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help! school place wwyd?

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schoolmeplease Mon 28-Sep-15 14:02:11

We've been told we really need to decide this by tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get some of your usual wisdom quickly! (re-posting from chat, sorry).

-- DD1 (Y3) is at a diverse school (school 1) with a deprived intake (67% FSM) and very few educated parents. It's big (500+ DC), she had pretty good YR and Y1, Y2 was really not good. She's very able (all agree, not just my bias!), but solid level 2a with one 3c on her final report, for what that's worth. She was Not Happy in Y2, very under-challenged, other issues too. Ofsted report for the school notes weakness in challenging the more able. They prioritise other things, maybe sensibly. DD1 has a very experienced teacher this year and has been happy so far, but I remain concerned about the school's management for reasons I won't go into.

-- DD2 (YR) did not originally get a place at the more sought-after primaries either, but has just now been offered one of them, not the most sought-after, but a lovely, smaller, also diverse school nearby But in the meantime she has settled in fine at school 1, likes her teacher. With my bias I believe she is also very able, but I know I'm biased.

Info about school 2: It's smaller (300+ DC) with a 45 intake, 47% FSM. There is a contingent of educated parents, for what that's worth. I was impressed with School 2's new head, results are good, he says he doesn't drill them for SATS much (which I like, as the Y6 experience will be much nicer than at school 1 where they really do have to do this), I liked his approach overall. Everything lovely, nice outside space etc etc.

One concern is that he really likes split-level classes. Does anyone have experience with this? Isn't it just that much harder for teachers to have an even bigger spread of ages and abilities? Would this be a factor for you in this decision?

If we moved DD2, what would be tell school 1 (with whom we have a pretty good relationship, I've been involved a bit at the school, I'd feel disloyal...)?

Logistics are possible -- we would leave 5-10 minutes earlier to drop them off at the 2 different schools, and the collection isn't an issue. Ultimately we'd seek a place for DD1 into Y3 but it could be a while.

What would you do? sorry it's long; I wanted to put all the info up front.

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