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How far would you / do you travel to get to school?

(11 Posts)
user1483972886 Fri 20-Jan-17 14:44:28

So our local primary (200m walk) where DCs are happy had dire SATs results (25% in the writing). It has been niggling us for a couple of years that there is too much focus on 'the extras' e.g. Xmas play and a lack of focus on the basics e.g. learning to read. It seems a shame to move the DCs and I'm reluctant to do it but I have taken up the poor SATs results with a couple of the parents governors who didn't seem phased and now the HT (who has not yet got back to me in a week). I have done listening to the children read and very few (say less than 50%) of the children read regularly to a parent at home. One child I was the only one who apparently listened to them in a whole school year..

Most of the other primary schools around had similarly poor results i.e. less than 50% overall (more around the 20%, 30% level). I'm guessing its a combination of low parental ambition and due to being in the sticks not attractive enough good teachers.

So the question is if we move our kids how far is too far to go? There is a state primary with v good SATs results which is a 45min drive each way away? Is this too far? How far do other people travel? How far would you be willing to travel? (DH doesnt work so we dont have that excuse...)

AlreadyGone Fri 20-Jan-17 14:47:21

That sounds horrendous OP. No wonder you're thinking of moving.

My limit is about 35mins. But having said that, that happens to be how far away the viable options have been. I know parents who drive 40-50 minutes to get to our school. It must be a ball-ache. But they still do it.

How old are your DCs?

AllTheBabies Fri 20-Jan-17 14:51:20

We're 1.2 miles away. So a 25 minute walk or a 10 minute drive (never drive it really though).

I wouldn't want to go any further. I like being able to walk it.

bojorojo Fri 20-Jan-17 15:06:36

I drove for 35 mins. Lots of people did more - to a top class prep.

I really feel for you. All Governors should be scrutinising the progress of the children. Even if SATs results were not good (and clearly they were not) if children are not supported at home and have very low attainment levels before they start school it is extremely difficult for the average school to improve the children: but in a good school they will.

My big worry is that no-one seems bothered. Some schools have explained to parents why there were problems last year and assured parents they are putting in measures to improve. Your school sounds complacent. I suspect it has lots of PP money so this isn't making much difference either.

Parent governors cannot be an advocate for parents but all Governors should be forensically examining progress in all year groups so they know what they need to do better. It is up to the Head what remedial actions are implemented and demonstrate through evidence that the plan is working.

Do you believe they can improve? If it seems bleak and hopeless look elsewhere. Do not take SATs results as the only indicator. This can indicate more middle class children or tutored ones. Look at progress. Having said that, I would want my bright child to work with other bright children and be challenged in school. Can you be sure another school will do this?

LadyMonicaBaddingham Fri 20-Jan-17 15:10:37

We live in rural Wales. I drive 10 miles to take DS2 to primary. I work at the school though, so that alters matters I suppose. DS1 travels a similar distance to his secondary school on the bus.

user1483972886 Fri 20-Jan-17 17:32:44

Not only were the absolute results dire but the value added since KS1 was 'well below national average' for writing and maths. Allegedly they do well as KS1 but I wouldn't know because the scores are not published.

I feel like it's always the same flannel.. the cohort is small (true but this should be an advantage?), we had x pupils with dyslexia etc but surely every school does?

I'm at a really low ebb.

I don't predict any big turn around in the near future as no one seems concerned (not parents, nor governors nor the school).

Lowdoorinthewal1 Fri 20-Jan-17 17:41:10

Would you get places at the school 45mins away? If so I would have a look round and see what you think.

I think you have two choices. Either, view school as a lovely social experience and enjoy the 'extras' but commit to doing lots of extra work with the DC at home. Or, move to higher performing school and hope the school do it all in lesson time so you don't have to be so involved.

Be sure first that the higher achieving school are not getting those results due to shed loads of homework, high expectation of significant parental involvement and lots of private tutoring. You do not want to end up driving the kids 45 mins home and then having to do a daily hour of homework with each one afterwards and getting a tutor at the weekend. You could do all that at the school 200m away.

user1483972886 Fri 20-Jan-17 17:50:42

Good point ;-). There is a space for 1 child but not the younger one at the mo.

penguincrumble Fri 20-Jan-17 18:34:46

I agree with @Lowdoorinthewal1 , I would spend the commute time teaching them myself at home. If school was that far away they'd never be able to have friends back either. Stick with your local illiterate friends.

elfonshelf Fri 20-Jan-17 20:49:27

We live in Surrey, but DD is still at her central-London primary - we have a 5 minute walk to the station, an hour on the train, then a couple of stops on the tube and a 5 minute walk to school. Been doing it now for 2 years and other than Southern Rail messing things up on a regular basis, it's been fine.

DD goes to after-school club so basically a playdate every day. She does a drama class near where we live at the weekend so has some local friends from that. Otherwise, we do have to make the effort and trek up to London for parties and so on (which is fine as plenty for DH and I to amuse ourselves with there).

We use the train time to do homework and reading.

School is exceptionally good and DD is very happy there. She has dyslexia and they've been brilliant with 1:1 sessions and all the testing, so it's definitely worth it

user1483972886 Fri 20-Jan-17 21:13:56

Penguincrumble you are right you can do a lot in 1.5 hours per day. I am already trying to get DC1 to do 'extra' work a couple of times a week and we are looking into a teacher friend doing some tutoring. TBH I don't mind doing homework with my kids. I would see this as an advantage of the new school rather than disadvantage. I am worried the lack of get up and go will rub off on.our children.

DC1 is in year 2. Normally there is a spelling test weekly but we have only had 1 do far this term. We have no other homework and DC1 is well ahead 95% of her class in reading because most don't bother. There are only 20 children.in the class..

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