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I'm worried about ds's primary school...

(14 Posts)
Stillhopingstillhere Sun 16-Jun-13 19:58:17

There is no other induction meeting. I was really surprised that there were no teaching staff represented at all. Unless they're all leaving?!

I don't know how realistic it is moving and finding a new school but most in our area are expanding so maybe we would find a place. Think I will have to ring round to make some enquiries.

I don't have much faith in the school. I hoped that it might improve with the new head. I suppose it still might? It worries me that the children enter the school at a higher than expected level and leave at a lower than expected level.

lougle Sun 16-Jun-13 18:34:37

That does sound concerning. I've just been to DD3's induction evening. They had a short speech from the Head Teacher, some children doing a uniform fashion show with the Deputy Head as compere (it was a bit rubbish but funny), followed by a presentation from the two Reception teachers, with TAs in attendance.

They also had representatives from the catering company who provide the school dinners, with samples of baking, a uniform display and a library display. There was an opportunity to sign up for home visits and to sign up for a parent contact list.

Finally, we were invited to walk around the classroom and speak with staff.

I think if you can, you should see if there is a better school.

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 16-Jun-13 18:27:30

I would move.

tiggytape Sun 16-Jun-13 18:23:07

The reception teachers didn't attend the reception class induction evening?! That is very poor - was any reason given for this. Is there another meeting scheduled?

Results and stats are one thing but if there are other major concerns too, I do think it might be worth thinking about alternatives. Is that realistic - will you be able to move quickly enough to get him into another school (bearing in mind many good ones are almost certainly full by now)? If you definitely won't send him to the allocated school even if you're still living there next year then that's one thing but it might be worse to delay for a year and still end up having to go there.

It does sound like a very difficult situation - 40% Level 4 SATS with an easy intake is in itself worrying enough without the other concerns too.

Stillhopingstillhere Sun 16-Jun-13 16:43:08

I was a bit concerned at the induction evening that it seemed quite disorganised. Times and dates had been missed out of the induction pack and when people asked the head didn't know the answer. He hasn't got a deputy at the moment so it's all falling on him I guess... He also contradicted himself a few times throughout the evening.
Also none of the teaching staff attended, which seemed a bit off. No one at all. Not the reception teachers or the head of ks1, nobody.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 16-Jun-13 16:40:35

And not all brilliant head teachers are good public speakers - best head I have worked for in terms of getting the best for the children was a terrible public speaker, and always ended up getting flustered in front of a group of parents. She was great in assemblies however! Worst head (in my humble opinion) was an excellent PR merchant - parents lapped it up, while we were patching up the mess in the background and trying to deliver on all the ridiculous promises that were made!

I would say, get in there if you can, do some volunteering and get a feel for the place when it is up and running, day in day out. You can always make a decision then.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Sun 16-Jun-13 16:39:29

What was your impression when you visited? How did the reception class 'feel'? If reception is good, he could start whilst you suss out if the school is improving fast enough.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 16-Jun-13 16:37:23

Bear in mind as well that changes implemented now won't show up in the results for a few years, as children pass through the school. Not ideal I know, and parents who have kids in Year 6 will be very concerned about this, but by the time your child is in to Key Stage 1 the changes they will be forced to make will be embedded with a bit of luck, and the class and subsequent classes will ride a nice wave of improved teaching and learning.

I know it seems daft, but in some ways you might be better off than in a good school that are cruising along, getting complacent and not being constantly badgered (and having money thrown at them) by the DfE and local authority.

You might also find that the Early Years provision is better than KS1 and 2, might be worth offering to support with reading etc in September and form an opinion then. I have worked in schools where the foundation stage were excellent, but obviously the KS tests are the measure of how good teaching and learning is.

Foundation Stage is all about socialising, learning how to make friends and exploring the world in a safe place. You could provide all of this at home, but you might find they are doing an adequate job. And the social skills you learn from being in a room with lots of other four year olds is hard to recreate at home whilst keeping your sanity!

LondonBus Sun 16-Jun-13 16:36:28

So, you've basically decided this school isn't good enough for your DS, fair enough...but is there anything you can do to find a better school?

What were you not impressed with at the induction evening?

Bluecarrot Sun 16-Jun-13 16:36:14

Go with your gut instinct. I ignored mine and now regret not moving DDs school earlier ( HOWEVER I didn't have to move areas to get a good school)

Stillhopingstillhere Sun 16-Jun-13 16:34:08

I have spoken to some parents of current pupils, including one who has moved her children (albeit to only a slightly better school) I didn't feel hugely reassured. The school she has moved her children to is a 14 mile round trip from us and just isn't doable else might have considered that one. It seems to be on the up whereas our nearest one seems to be getting worse...
I do feel for the head, it's his first headship and I guess Rome wasn't built in a day. The parents I spoke to felt he was all fluff and no substance but I think things take time to implement and some of the current staff have apparently been very resistant to him taking over.

Stillhopingstillhere Sun 16-Jun-13 16:30:33

I just don't want him to have a bad start and be out off. I think it's quite important to get it right. We went to the induction evening last week before the latest ofsted was released and we were not very impressed.

Catsnotrats Sun 16-Jun-13 16:20:41

If they are getting 40% level 4 for maths and English the dfe will be all over them like a rash forcing them into academy status. Things will be changing, but it will depend on who takes them over as to whether it will be a happy place for your ds in September. I'm not normally one to advocate he, but if you are able to then it might be an idea until the situation is clearer. The main worry is if he will then get a year 1place.

Stillhopingstillhere Sun 16-Jun-13 16:12:04

Ds is starting school in September. None of the schools by us are great - all achieve results well below the national average. The area is also massively oversubscribed so the better ones which are a bit further away are full.
The area we live in is a dare I say it mainly middle class area, the children enter school at a higher than expected level. The school then adds negative value during their time at the school. Not good. It is in the bottom 20% of schools for all results at ks2 and in the bottom 40% at the end of ks1.

It was in special measures about two years ago, came out of special measures and a new head took over this September. It is now back in special measures. In addition to this it is expanding (along with most schools in our area) by a third over the next few years so it is a period of change.

Would you be worried about this? I'm considering home schooling ds this year (he's not quite 4 anyway so legally doesn't have to be at school until the following September) whilst we look at any other options and possibly move! I know it sounds extreme but currently the school only achieves around 40% of pupils attaining level 4 at ks2 in all subjects despite a lower than average proportion of special needs and free school meals. They should be doing better. The school where I taught has a lot higher percentage of special needs and the children enter the school way behind yet it massively outperforms the school ds is going to. It has to be pretty awful teaching and lack of organisation?

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