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Would you send your DC to a "new" primary school?

(5 Posts)
ariel3112 Sat 20-Apr-13 17:58:25

DS1 (4 in August) didn't get offered a place at any of our four local primaries. We're in Sutton, so it shouldn't be a shock, but we were disappointed as last year we would have got our first choice. Anyway, we've got an offer of a place at a (per ofsted) 'good' school that's over 2 miles away. I don't drive, DS2 is not quite 18 months so in a buggy, and we'll have to get a bus. There's one that goes past the school; it's not a frequent service, though, and it only runs small single decker buses, and I don't know if would get very busy at school run times. If we missed it or couldn't get on, we'd have to wait 30 mins.

The letter from the council, detailed the other schools in the authority that have no or short waiting lists (there are 117 on our first choice school, don't know where we are, but expect not high as the cut-off is about 90m from us; last year we were inside by 60m). I hadn't studied the schools much further afield so I hadn't grasped that a new school was to be opened, a new 4-form entry primary. DH is very keen for DS1 to go here, it's further away but easier for us to get to as the bus is quicker and more frequent. However, as the school isn't yet open we obviously haven't visited, and I have some concerns.

It's not a brand new school really as it's a new 'branch' of another local primary, (an ofsted outstanding) and would be led by the same headteacher. But it's new in that there are no pupils there yet and when the 120 children start in September, that's all there'll be, till the next year and the next, and then - it's going to be a big school.

My concerns are regarding the lack of older children... as people for the little ones to look up to. I remember in primary school hearing about the various sports teams playing other schools, and thinking wow, aren't they great, and going to the school pantomime that was put on by the top classes. The older ones used to help with the younger ones (I don't know if this is still done), we used to help supervise the infant's playground at playtime, walk them down to the visiting mobile library. I'm worried that DS1 would be missing out by not having contact with the older children. Is this a reasonable concern?

Also, there isn't yet, and I don't know if there are plans for the future, an attached nursery, which we don't need yet as DS2 won't be eligible till 2016 but we do want to send him. Is it too much of a gamble, that they will open one in the next 2-3 years? I don't especially want to move DS1 if he's settled in but if logistically it's necessary I would. DS1 is 3 schools years in front of DS2.

Of course, all this is null and void should we (somehow) be offered a place off the waiting list for our preferred school, but presuming we won't, and we very well might get an offer for the new school, I don't know which to choose. The established 'good' school that might be hard to get to or the new one that's a lot easier to get to (not just for us but for my parents who are moving to the area to help us), that's going to be very big, and no older children. My husband is very keen on the new school and very against the established one, for no other reason than where it is. We haven't visited either one (yet).

What would mn-ers do?

Rosesforrosie Sat 20-Apr-13 18:00:21

I'd go for the 'new' school and stay on the waiting list for your preferred option.

NynaevesSister Sat 20-Apr-13 19:24:27

I'd go for the new school. You have a known quantity in that you have a head and senior team with proven track record. As they are federated with the other school find out how much interaction there will be.

I went to a primary like this and absolutely loved being the eldest in school all the way through. We were always the big kids and the ones that everyone else looked up to.

We had new facilities and were the first to use everything. And all the space too as school not full!

mamadoc Sat 20-Apr-13 19:33:05

I'm a governor of an established primary which is just about to open a 'new' federated school.

I personally think its win win for the new pupils. It's being run by a great team with a proven track record, spanking new lovely purpose built facilities and will be a bit overstaffed to start with so small class numbers.

The plan is for the two schools to share resources and have a lot of joint events at least at first so there will still be that interaction with older kids.

I would go for the new place. Maybe visit its federated school and meet the staff there, ask about plans for joint events etc

ariel3112 Sat 20-Apr-13 20:26:11

Thanks, all. smile Very helpful. I will see if we get an offer for the "new" school and if so, visit its linked school before deciding. It's not a purpose built new school, it's a renovated old high school that will have had some parts demolished and others revamped. But everything in it will be new. And I imagine the team behind the original school will be very keen for it to succeed. Part of me thinks it's a great opportunity to get a place while there are so many available, as future parents will have the sibling criteria to contend with; also re distance, we live quite a long way away and I don't think we'd ordinarily get a place.

We'll keep DS1 on the waiting list for the first choice, though, but my hopes are not high. Such a shame because looking at distances in the past 4 years, we'd easily have got in. Oh well, I know I am very far from alone on this one.

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