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Got a place from waiting list now not sure

(47 Posts)
Tea1Sugar Sat 14-Jun-14 17:12:59

I'm pissing myself and dp off and have come to mn for some impartial advice.

Back story: dd1 is in the pre-school of new ish primary (currently only pre-school to year2) and has a reception place in September. Thus far it has no ofsted report of much data to track progress. It is a brand new build full of mod cons etc but little outdoor space. Initially this was our first choice but some small but significance fuck ups by the school put me off so I put her on the waiting list of our no2 school.

No2 school is a long established church school
which for years parents have started sending their toddlers to church in the hope of getting a place. We're not church goers however. This lovely school previously graded "good" got a "needs to improve" ofsted in November.

Tea1Sugar Sat 14-Jun-14 17:13:11

Which to choose?

Tea1Sugar Sat 14-Jun-14 17:46:40


Galena Sat 14-Jun-14 17:50:48

Which did you prefer when you looked round?

Might the church school have got complacent? what issues did ofsted pick up on?

What issues have arisen with the newer school?

MrsPnut Sat 14-Jun-14 17:51:30

Which one do you like the feel of best?

I've never taken much notice of Ofsted, and I have had experience of 6 different primary schools, all different and all different gradings. The only one I had huge problems with was the one graded outstanding. My DD1 was bullied terribly all through the year she did there and the school did absolutely nothing to stop it.

MaryWestmacott Sat 14-Jun-14 17:53:17

What happens when your DD gets to year2? Is there an obvious feeder to a junior school and how good is that?

ELR Sat 14-Jun-14 17:54:53

Ofsted reports have little meaning. Go with your gut, flip a coin then register your initial response and use this as an indicator.
Are you a church goer?
Also if the church school goes upto year 6 that can be a bonus as you won't have to find a junior school.
These decisions can seem so important but in the grand scheme of things are relatively small, try to not let it stress you out.
Also if you were unhappy enough to put her name down on the waiting list maybe that tells you something.
I don't think you would regret sending her to the church school but you may regret leaving her at the new school?

MaryWestmacott Sat 14-Jun-14 17:55:41

BTW - I might get a similar dilema - DS got our 2nd choice of school, and I automatically went on the wait list for 1st choice, however have looked more at 2nd choice school, (also allowing for the fact that I've taken the decision not to go back to work after mat leave with DC2, 2nd choice is a nightmare to get to for breakfast club and then to the station for commuters!), and I'm now not sure if I'd want 1st choice school. I'm sort of hoping we don't get a place on the waitlist!

Galena Sat 14-Jun-14 18:35:37

I assumed that whilst the new school is currently up to y 2 the eldest children are working up the school, so it will be a full primary to y6.

Tea1Sugar Sat 14-Jun-14 19:06:50

Yes they are both through primaries, so once she starts, she'll be set until secondary all being well. There's no denying that school 1 is all shiny and modern, full of the latest gadgets but the church school has great grounds. I'm genuinely stumped. Dd will be going private for secondary so feeder schools aren't an issue.

Galena Sat 14-Jun-14 19:39:59

tbh, it depends how church school uses its grounds. If they aren't allowed on grass if there's been the slightest rain (the school I used to teach at had the rule that the slightest rain meant field was out of bounds for the rest of the day because it became slippery) then they won't be on the grounds much.

Also, I'd read the ofsted carefully and see what the church school was picked up on. The school DD is at got Good, and of the 6 things ofsted picked up, 5 of them were basically the fact that most parents at the school are unsupportive of their children at home.

TheRealMaryMillington Sat 14-Jun-14 19:45:15

How bad were the fuck ups?

Is she happy?

What do you thin of the respective heads. In my experience the head absolutely determines the character of the school.

How churchy is the other school and are you ok with that?

Ofsted really is a joke these days so I'd not let that bother you.

bucketofbathtoys Sat 14-Jun-14 20:04:37

How close are they? How settled is DC with friends etc What were the fuck ups? Maybe others can give a view on how major they were really? .. Every nursery and preschool had the odd issue

SueDNim Sat 14-Jun-14 20:14:41

I'd look carefully at the Ofsted report. Our local school go a 'requires improvement', but it is clear that the issues were really within one year group and there was instability in the staff for that year group due to ill health or not coping. Those teachers have now left, so it would be unlucky to have a repeat of the problems. Please don't think I am being callous, I think that the environment that teachers now find themselves in can be horrific and many teachers are being chewed up and spat out by the system, I really do feel for them.

I'd also rather have a school with a recent 'requires improvement' than an old 'outstanding' grade. As outstanding schools seem to coast or gradually worsen in quite a few cases, whereas there is a lot of attention on 'requires improvement' schools.

Tea1Sugar Sat 14-Jun-14 20:30:32

They are both equidistant from us, a whole 6 minute walk away. Of the 25 kids in her pre-school class, 16 are going onto reception, the rest shared between three other schools including 4 going to the church school including her best friend. There is no nursery provision at the church school so all the children will be "new". It seems that progress in reading was the main downfall but on the flip side it was praised for its phonics teaching and EYFS.

As far as "how churchy" it is, it is CoE. They have assemblies each day where children can pray if they choose, the vicar does an assembly a fortnight and there's a termly service at the church. Then they do RE each week I believe.

bucketofbathtoys Sat 14-Jun-14 21:35:03

Tough call as both close and lots of friends at both. Doesn't sound very religious. What about wrap around care if you need it? What are your concerns about where she is?

bucketofbathtoys Sat 14-Jun-14 21:41:33

It may also be that people went to church to get in the school as there was no great alternative before but a new school with keen teachers etc may change all that grin

bearwithspecs Sat 14-Jun-14 22:50:14

Sounds less churchy than lots

Tea1Sugar Sun 15-Jun-14 01:25:12

Oh forgot to say, new school opened September 12 but already has very fast teacher turnover.

sixlive Sun 15-Jun-14 06:55:58

Church school turnover of teachers would be a concern. Given the ofsted report they will put loads of effort into teaching the kids to read.

bearwithspecs Sun 15-Jun-14 10:07:12

I think chance of teachers in new schools is common as the school finds it's feet and the team gels?

Tea1Sugar Sun 15-Jun-14 11:30:58

My head says new school, heart says church school. Dp unhelpfully "doesn't mind".

bearwithspecs Sun 15-Jun-14 12:35:32

How do the extra curricular compare and what aspects of school life are most important to you ?

ChocolateWombat Sun 15-Jun-14 18:43:44

I would look very carefully at the Ofsted Reports. I would see exactly what the weakness was that meant they got requires improvement.
I would also look at the catchment areas carefully to see if they are different.

Near us, is a popular Church School, which had been GOOD and now NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. It had been very high achieving. The results have dipped and this seems to be why it NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. However the results are still significantly better than the nearby GOOD school on the council estate. Realise the Church school has people entering at a higher point, so they should get better results.
Interestingly, most people would still prefer the Church school, partly because of its intake and also because traditionally it has done well.

Personally, I am not bothered about shiny new facilities. The new school in This sense wouldn't impress me. I'd be keener on a tried and tested established staff. It is the teachers,not the facilities which make the difference.

Soggysandpit Sun 15-Jun-14 20:05:13

Private for secondary - does that mean doing the 11+? In which case you want to consider the attitude of the schools to the exam, will they help, will they be actively obstructive as some are?

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