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Finally made our decision to leave our "outstanding" primary school

(53 Posts)
1969Sarah Fri 29-Mar-13 19:36:17

When many parents don't see (don't know) what the two faced head is really like and even most of the staff are too scared to speak out against the current regime it's so very hard to have the courage of your convictions and trust your instinct that things are not right.

The school Is rated outstanding (from a few years ago) and every communication is full of cleverly worded spin. On the surface all looks good. But a senior governor has an unhealthily close relationship with the head and between them they overrule everything and everyone. Their behaviour includes constant lies and distortion that I barely thought possible in a local village school. It used to be such an honest little primary where the children came first.

Now, just recently a few staff have (quietly) spoken out and even the school questionnaire results showed that ten percent of parents felt unable to raise issues with the school (Head) and people are actually starting to leave. Two members of staff have even taken their childten out. Only half the questionnaires were returned as its almost impossible to do so anonymously is such a small school community and people who have experienced the Head's defensiveness first hand have given up trying to influence change. There seem to be a lot more unhappy parents although many still blissfully unaware.

After many sleepless nights as yet another and another failing has come to light we have made the decision to take the children out. Surely this must all come crashing down. How they manage to get away with it is shocking. It's so wrong.

1969Sarah Fri 29-Mar-13 19:40:15

Sorry. Not sure what happened with the title (mobile phone gremlins). It should have just read... Finally made our decision to leave our "outstanding" primary school.

idril Fri 29-Mar-13 21:51:45

We left an "outstanding" primary school (to go to a "good" one) 2 years ago and it was without doubt the right decision.

It was a very horrible time though making the decision and then the first few months of changing schools when everything is new to you and your child and you wonder whether you've done the right thing.

I'm sure you've made the right decision from the your description.

Leeds2 Fri 29-Mar-13 22:28:57

Absolutely, you have made the right decision for your children.

TomDudgeon Fri 29-Mar-13 22:38:50

Not in norfolk are you?

Sorry it's happening to you too

titchy Fri 29-Mar-13 23:21:13

Or 'O' village in Surrey?

MrsShrek3 Fri 29-Mar-13 23:28:07

good decision.
my dc are at an "outstanding" primary - which isn't anywhere near as good as the "good" school I work in, on many many levels. OFSTED grading is worth far less than your gut instinct.

lostintoys Sat 30-Mar-13 07:54:48

We left a very sought after Outstanding school for a much less popular Good school, after a lot of soul-searching. Best thing we ever did. Interestingly, we started a bit of an exodus.

1969Sarah Sat 30-Mar-13 08:12:26

Wow! Thank you for the messages of reassurance. It is hard being a parent and making such enormous decisions especially when you are surrounded by others not seeing what you do or making the same choices.

I am not in the O village in Surrey or Norfolk - is the same really going on in other places? I am shocked enough that these people live in a world of lies and cover up let alone that there maybe others elsewhere. This is young children's education not adult politics. Our Head even blanks me in front of my children! She/he hates the fact that I have seen through the spin. They do an outstanding job - of fooling Ofsted.

DeafLeopard Sat 30-Mar-13 08:15:46

Shall I throw "B" school in Northants into the mix? Everyone thought we were mad but our DC have been much much happier since

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 30-Mar-13 08:25:29

And i'll add another not-yet-mentioned one into the arena too.

It was the best thing we did to move our DCs. The head liked to make things very uncomfortable for parents who saw through the spin.

I also nolonger have the belief that you can judge a school by its Ofsted report.

MoreBeta Sat 30-Mar-13 08:32:09

1969Sarah - you are doing the right thing and I think this is much more common problem than you might imagine.

There is an 'outstanding' Primary in a neaby town to us with good Ofsted etc. It is a school that parents fight to get their children into because frankly in some cases they think it will save them Prep school fees up to age 11 and then they can flip them to private school afterwards at Year 7. The Head is very charismatic and does a fantastic job of marketing the school. He says everything any parent would want to hear. He emphasis creativity, nurturing the whole child, everyone is an individual, learning through exploration and all the other trendy 'edu speak'.

