstanding school.)

Mopswerver Mon 25-Mar-13 12:54:15

Go with your gut. If your child appears to be happy and doing well then why move? It's Primary school! Don't forget that these reports have to take in all sorts of factors. Some children will never reach "the top of the school" no matter which school it may be but they may be fulfilling their potential....which is the important thing.

I appreciate that if your child is able then you don't want them to overlook her to concentrate on getting the less able up to scratch (and I know that this does go on) but that is something that doesn't seem to be a concern right now and you can keep an eye on.

My DDs are both able and went to a "lovely primary school" where they had a "happy time". Sure we did a bit of work at home and used a few online sites but not excessively. Result One ended yr 6 with one Level 6 & the rest 5's. My youngest looks set to get three 5's and a 4. Not bad considering they had a "lovely time" too. Although by MN standards that may be "disastrous"! hmm

redskyatnight Mon 25-Mar-13 12:54:52

Anything picked up by Ofsted will be focussed on by the school (DD's school had a previous OFsted which criticised teaching of writing when she was in REception. She's now in Y2 and her writing teaching has been amazing). But it's worth keeping an eye on it.

ALso worth saying that some parents just react to Ofsted reports. When DD's school got a less than impressive report there were lots of parents (who'd previously been very happy with the school) shaking their heads and mumbling about wishing they hadn't sent their DC there.

Elibean Mon 25-Mar-13 13:02:21

I think it depends a lot on what sort of Headship team and Governors your school has, OP.

Ours is just as you describe, and has had similar weaknesses - personally, I love the place and value what it does provide more than I worry about what it doesn't do so well. But I have got involved, am a parent gov, and know that the school is working very hard (with results) to improve provision for able children - for example - so I keep an eye on those areas, but I do not worry.

And yes, there IS time for lots to change in time for your dd to be stretched when she gets older - and you can keep an eye on that situation, and even get involved to make sure it happens, maybe.

I hate fruitless negativity, myself. Of course there are important criticisms that need to be listened to - and checked up on or acted upon. But there is often an awful lot of gossipy, panicky, out of date nonsense too - at least, IME. So unconstructive.

The ones whose opinions I respect (parents and school) are the ones who notice weaknesses and work on them, and celebrate the strengths. I would listen to those, and try to just smile and ignore the others.

JuliaScurr Mon 25-Mar-13 19:26:15

dd's last primary was a bad school. Her previous two (good schools) both ended in school refusal/phobia. She was cured by the bad school and passed 11+

Kazooblue Mon 25-Mar-13 19:41:28

Depends.If you have a head and govs that aren't arrogant,except criticism and inform/listen to parents then stay put.If not run for the hills.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Mon 25-Mar-13 19:50:26

I said on the 8% thread that if the ofsted report states things the parents were already worried about then it will resonate with them and make them think of changing as they see it as a school issue not a single child issue.

If this report shows little progress on the last one hey may be running out of patience.

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