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Allocated fifth-choice primary school, which won't answer phonecalls or emails. A bad sign, right?

(16 Posts)
herbaceous Tue 07-May-13 19:41:26


We live in London, in something of a catchment black hole, but only about .39 miles away from an Ofsted good school, which we'd visited and were happy with. But we didn't get in. In fact we got into somewhere I'd put fifth, and only because I thought I should put something down to fill the space.

It's a second site of an expanding 'good' school, which is quite far from us. This second site is, in fact, quite handy. This new site is single form intake, and he'll be only the second year there. So, could be good.

However, as I didn't know about this second site arrangement, we never visited the school and want to now, partly to know whether to accept any waiting list place we're offered at the first school. I have phoned them three times, each time told they'll get someone to call me back. They never have. I have also emailed twice, with no reply. This does not fill me with confidence. I know schools are busy, etc etc, but surely at this time of year, with admissions business going on, they'd expect to have to answer the odd phone call? Is it a bad sign?

There may well be an open evening, but we've had nothing in the post. It's all rather frustrating. Naturally, it's my PFB, so even more stressful!

grants1000 Tue 07-May-13 21:47:57

It's SATS next week for all Y6 primary schools so I am sure they won't want to do visits that week, as the hall will be taken up and the head very involved.

I would go to the school office from 9.30 - 11.30 ie: after the busyness of the day has started and before the lunch rush. Pop in with a letter asking for a look round, you will get a good vibe from the office and the face to face response you get.

When do you have to give your final decision on your choice? Normally people look round before they apply but they should appreciate that not everyone can.

BranchingOut Tue 07-May-13 21:59:18

Hi, firstly, please don't panic.
I was a teacher and senior manager in a school for a long time and can more or less say that the administrative efficiency of a school is not really indicative of the experience your child will have.

School offices are often manically busy places, not often staffed after 4pm, lunchtime covered by the caretaker, photocopier running at warp speed and a administrator treating a grazed knee in the corner...

Try calling 9.30 to 10.00, 11.00 to 12.00 and 1.00 to 3.00, basically any time that might avoid break times or start/end of school.

One issue might be that the school is not running tours at this time of the year. But see if they will let you pop in and at least visit Reception.

Or, find out when their summer fair is happening and go along - not a tour, but you will get some insight.

Restorer Tue 07-May-13 22:01:17

I agree, it's not great. How long have your calls been spread over? There's probably only one person who does these tours and he/she probably manages their own diary, so if you've been unlucky and hit on a week when they've been out sick of for another reason that may explain it.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 07-May-13 22:10:40

I agree that it isn't great. I would be inclined to just turn up and see what you find when you get there.

LittleMissLucy Tue 07-May-13 22:16:49

Turn up.
Agree that getting back to you isn't a reflection on the teaching / quality of the school. Those things (teaching / running the school) will be prioritized over getting back to a potential new parent, sometimes.

herbaceous Tue 07-May-13 23:07:01

Thanks all. Most reassuring that - as I'd hoped - admin inefficiency bears no relation to the teaching. I've spoken to a different person each time, but they've all seemed very nice!

I did try just turning up, one lunchtime, but the school seemed deserted!

We would have visited the school before applying, but didn't know about its plans to expand into this site. The main school is a bit far to consider. There were vague rumours among parents that it was going to expand into this building, but nothing on the school's website, and nothing in the admissions leaflet.

I know schools are manically busy, and the last thing they want to have to deal with is precious pushy parents wanting to find out exactly how they'll cope with precious Tarquin's genius, and will they be doing mandolin after school clubs, etc, but as there's such a wall of secrecy about the whole thing, I do want to talk to an actual person!

StitchAteMySleep Tue 07-May-13 23:15:31

They will probably contact you soon. We got our 4th place choice and have just had a letter inviting us to an open morning at the end of May.

They may still be organising the site for September. The last school I worked in was expanding its Reception building over the summer ready for September, so you couldn't actually see where the children would be as it wasn't built yet.

BranchingOut Wed 08-May-13 07:42:00

So if he were to attend Reception, Y1 in one site then move across to the other, would it be workable for you?

herbaceous Wed 08-May-13 08:16:25

From what I can gather on the grapevine, he would stay on the second site - an old Victorian school building - for all of primary school. If he went to the other site it would be very inconvenient.

School number one is near site 2, so better location-wise. Another reason I need to know more re school in case we get a waiting list offer...

BranchingOut Wed 08-May-13 19:29:19

Keep trying and let us know what happens!

NynaevesSister Wed 08-May-13 19:52:49

Have they actually moved the children in there? Our school expanded and the juniors site is half empty for now. It is incredible how empty that feels! And deserted.

lljkk Wed 08-May-13 19:59:04

First thing to learn with schools is how very much they do flying by the seat of their pants; an awful lot is not organised until the last minute. It's just the way they are.

Phone in early June.

auntevil Thu 09-May-13 18:32:42

From what I assume might be your school from your information, the second site isn't finished yet. Although it was a school previously, it was not set up as a primary and needed alterations.
I would imagine that when they have the school in a safe, satisfactory and organised condition, that they will invite all parents who have been offered this satellite school.

herbaceous Thu 09-May-13 19:15:44

Ooh, auntie, are you local? The second site will be in the old Edinburgh primary school building, which as far as I know has been housing overspill forms from various local schools for a couple of years. But you may be right!

herbaceous Fri 10-May-13 15:58:40

Just rung again, and was told that the deputy head will call me back. This time I'm not holding my breath!

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