There is though one tiny problem..... average ability children are coming out of school at year 6 unable to do their times tables and barely able in some cases to read and write. The Head is so busy pushing his trendy education agenda that the school is failing to cover the basics and some parents have come to realise this but dare not speak out.

The reality is that parents are having the wool pulled over their eyes and those that do figure it out just quietly leave and put their children into local faith schools with more traditional teaching approaches.

Kazooblue Sat 30-Mar-13 09:33:28

Hmm it isn't just Outstanding schools this is happening in.Ours was Outstanding and is now Satisfactory as the data just couldn't lie.

We have a head who is a master of spin and a crap manger. Now Ofsted have twigged how many kids weren't achieving age related expectations(school just relied on intake)everything is being chucked at the problem which decent management and consistency could have sorted in the first place. Only problem is now those achieving age related and above nobody gives even less of a hoot about.

Head who has utterly naive governors(far too incestuous to be effective) and church in palm of his hand refuses to hear any criticism what so ever,consistently blames children and is frankly not very nice.If he is an example of Christianity you can keep it.

Soooo many parents fed up but don't say anything and they keep parental information to an absolute minimum.You have to fight and are intimidated for any info re your own dc that other schools give out readily.

I'm just staggered this is allowed to happen.

What to do though,as kids have grown up with their peers,space in other schools limited,transport etc,etc?

Kazooblue Sat 30-Mar-13 10:03:27

Is it that easy to leave,I know a few others are muttering about it but how easy actually is it? Settling,academically going through a change etc?Does it take long?

1969Sarah Sat 30-Mar-13 10:20:32

Our school ensure teachers "adjust" levels so that they can show progress.

Badvoc Sat 30-Mar-13 10:22:41

Did the same 3 years ago!
It's been great so far.
Went from an outstanding school to a satisfactory one.
Popel thought we were mad.
Interestingly, the outstanding school has just been rated satisfactory and the satisfactory one rated as good.
Not that that means anything, of course.
I would never judge a school on its ofsted report ever again.

Kazooblue Sat 30-Mar-13 10:23:32

We never get levels written down and last time we asked at parents evening they hadn't done latest assessments.hmm

Surely Ofsted should check up on this kind of thing?

MoreBeta Sat 30-Mar-13 10:27:07

I know of one school that hand picks the parents who fill in the Ofsted questionnaire and the Governors there are very close to the Head as well and totally ineffective.

Kazooblue Sat 30-Mar-13 10:27:56

Oh and we don't see work at parents evenings,have no open days, zero targets(unless you ask),they've stopped the parents forum etc.

I could write a looooong list of info we don't get but I'm sure you're familiar with it.

Kazooblue Sat 30-Mar-13 10:28:52

Weirdly it's comforting to see we're not alone in being hacked

DameFanny Sat 30-Mar-13 10:29:24

Our school isn't even being visited by ofsted as it was rated outstanding. 3 years ago before the new head came in. hmm

Levantine Sat 30-Mar-13 10:32:57

Interesting. W moved ds1 from an outstanding school - though we were moving house anyway. It was the school everyone in our old area wanted but was totally overrated IMO. The good school he is at is far far better, better teaching, better relationship between school and parents, better facilities

Frikadellen Sat 30-Mar-13 10:39:27

We did the same for dd2 and it was without a doubt the right decision (was an infant school and dd1 was out of it by then)

DS was not sent to the school either despite us living in Surrey within 500 yards of the " outstanding adds 10K to your property" school It is 8 years ago and the school is still outstanding. None of the same staff apart from the head...

1969Sarah Sat 30-Mar-13 19:46:11

I don't think our school will get another Ofsted for a while either but given they live and breathe an Outstanding Ofsted face I expect they can pull off another. They know exactly how to be seen to tick the right boxes.

I am heartened to know I'm not alone. Those of you who have done it... Did you go quietly?
How did your children deal with the move? Did they settle easily?

Badvoc Sun 31-Mar-13 17:04:43

Yes i went quietly.
I just wanted the hell out of there.
Its worked out really well so far...

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