What would you think of this school?(11 Posts)
This is a minefield, isn't it? I'm a single parent and I don't have anyone to talk to about mundane things
I popped in to see if I could make an appointment today, completely by chance. The HT was in the office and spoke to me herself, and then said 'Do you want a look around?' Obviously I thought great, because the other school I've seen has put on tours and I felt they were very rehearsed.
There were children being supervised in various offices by members of staff (doors open as we went down the corridor). I think they were there for behaviour related incidents. What would you think of that? Is that normal?
The corridors were a bit messy but more lived-in messy than anything else. Toilets a bit smelly. The infants corridor was really nicely decorated with lots of different examples of work. The classes seemed quite active and busy, but quite loud.
There were some really obvious behaviour problems (e.g. one little chap under a table). I thought the teachers were quite shouty, but on reflection it was probably more firm and loud IFKWIM?
I can understand your difficulty having to make these big decisions on your own.
It is possible that the children on their own were working 1:1 with teaching assistants because of their special needs. Maybe you should have asked her what that was about?
I would suggest that you make a list of all the things that concerned you and ask to make another appointment to have these clarified. And look at the school's website too.
You are the "customer" and schools want you to go away with a good impression; so pretend you are buying a car and ask everything you want to know.
My lad has autism one school left him under the table as it was easier. One learnt how to coax him out and teach him. So it would depend on what was happening to said child that would help guide me on how they help their pupils.
My fave teachers are able to control their classes with calmness and pretty much a whisper but we are a school that has a high standard of behaviour and that ethos permeates through.
Being a small school we don't have much teaching space and children with ALN could easily be pulled out into a small room or even a corridor for their extra teaching. This does appear messy but the school is lived in and feels happy. At our open evenings it would be tidier.
Did the children appear happy? Were they engaged? Were there wall displays of all the children's work even the least able?
Should have said personally I take it as a good sign that HT showed you around straight away. They are obviously proud of their school as it really is not a false image of their school that they like to maintain.
In all honesty, you have seen the school as it really is. Not the sanitised version a school chooses to show you on Open Day.
What Finola said, that was all fine in my mind.
The kids in little offices might be kids who need extra tuition (all kinds of reasons).
Why wouldn't toilets be a touch smelly when used by 100s of children
boys with bad aim all day?
Thank you. Yes, I have been mulling it over and it isn't perfect but I think they are quite aware of it and possibly more likely to work through any problems?
The other school viewing I had seems more and more suspect now... the little ones coincidentally sitting round singing looking angelic and the older ones sitting ramrod straight!
Did the children appear happy? Yes
Were they engaged? Yes
Were there wall displays of all the children's work even the least able? Yes. There was a real variety of work up.
Kids sitting around ramrod straight wouldn't impress me. I want to see them engaged in learning and excited about what they are doing. Yesterday my class and I were out on the oval in raincoats doing sciences experiments and mixing materials (we started with the diet coke and mentos one which is why we were all in raincoats!). Naturally, the principal decided to bring a tour group through right at that time (happens every time!)! It was messy and somewhat chaotic, but the children were engaged and learning. Certainly learning a lot more than sitting at their desks in silence doing a worksheet. Next week my kids are bringing in old appliances and computers to pull apart and see if we can make robots out of the components. Goodness knows what any visitors are going to think of that mess!
There is a massive difference between children being out of control and children making some noise whilst being engaged in learning. An experienced teacher knows the difference between 'learning chatter' and 'chatter chatter' and can keep students on task, even if there is a bit of noise. I'd much prefer that in a classroom.
A school which is happy to show a parent round 'warts and all' is one which I would veer towards, because it suggests the Headteacher trusts their staff to be teaching well. Child under a table used to be a regular occurrence in my old school, but that would suggest it's a fairly inclusive school, where the child was in class not isolated. School toilets are smelly. If it's open plan noise levels will be higher. We often had parents coming round for a look during the working day. Much better than being shown round empty classrooms.
There are always loads of kids doing one-to-one and small group work in our school. They are dotted around all over the place. It does reflect the fact that there are quite a high proportion with a variety of special needs. But it also reflects the fact that the school is well resourced with TA's and volunteers who are able to give personal attention.
I like the fact the head offered to show you round ' on the spot ' shows she has nothing to hide.
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