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Does your dc school meet your expectations?

(9 Posts)
Horsepie Sat 22-Nov-14 23:53:58

My dc go to a very small village school. They appear to be doing well academically, they have good friends and they are happy to go to school. I just feel there is something lacking in their education but I am not sure that it is not that my expectations are too high.

There seems to be no real buzz at the school. Achievements in or out of school are rarely mentioned and everyone just seems to merrily bumble along.

I know all teachers are under pressure nowadays but this school has v small pupil teacher ratios and also has minimal behavioural issues (class size of 20, 1 teacher and at least 1 TA at any one time). I feel like there should be lots of opportunities but it's as if no one can really be bothered.

Just recently a number of children have left the school. A couple were due to a house move but the other two were because their parents felt the school wasn't right for their dc. If our numbers drop any further then I am sure that the school can not be considered viable any more but the HT doesn't seem to be fighting to instil confidence or to regain numbers.

Am I worrying over nothing and/or totally overthinking this? What expectations do you have for your children's school and how do these measure up to what it is actually like?

louisejxxx Sun 23-Nov-14 08:17:37

Speaking as someone whose ds goes to a small village primary who are currently pulling out all the stops to attract people for Sept 2015 as they only knew of 10 people who would be applying - you are definitely not over reacting. Is there a means where you can ask how many people they are expecting in next year's reception class? How many siblings are there etc.

CharlesRyder Sun 23-Nov-14 09:31:10

I adore DS's school and feel unbelievably grateful to them for the wonderful time he is having. Academically he seems to be doing really well, (he's in R) gone from not having a tripod grip to writing sentences, pink to yellow book band (been heard reading, had a new book and a constructive comment in reading record ever single day), and confidently calculating +/- within 20.

In terms of communication I have had chance to say a couple of words to his teacher every day, had a parents eve and will get a report at the end of term. We have had school emails/ newsletters every week, including personal emails from Head of his phase with updates. When DS had a few settling problems they were on it straight away, had us in for a meeting, made a plan, followed it through (which sorted the problem) then had us in again to tell us.

^ would be my 'expectations' so they have definitely met them. TBH, though, it is the 'other' stuff I am so happy with. There is a genuine 'family' feel. I thought that was quackery before starting- but there is the actual sense that they love the children like their own. DS is so gloriously happy, it's made him easier-going and nicer to be with at home too. His manners have improved SO much, as have his displays of empathy. There is also a 'what cool thing are we going to do today' buzz about the place. So much goes on!

It is Independent. However, I'm not really sure it should make a difference. I suppose it is easier with small class sizes and also they have long days right from YR so more time to do fun stuff that doesn't really have a learning objective.

TheDogsMissingBollock Sun 23-Nov-14 13:10:14

We're lucky and our expectations are exceeded. Dd1's school,otoh, "did the job" in terms of reasonable teaching/progress/pastoral care/leadership. But nothing brilliant or that ambitious and playground was always rough due to failure to get twachers out there/get decent assistants in. Dd2's school aims high - extremely bright, motivated, committed staff, excellent discipline, kids all encouraged to the max. By choice, i would never go for a failing achool unless it was seriously turn round right now/there was no other option. Would move if needed but appreciate everyone's different.

tiggytape Sun 23-Nov-14 13:48:36

Twenty pupils per class may be great for individual attention but it is terrible for funding. I think the figures are somthing like a class needs 22 or 23 children just to attract enough money to cover the teacher's pay so small class sizes in the state system can lead to a school without the resources to offer much in the way of extras.

Pelicangiraffe Mon 24-Nov-14 23:14:59

Mine is similar to op's sadly. Great academically (able kids) but missing sparkle and inspiration. Im not particularly interested in fostering a competitive ethos but a big yes to good sportsmanship.

MollyBdenum Mon 24-Nov-14 23:22:40

The DC's school absolutely exceeds my expectations. If I were to design a school, it would look pretty much like that one, so I was amazed by my good luck at finding my ideal school round the corner from my house.

Sirzy Tue 25-Nov-14 08:06:10

Yes DS school is fantastic. Lovely atmosphere in the school, caring staff who are willing to go the extra mile.

They were recently listed as outstanding by ofsted and as much as I critisise ofsted at times in this case they were spot on.

pyrrah Thu 27-Nov-14 13:16:12

Mine is similar to Charles Ryders - bar the reading every day (more like once a week) and the small class size (DD's is 30) and being a state primary in a very deprived part of Inner London.

The staff adore the children - I think DD actually has 3 mothers - lots of hugs, cuddles and reassurance. Incredible range of activities, trips, projects.

She's not as 'ahead' as I would expect if she was at an Indie, but she is being allowed to develop at her own speed - and now she has, she is being given the pressure she needs to get her working at her ability level. Even though she's now on the top table, she has just started 2 hours a week of extra tuition after-school with one of her teachers (their idea).

The school was in SM 8 years ago, since then they have had/have two incredible HTs who have pulled the school up to Outstanding.

Most of the staff are young, keen and have come via Teach First. There is a relatively high turnover of staff (not because they are unhappy, but they are all young so get married/have kids/go on to more senior positions in other schools) so constant new fresh ideas coming in.

It's a two form entry, so plenty of room for all abilities - no being the only child who is way behind or way ahead - so differentiation is superb.

If they can do it with their intake (70% FSM/80% EAL - so no leafy MC suburb) then there is really no excuse for any other state school in the country not to be able to achieve similar results. It does show what the effect is of Pupil Premium money combined with a great HT. Perhaps Mr Hunt should direct his energy in that direction.

I would go with your gut feeling. Your child only gets one education. Why not check out the alternatives and see how you feel about them. The atmosphere of a school is crucial to learning imo.

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