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How did did you choose your primary school? Help!!(25 Posts)
How did you choose which primary school your child went to? I feel like there's so much pressure! (Well obviously... it's education)
First of all find out which ones you are likely to get into - you dont really have a choice unless you go Private it's more of a preference really
Then look at the Ofsted report but only look at it as part of the picture as they can be misleading. Try and find parents who have dc there already as they can give you a better picture
Look round as well
I looked at the two closest, and put the one of those I liked best first (and got it)
Those further away, we were unlikely to get an offer from anyhow.
I agree with being realistic. It's fine falling in love with a school but if you're not going to get in then don't even go and see it!
Look at OFSTED but don't take it as the Holy Grail - your gut reaction as to whether or not your child will be happy there is just as, if not more important.
We were totally shafted by the system. My town changed from a middle school system to the normal two tier for the year my child was starting in reception. It meant that my closest school moved from a three form entry to a one form. Four siblings didn't get a place let alone the child who lived next door. I got allocated a school too far away to walk to but not far enough away to qualify for free transport. Which was in special measures. We ended up in private (and remortgaged).
So be mindful as to your choices and make sure you have one "banker" on your list. It might not be the perfect school but one you will get a place at and be reasonably happy with.
Get a list of all the schools in your area from the Local Authority.
1. Which schools are you likely to get into
2. Which schools can you reasonably get to in time for drop off and pick up
Ring up and make appointments to visit all the schools which meet 1. and 2. Ignore anything you are told about a school unless you hear it from several sources and it is recent information. Visit and make your own mind up.
Try not to take any children with you if you can help it. You want to concentrate on what you are told, not miss half of it because you are toddler-wrangling. Do take someone else with you - they will see things you might miss. Prepare a list of questions if it helps.
Pick the schools where you feel most comfortable and which most closely fit with your own ethos. Use all your preferences on the form.
I was moving house to an area at the other end of the country. We bought a house in a village and our dc went to the village primary. It's a wonderful school.
I visited the 5 closest and ones I had some chance of getting into. I did not list any that I would not qualify for e.g. A CofE school who only admit church goers etc I then listed my preferences in the order I liked them.
With the eldest, we looked at the admissions criteria for each school and at how the places were allocated the year before. We made a list of the schools where he would (or might) be offered a place. There were only two schools at which he was likely to meet the admissions criteria. We visited both of them and put the one we liked more above the one we liked less.
The correct ongoing advice is to look only at schools that you might get in to and list them in order of your preference.
My first choice was the school about 200 m away, which was then, and still is, Outstanding. I went to visit it and really liked it. I went to visit 2 other schooos too, both about a mile away - we would have got into any of these 3 at the time, none were at capacity. They were lovely two, but the closest school won hands down on proximity. Thee would have had to be something really bad about it not to put it first.
What others have said.
Check the last few year's admissions and only bother with ones you actually meet the distance/criteria for.
Look at them.
List in order of your preference, nothing else.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thanks everyone! I'm going to crack on with a list of the schools in my catchment area but also check out a really good school that's not within the catchment area. I'll put that on the list ... you just never know! My local council website is rubbish to be honest. Are there any other websites that will tell me my actual catchment area... it's only listing the schools in the borough and that's all 55 or so of them! I'm quite worried that we don't have a decent school in the area. On the local council website where it lists all the schools you can sort the schools by best grades in English and maths combined, English, maths and children who scored higher than the averag in year 6. The school that's at the top of my road is 26 on the list of English and maths combined scores. I then got busy at work so had to stop. I have a day off next week to have a proper search. I also need to make sure they do before and after school clubs!
Argh this is so stressful!
Thanks for all your help and suggestions! I stres myself out so easily. Just wanna give him the best start in life.
I chose the one in the village where we lived. Purely for the ease of it. There was a "better" school in the next village, which a lot of parents send their children to, but I've been very happy with my choice.
We only put one down - the local village school. I wouldn't send my child to a primary school we couldn't walk yo.
I appreciate it's different in urban areas but in rural areas there's usually no choice.
Yes, it is stressful but, in the nicest possible way, you're making it worse for yourself.
Make a list of schools closest to you, ask each one for their admission criteria and go from there. Once you hit the 'distance from home address to school as the crow flies' then you need to stop. Even if the best school is first on your list and has places, you won't necessarily be offered a place there if there are spaces in the school closest to you.
It's a preference, not a choice. You may strike lucky but please keep it in mind that it's likely you won't. Research by all means but the level of detail you're going into is really going to cause you stress and heartache if things don't go your way, you'll feel like you're not giving him the best start which won't be the case.
I say this from bitter experience. And the appeals process is a joke in most areas. Get a feel for the schools closest, published results don't always give the full or true story.
Sorry, if the first school on your list has places you WILL be offered that school.
Went and visited them. Didn't pay much attention to ofsted reports. Then we went with gut instinct. We just had a very positive feeling about the one we eventually chose. We just knew iykwim.
I only looked at ones close by, I looked for one with good pastoral care and it was also the smallest one.
We didn't choose the school with the highest academic results, it was actually closer to the bottom. The school felt very caring though. We also didn't choose the secondary with the best results much to the horror of our friends who bussed their dc to the leafy comp.
The difference with us is we both work or worked in higher education. We knew we could tutor if necessary and that our dc would really be fine as long as not in a bullying or really appalling environment.
DS has just taken his GCSE and got almost all A star and A grades.
What you do at home and your attitude as a parent is the biggest asset a child can have along with their own natural capacity and obviously the actual schooling.
My other top tip is don't hothouse dc, help them obviously but I have met far too many miserable students who were pushed by their parents all their lives.I worked in two prestigious red brick Universities and met lots of them.
We went with the nearest primary school. It didn't have the greatest reputation, and various parents from our dc's naice nursery were happy to suggest we weren't interested in our children's futures.
However, my eldest three all achieved at least some level 6s, and my current child is expected to do well next year. We avoided the stress of trying to get into an oversubscribed school. Our dc could walk to school, and lived close to their friends.
Make sure you properly understand the way that the preference system works, as there are people who get caught out every year.
I moved church to get into local c of e school (just church, we were already c of e). We are in a bit of a catchment black hole and yr before my sons admission we would have ended up getting in no where near as it was a fertility boom year. We ended up only getting in on church attendance in the end.
I wasn't terribly thorough with my Primary school choosing. I'd just moved house (a renovation job) and I was suffering with depression following the birth of my youngest.
I looked at the primary literally meters from my house. In Special Measures. I still looked but came out thinking - no way! I then asked my CM which school her dd went to and which she picked up from. I went and looked around that. It wasn't my nearest but it seemed 'ok' - Ofsted Good. I didn't love it but I went for it.
We got a place. Dd settled in fine but it took me longer to settle. I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't 'right'. In that time the school went from 'good' to 'satisfactory' then back to 'good'. I stuck it out though. Dd left Primary School with some nice friends and excellent SATS scores. Dd chose to go on to a different Secondary though. Ds is currently in Y6 now and doing well too.
So, in all honesty I chose the school in a bit if a vague way. On reflection it was an ok school, but I think dd and ds would have done as well anywhere (maybe not the school nearest my house! ).
I picked the two closest, liked them both and my dc liked the look of one more than the other somthat was our first choice.
If you can, talk to parents of children who go to the schools you're interested in. I found that the most helpful way to make the decision. Lots of parents gave really wonderful feedback about the school I was going to put in second place and I am so glad I changed my mind and put it first. It's a lovely school, couldn't ask for more! We are not in catchment for it but live quite nearby (about 1 mile away) , so it's worth looking at nearby schools too as I think they take that into account.
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