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To stick to a classic primary or to choose the brand new academy with an outstanding secondary...

(11 Posts)
Stars66 Sun 01-May-16 21:01:11


DD got into both O Primary school and the new A academy which has an outstanding secondary, one of the best state schools in the country. (She got into both as the new school did its own intake for this, it's first year)

I'm thinking of sending her to O as;
1. It's closer, easier to get to and from for the drop off / collection. And we can walk there.
2. We know others who are going such as my neighbour and she might be able to help us with the school run. (I work full time)
3. It's been going a long time, 80 years in fact. It has a lovely reception room and outdoor space. Huge playing field. Traditional school etc.

The head left in Feb, they won't have new head till Sept, who who knows what he will implement / changes, how the staff will take to him etc.
The early years leader will be on maternity leave when DD starts, so there will be possibly someone covering, possibly not.

A friend has decided that although their 8 yr old goes there, she is going to send her 4 yr old to A as he also got into both. This worries me that there is something else going on that we don't know about...

A will be brand new but the new primary head teacher has a very good reputation.
At A, she will always be the top year as the school is going to grow year by year. They would also have brand new equipment but would be in temporary buildings for the first year or so. They are looking for 'outstanding staff' according to a letter that was sent, so are not set up in any way. The secondary school has a fantastic reputation so they will be hoping that the primary does the same and will put great pressure on the children to achieve that outstanding ofsted inspection. The primary is likely to be a feeder school, but that said, we would still be in the catchment area for the school as a secondary as it has 7 classes per year to the primary's 2 per year.
A is also likely to be joining with E in an academy group, another outstanding primary in the area. There could also be a likelihood that O could join with A in an academy group in the future anyway. There are about .2 of a mile away...

There are pros and cons to both - what do you think?
Any thoughts would be appreciated!

NynaevesSister Sun 01-May-16 21:53:48

If it helps, I went to a primary that was 'growing' and was the oldest year from the equivalent of Y2 upwards. And it was really a good experience. We benefitted from both the responsibility and the experience of being leaders. Also from the extra space!

Stars66 Mon 02-May-16 17:57:58

Thanks. I spoke to another parent today who said the same thing, and mentioned that the children have the responsibility of being the older ones...

JSpen Mon 02-May-16 21:03:23

I think I know which A and O you are referring to and it's a tricky decision. We thought we would be deciding between A and another school but didn't get offered A so the decision was taken out of our hands thankfully. However I would be very tempted by A, I think it has great prospects in terms of the plans, the great site, secondary links, etc and I did initially also have concerns about our kids being the first year but I think it will also be of benefit to them. I think they will get a lot of focus (I assume there will be 2 teachers, 2 TAs, a head and and a deputy to 60 kids), and I'm sure parents will be quite involved as the school develops and grows. I think the temporary site will be fine for the first year given the design etc, the kids will know no different as it will be similar to any preschool set up. If it's the O school I am thinking of then the head was a big pro for me, but if she's gone it's hard to know how long things will take to settle. Another local school where the head left it had quite a negative impact for a couple of years and so many staff have left. It all depends who takes over I guess. Good luck in your decision!

Stars66 Tue 03-May-16 21:12:18

Oooh JSpen! Glad you guessed, I didn't feel totally comfortable naming schools...
Yes the head of O has gone, but only after taking off the first half term sick, and their new head won't start full time till Sept, so I'm guessing there'll be a lot to catch up on.

What do you think about DD potentially being at the same school for 12 years if she were to go to secondary too, don't you think that kids need the opportunity to move to pastures new and experience all that?

And I can't decide if I'm thinking too much about the convenience factor for us. I mean that has to be a serious consideration, and not having to get in the car to get to O is a big pull factor...

I'd heard that that other school, W I'm sure you mean, is back on the way up? People move to live in its catchment area and I'm wondering if that would be the same for A, so am I going to make DD miss the best academic opportunity of her life? Then again, I see Secondary is about the academic learning and primary should be about the experiences and opening the door to the academic learning...

Mov1ngOn Tue 03-May-16 21:40:54

I dont know where you are but the "outstanding" secondary near me has been in the news for all sorts of reasons this last year and isnt one I will send my kids to.

It's become so tricky. To score well with ofsted they need to be good at hoop jumping and teaching to the test which is exactly what I dont want in a school but...

Stars66 Tue 03-May-16 21:47:22

Moving on - yep I hear that. And as a social worker, I understand that ofsted results are not everything, but the secondary does have an excellent reputation...
I wish that DD had only got into one school to take the choice away from me!

Mov1ngOn Tue 03-May-16 21:50:10

If you could likely get into the secondary from both schools I wouldnt base it on that.

I'd tend to prefer the local one as its so useful having local people to walk with BUT if the first year will be disrupted that's harder. Did you look around both, see the pupils working etc, get a feel for which one you liked best?

JSpen Tue 03-May-16 22:06:48

Stars I totally understand your dilemma and really don't know what I would do in your shoes! I thought A only went out to 0.5m, so could you not walk there too? We thought we would get our 2nd choice (W!) and A, and were trying to weigh up the 2 exactly along the same lines as you. We could walk easier to W (on doorstep), but it was undergoing so much change then heard head left and another new head and the prospects of A seemed more appealing and quite exciting being a new venture etc. Thankfully (and unexpectedly) we got our 1st choice, and didn't get A anyway. But I'm not sure what we would have done between W and A. So I'm a bit useless with advice. Sounds like your gut instinct is O though? It seemed like a nice school. I think I'd be tempted to take the risk with A though! However I don't think you can go wrong either way.

JSpen Tue 03-May-16 22:16:41

I should of also said I do know of someone else that has turned down A for O mainly for proximity reasons, but I think they also got a good feel for O.

Stars66 Wed 04-May-16 19:07:34

I am scared of the unknown school TBH with A. No opportunity to see a primary school. Also maybe O will be a little softer, not as pushy?
I think the closer location will make it easier for me, as still need to get to work as close to 9 as possible.

I think my choice is probably made up as O. But I'll forever be wondering what if!

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