Good school with outstanding early years provision or vice versa?(8 Posts)
DP and I are about to move areas. DD turns 3 in August and will be entitled to 15 hours nursery a week from August. In the area we're moving to she will be entitled to attend a nursery attached to a school.
There are two primary schools which we will be living a similar distance from and I have looked at their Ofsted reports. One is an outstanding school whilst the other is graded good, however in both Ofsted reports the Early Years provision has been graded separately. To make things complicated the outstanding school has good EYFS provision and the good school outstanding EYFS provision!
Based on that which school would you be more likely to choose? We don't know if the move is permanent (renting not buying) so it might be DD will only be at the school for nursery and reception but equally we might decide to stay.
Do you even think Ofsted ratings are worth taking into account or should we just visit the schools and decide which one we prefer? Obviously I'm aware as well that we are applying late and we might not be able to have a choice (although I believe both are undersubscribed) but if we do have the choice do you think it's better to have an outstanding school or an outstanding EYFS classroom?
definitely visit. I visited 7 schools when choosing school place last year (london). There were two outstanding ones I didn't like at all and good ones I did like. The outstanding ones just seemed too formal and rigid. Yes school nurseries are often undersubscribed so you should still be able to get a place. Good luck with it.
I second what starpatch says wholeheartedly, visiting is the only way to get a true sense of what the school / nursery is like and whether it will be the right place for your DC. What is right for your child isn't necessarily going to be right for someone else's.
Fwiw, I visited 4 school nurseries for DD. One of the outstanding rated ones would have been horrendous for her - too big, too much left to their own devices - but as an adult I could appreciate why it was rated outstanding by Ofsted, great facilities, knowledgeable staff etc.
In the end she went to one rated 'good' because i thought it would better suit her needs and she thrived there. The staff I met when I visited were lovely (and she ended up with a fabulous teacher), the ethos of the nursery was caring and nurturing and it just had a good feel to it when I went to visit.
It wouldn't be for everybody, in the same way the outstanding one wasn't for me, so my best advice is take any Ofsted report with a large pinch of salt and go and see a place for yourself before you make a decision. And trust your gut instinct!
A place in a school nursery isn't a guarantee of a place in that primary school, in fact it has no bearing on primary admissions whatsoever.
At DDs school the nursery is undersubscribed, especially the afternoon sessions, but the school is very oversubscribed and only children who live very close or already have siblings at the school can be sure of a place. You need to check out that your DD has a strong chance of a place at the primary school.
You will get a school place at the school in whose catchment area you live. You may get a place at the other school if it is under-subscribed but it may not be. Go to the nursery of the school you are likely to get when you apply for school. Nursery has nothing to do with school allocations but where you live does. It also means your child, and you, will make friends with children/mums who will be going onto that school (probably).You may not be in any position to choose anyway, but you will be able to express a preference for statutuory school age.
Visit both of them if you genuinely have a choice but if you do not, then visit the one that has spaces. Quite frankly, unles you are an expert and ask the same questions as Ofsted do, have access to the information they do, and conduct the same interviews they do, you really will not know the difference between these two schools in terms of Good or Outstanding. Good and Outstanding can alter really quickly if the SLT and teachers change and also when they were inspected makes a huge difference. If the Outstanding was years ago, they may be nowhere near that now because it has become more challenging to be graded at this level.
Check they have places before you do anything. Check which is your catchment school before you do anything.
An awful lot of the UK doesn't have specified catchments for primary school. Admissions are usually done on distance from the school after looked after children/social and medical need; your local authority will probably have historical distances of admitted reception children on their website.
This should give you an idea of which you are mostly likely to gain admittance to for reception, though bear in mind distances can and do change year on year (especially if the school in question has taken a bulge class recently - this tends to reduce the distance as siblings usually take priority over children being admitted on distance grounds.) Of course you can move a child after nursery from one school to another, and attendance at nursery very rarely comes into admissions criteria.
Like you I live almost equal distance between a good and an outstanding school. Fwiw, I was anxious about moving DD from nursery at one school to reception class at another school. I worried about her leaving friends, a new routine to get used to etc etc. DD coped fine, and she has had lots of upheaval (post LAC pupil) in her short life.
If you have a choice about which nursery she goes to I would say choose the one that feels right to you. If you have a choice about primary schools do the same. If you don't have much choice about primary schools don't worry about the prospect and possible upheaval of moving her from nursery to a different primary school come reception time, she'll be fine. Good luck with it all
Definitely choose for her Nursery year, as her Reception place is a completely separate application anyhow, and where she attends Nursery has no bearing on her getting a place in Reception.
However, definitely, definitely, definitely visit and see what you feel is the best place for your dd. Yes, OFSTED inspections have a
small part to play, but do not make a choice of school or Nursery entirely based on them.
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