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Which school would you choose?

(22 Posts)
beanhunter Tue 25-Apr-17 21:51:16

So we are relocating in the summer with our dd who will move into year 1 in September. She's a July baby and is currently thriving at our local (admittedly v middle class) state school, in the top groups for readings and phonics apparently.
We've been today to visit the two nearest schools and are torn (the choice may be academic as school A is currently full in her year group but would need to decide if we ranked it first so we went on waiting list iyswim.

School A - literally at the end of the garden so easy to walk to school. Large class rooms, 210 in the school. Mostly local children but also from surrounding villages. On site breakfast and after school club. Head seemed good. Good retention of teachers. Outstanding foster.
School B - would require a car drive. Head great, open plan school classrooms. Good facilities and lots of extra curricular things. Most children from walking distance of the school. Ofsted also outstanding and good teacher retention. Current year group not full (24/30) but school is usually 30 in each year group. On site after school club.
Both are part of the same academy trust.

My gut says school B but are we daft to dismiss a school less than 100m from our house?

Floggingmolly Tue 25-Apr-17 21:53:20

Will they both have places for an in year admission?

beanhunter Tue 25-Apr-17 22:00:29

Currently only school B has a guaranteed place. School a doesn't have a waiting list and say often 1-2 children leave a year group historically at the end of reception. However if we don't rank A first then we don't go in the waiting list.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 25-Apr-17 23:48:13

To be honest there doesn't sound like much between them so unless you liked B much better I would apply for A and B, accept B but if a place comes up quickly in A then move her but if she is settled in B then leave her there.

A school you can walk to is great if you can get it.

smellyboot Wed 26-Apr-17 11:07:51

If there is nothing between them really and same trust I'd out walking distance down first. IT has massive advantages later - older ones can walk to school alone and impromptu play dates etc are easier.
Also life shares to activities later are miles easier if you live closers to all the other DC.

Floggingmolly Wed 26-Apr-17 17:13:45

The schools aren't privy to what order you rank them (you're applying for an in year place anyway, so will be applying individually??)
Plus, anyone can go on any waiting list they choose to.
You are really quite misinformed; you need to contact the local authority admissions and clue yourself in, quickly.

beanhunter Wed 26-Apr-17 17:16:24

Not misinformed floggingmollu and quite resent the implication! I have of course spoken to the admissions and am aware of when I can apply and how this happens. The logistics is simply whether we wish to chose the oversubscribed school as a first choice so that we go on that waiting list and then decide the others. The council advice is to apply for 4 schools, it's not an individual application at all.

PatriciaHolm Wed 26-Apr-17 17:24:32

Anyone can apply for any school at any time, and you can go on the waiting list (if held) for any school at any time. Some LEAs do restrict the number of lists you can be on, but that doesn't seem to be the issue here.

If Admissions are telling you you can only go on the waiting list for school A by putting it first, they have fundamentally misunderstood something. I assume they are essentially saying "if you put school B first and A second, you will get B as they have a space, and because it was top of your list you won't go on A's waiting list as we assume you are happy as you got first choice. If you put A first then B, then you will still get B as A doesn't have space, but you will go on A's waiting list as you put it higher." This is a standard approach.

Which is fine, but they can't stop you asking to go on A's waiting list at any time anyway!

Floggingmolly Wed 26-Apr-17 17:29:28

Exactly as Patricia said. Resent away...

beanhunter Wed 26-Apr-17 17:32:15

Yes Patricia. That's what I understand too.

beanhunter Wed 26-Apr-17 17:34:05

Regardless, the question was less the logistics but more deciding between the two - whilst acknowledging we probably don't have a choice anyway.

Middleoftheroad Wed 26-Apr-17 17:36:37

If I could have my time again, I would always choose a walkable school. It wasn't an option for us and became a pain, especially now in Year 6 as most of their friends walk home from school now.
I think you will regret not going for the closest school.

Gaggleofgirls Wed 26-Apr-17 23:04:46

Apart from logistics what do you feel about each school.
Do they both have wrap around care?
Is one more/less academic? And if so what suits you and DD?
The parents/children attending..which would suit your family best?

We're in a similar situation x

beanhunter Thu 27-Apr-17 09:21:40

Both have wrap around care. Gut feeling that we preferred B. Fairly similar families at both. Similar results and ethos. Head took the time at b and think that's swaying us.

MilkRunningOutAgain Thu 27-Apr-17 09:53:32

In my view the important thing is how the head relates to the kids & teachers, not the parents. Being close is a big plus, I'm a 30 min drive from my DD's primary & now she's yr 6 it is hard arranging clubs and visits to friends.

beanhunter Thu 27-Apr-17 12:09:04

Thanks Milk. I didn't really see the head with the children at school a. At school b I was impressed by his relationship. This is only a 5 minute drive.

smellyboot Thu 27-Apr-17 12:16:26

I'd not put too much sway on how much time a HT has on a singe day to engage with you. Anything could have happened the day you visited and I say that from direct experience. They may have sent aside time to meet with you direct but had an emergency come up out of their control and been pulled away. This could be teachers off sick, a building issue, a safeguarding issue or anything. Please dont under estimate who stretched HT are. They will have 50 conflicting proiorities in any given day

HatHen Thu 27-Apr-17 12:20:01

I would go with A.

cheeseandpineapple Thu 27-Apr-17 12:20:29

Given how similar they sound, I would go with the nearby school A as first choice.

More likely to have friends within close range too.

You're also less likely to resent any noise or traffic from the school if it's your school ie you get the benefit and not just the downside of living so close to a school!

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 27-Apr-17 22:37:20

You also need to consider that if B was substantially better than A then B would be full. Even if it is a short drive away never underestimate the sharp elbows of parents seeking education for their child. One or two places maybe but six fewer children indicates that B doesn't have a big pull over A. I am not saying that B isn't a good school and if you think your dc would really be happy there then go for it, but it would indicate that A retains students at least at this stage. Why not try to see if they have summer fairs? Often they are open to the community and give you an informal look at the school.

beanhunter Fri 28-Apr-17 07:02:46

Interestingly through the whole school a has more spaces than b. It's just an oddity that b has spaces this year - they have a waiting list for all the other year groups.
But yes that's something to consider. I think we will ring the day before we apply and check if things have changed with a and if there's a space then go for that. I want to be able to tell dd where she's going and have a chance to visit and it's hard to do that if we are still crossing our fingers for a waiting list place.

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 28-Apr-17 07:11:24

It might not be easy to find out without going there at dropoff/pickup time but traffic/parking at school B, could it be a major hassle? It is at many schools.

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