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Has anyone sent their child to a brand new primary school?

(10 Posts)
Selenium Wed 27-Nov-13 21:31:35

We're currently considering our options for local primary schools for our dc. In the past, people in our village would have sent their children to one of a number of excellent schools in neighbouring villages, but (mainly due to a shortage of spaces), the council have decided to build a brand new school in our village. It actually opened this year and there are already children there and our dc would be in the second year of intake. We were just wondering whether anyone would be willing to share their experience of sending their dc to a brand new school like this?

HarrietVaneAgain Wed 27-Nov-13 21:35:35

Bumping because we are going to go to an open evening for just such a school I wonder how it will be only having two classes. How will they have a supportive community of parents and provide extra circular stuff.

toomuchicecream Wed 27-Nov-13 22:01:13

I would imagine you'll have to talk to the parents of the children already there. Could be very exciting - lots of chances to do things for the first time, create new traditions etc. And when the local authority opened a new school in my area they appointed a VERY experienced, well regarded head teacher as it's not a job you'd give to anyone other than a very competent head.

You may well find you have more opportunities to be involved and shape the school than you would somewhere more established - if that's what you want. Extra curricular stuff is less important when they're in EYFS/KS1 - by the time the children get into KS2 there will be more classes. Also, the first classes through will get more responsibility/involvement than the children would if they were in an established school as there won't be older ones to do jobs etc.

junkfoodaddict Wed 27-Nov-13 22:02:32

I started in my third year of teaching in a brand new school, 11 years ago. Luckily, we started with a full compliment of children and staff due to an infant and junior school closing and amalgamating as two new primaries; one iin the old buildings and the other at a fresh, newly built school (on the cheap, loads of leaking and heating problems - I have two heaters in my classroom because underfloor heating is crap!)
It has taken us this long - 11 years - to become fully established and respected within our town. We had to prove ourselves as a worthy school when two of the town's six primaries were 'next door' and highly respected amongst the community already - one with a 'good' rating and the other 'satisfactory' but with middle-class, leafy suburb parents. Along the way we have had major battles - parents fighting, discipline problems due to ineffective SMT, staff bullying, controversial issue that thrust us into the public limelight (nationally and internationally!) but we've come out fighting. After many years of dwindling numbers, 420 down to 246 at one point, we are now 'full' and we have parents moving their kids from the other two nearby schools (both been judged to be 'requiring improvements, including the previously 'good' school). We have a wonderful, supportive and ambitious Head who is local and well-liked. Another two schools amalgamated recently and they went through a brutal OFSTED and came out as inadequate and into special measures. Thankfully they are now out.
What I am trying to say is that new schools take a lot of time and energy from everyone - staff, children and parents - to establish itself within the community. It is not an easy ride but without it, no school can work. The one good thing I did find was that for four years we had a tremendous budget to 'set ourselves up' resource classrooms and the curriculum.

WooWooOwl Wed 27-Nov-13 22:17:02

A new school was created in a nice village near me recently, they currently only have Y1 and R. They are linked to a secondary school, and everything I've heard has been very positive so far.

I think it's an option I would have enjoyed if mine were still small enough, and it would be interesting to hear people's experiences.

allyfe Thu 28-Nov-13 10:03:28

I'm also interested in this so bumping again. Junkfoodaddict, I'm not sure if you intended to, but you really don't a new school sound very appealing. I do understand that pupils are needed through the difficult years before it becomes good, but it would be quite a parent who wanted to commit their child to the social good, if the quality of their experience might be less good.

I guess that there are always teething problems, however, and it is just the degree to which they impact on the quality of the child's education.

Selenium Thu 28-Nov-13 17:47:57

Thanks for your replies - all really helpful and interesting to know there are others considering this too!

We have spoken to some existing parents who seemed really positive and there is a feeling that everyone wants to make it a success. I guess there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. It doesn't seem like there'll be any wraparound childcare or after school clubs in the beginning, for example, which is a shame but understandable. It's tempting just to go for one of the established local schools as you know what you're getting. But so convenient to go for this new one which is really close and will be a part of our community - all the nice new buildings and equipment look great too!

junkfoodaddict Thu 28-Nov-13 21:12:05

I would go for the new school. As a 'new parent' start a FO...whatever the school name is and you will see that by being the 'founding members' you will be instrumental in how the school and the community is shaped. It can be quite an interrsting and exciting venture!
And no, new schools often are not appealing! There is so much behind closed doors that goes on and so much management, organisation and setting up involved that the actual education can be pushed aside or vice versa. I think the last four lines of what I said sums it up! smile

PrammyMammy Mon 09-Dec-13 00:59:03

Our ds started at a brand new school last year. He was in the first ever p1 class. It was great to be involved in everything from the very beginning - before the foundations were even laid.
We were sending ds to the school where he went to pre-school until the talk of the new school became solid, the head teacher of the new school was very hands on and kept in touch with all the parents who expressed an interest in the new school. It is a catholic school so the location was a lot closer to us than our preschool, and lots of the older children were able to transfer if they were closer.

They ran a competition for children to design the school crest, parents had constant input about everything from playground equipment to uniforms. I was lucky enough to be part of the team of parents who designed the uniform.
We had meetings every few weeks with the schools progress and photos of how things were coming along on site.
Everything was brand new which was also great.

Unfortunately, there do seem to be a few teething issues since the school opened. I know a few parents who have made the decision to transfer their dc back to their old school. The general flow of things still needs work.
They still need to work out structure in the playground for example, there are 4yo and 11yo sharing the same space and equipment - every other school I know has an infant area, middle, then senior. I think they will get there in time.

nlondondad Tue 10-Dec-13 21:37:08

I think its rather important if you are considering a new school, that you inform yourself of the building situation. A new school in an unfinished building would concern me.

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