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Time is running out, i cant decide

(15 Posts)
whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sat 27-Dec-14 16:05:38

DD will start reception in September and I'm struggling to choose which school to put as my first choice. Apologies if there are lots of these threads already, I'm a single parent and my exp has made it clear the decision is down to me.

School A is rated good by ofsted, has a lovely head teacher and lots of nice equipment but when I looked around it was cramped and I could hardly move without bumping into something. School B is much smaller, had a nicer 'feel' but has a very bad ofsted report (special measures with a bad follow up report too, mainly regarding the senior management team because the head teachers keep leaving).
2 close friends have children in school B and sing its praises, I know someone with a child in school A and she never stops moaning about it!!!

DD is a June baby and very shy, she currently goes to a private day nursery 2 full days per week and its taken her months to settle but now she is thriving. My parents think she should go to school A due to the good ofsted report but I honestly can't decide!!

Would you send your DC to a school that had a terrible ofsted report but a nicer 'feel' over a rated good school? The distance is the same. I know I am being PFB grin

caroldecker Sat 27-Dec-14 16:23:31

What is bad about the Ofsted report - it goes into detail about the failings. Also if the senior management team/governors are leaving/being replaced, the 'feel' will change.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sat 27-Dec-14 16:39:45

I've just read it again and its worse than I remembered.
Phonics is not being taught correctly meaning that the school is underachieving when it comes to meeting national literacy targets and teachers are not planning lessons or marking work properly.
The school has not had a governor's review recently and ofsted feels teachers are not being supported by senior leaders. Doesnt sound like a great place to work.

However, I can surely help this by doing work with her at home can't I? It says that more able children are being set work that is too easy for them, I don't know how able she is because I haven't compared her to other children yet. She seems very willing to learn and I suspect she is bright.

YouAreMyRain Sat 27-Dec-14 16:43:44

Is she likely to be there for all her primary schooling, up to year six? If so, go with the one that feels best to you. Ofsted reports are quite subjective, there is not much moderation of different inspection teams. Also there is some degree of pot luck depending on what they focus on for their inspection.

A school can go from outstanding to special measures and back again in seven years. It's a long term investment type decision.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sat 27-Dec-14 17:14:03

Yes, until year 6 and DS will go there too, he's 23 months so they will be 2 school years apart.
The better school has a nursery that DS could go to if I could sort a childminder out, meaning DD wouldn't have to go to breakfast and after school club but the other does not so would continue with existing childminder/private nursery combination and DD would have to go to breakfast and after school club 2 days a week.

catslife Sat 27-Dec-14 17:20:59

It depends on how long the school has been in Special Measures and on it's long term plan to improve.
I would be concerned about any school where there was a high staff turnover (particularly one that is having difficulty recruiting a permanent Head) as it may be unsettling for a shy child if their teacher(s) left.
My child's primary school was placed in SM, but what made the biggest difference was the recruitment of a good long term Head. Heads of small schools are paid less than those in larger schools, so this may be why they are having difficulty finding one.
How large are school A and school B? Are both schools oversubscribed or is school B undersubscribed?
If you were offered a place at school A and it doesn't work out perhaps you would be able to move her to school B later on, but you may not be able to manage the other way round.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sat 27-Dec-14 18:08:14

Their report was march 2014 with a follow up report in October stating that it their effort to improve was completely unacceptable. There was an interim head appointed but he left in September and was replaced with a new head - they are not able to recruit newly qualified teachers but need to get new senior leaders.
Although they are both within walking distance and very close to each other they are owned by different local authorities, School A has had a lot of money poured into it and had a very enthusiastic young, male head teacher last year then a report singing his praises. It takes part in lots of after school activities, sports etc but is much larger than school B who don't really do all that, they desperately need funding but their local authority seems reluctant to give them any further funding - that's the impression I get anyway but I know nothing about any of this.

Now I'm thinking of it maybe I'm doing DD a disservice by sending her to a seemingly struggling school, and catslife you make a very good point - I can always move her from school A to B but doubtful I could do it the other way.

Think I've made my mind up - thanks all

bloated1977 Sun 28-Dec-14 01:22:47

I'd go for school A. I know Ofsted isn't everything but they should have attempted to pull themselves out of special measures by now. You also mention the LA isn't spending money on the school. It sounds like they don't really care about it hmm

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 28-Dec-14 08:38:23

Do you have a realistic chance of getting into both schools?
If it is equal go with your gut feel, nobody apart from the LA need to know what your preference was. When the time comes you can just say this is what we were given.

pinkdelight Sun 28-Dec-14 09:58:44

Maybe I've missed something, but I don't see what the drawback with school A is? Just that you bumped into things? But kids are much smaller so there would be more space for them. I'd go for A. If there's no other drawback why take a risk?

MilkRunningOutAgain Sun 28-Dec-14 10:22:17

The DCs school was given requires improvement about 3 years ago and has still not fully settled down as a result. 3 teachers remain from before this, there has been huge staff turnover and this has been disruptive for my DD ( DS was lucky as his teachers did not leave and it didn't really effect him that much, he's now at secondary anyway). DD had several teachers last year and while I liked all of them, DD found it very hard and actually went backwards in writing and particularly in maths in yr 3, I do lots of reading with her so that is OK. The new head is great and does seem to be getting in good teachers but it's a slow process. There was nothing up with the previous head or set of teachers either, but we've had 3 years of disruption thanks to ofsted. I'd go for school A if I was you and if it doesn't fit your DD, swap to school B.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sun 28-Dec-14 14:49:32

I've submitted the application, school A then B (then 3 others just in case).
Thank you to all posters for all your help.

LL12 Sun 28-Dec-14 15:04:06

Which school do you have a realistic chance of being offered a place in?

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sun 28-Dec-14 15:24:00

Both I think, school A has spaces available in the nursery still and said there were places for every puplil who applied last year and school B mentioned it was undersubscribed when I looked round.

LL12 Sun 28-Dec-14 16:32:38

That sounds promising, go with your gut feeling.

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