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Sending child to brand new school(22 Posts)
Hi, nc as this could be outing. We are quite limited with primary schools in our area with only one in our catchment. There is a new school being built on the same site as the local “Outstanding” high school by the academy trust that runs it. DC is due to start school next Sept and that is when this school opens. They will only be taking children for reception, 2 classes of 60. Then the year after they will let in another 60 and so on. So DC’s class will always be the oldest in the school.
I just wonder if you would all feel comfortable with that, your child always being the oldest with no older children to look up to. They mentioned at open days I’ve been to at another primary of the same academy trust that they plan to involve the year 7s from the high school on a buddy scheme so they help them out. But it isn’t the same to me and I wonder if DC would miss out. I’d welcome any thoughts you have on this. The academy trust’s schools are all very well regarded and over subscribed, which is a good sign I suppose.
Sorry 2 classes of 30, 60 kids in total!
I wouldn't want to do that if I had the choice not to, for the reasons you have mentioned. it's good for them to be the little ones at the start.
Yes that’s what I thought. Although with the high school being on same site they will see lots of older kids, just not in the same areas. I just think this is the best opportunity to get DC into an Outstanding school. Although I realise that isn’t the be all and end all.
My DS was second year intake in a new school. They had loads of space and for learning and I think benefitted from joining a smaller school at the time.
I would look carefully at whether the school will feel squeezed when at capacity, will there be enough spaces for everyone at lunch? parking? Are there enough resources? The PTA would be able to contribute much to begin with and they may borrow SEND staff.
The school was outstanding at first Ofsted inspection and I also felt happy that DS wasn't being influenced by older kids in terms of attitude, trends and swearing.
I quite like the idea of being the first families in a new school! New facilities and linked to an outstanding secondary school sounds perfect! Also, my children barely did anything separate to their class at infants so I don't think it would make a huge amount of difference and the buddy scheme with year 7s would probably be quite exciting for 5 year olds! Anyway, I suppose it depends how good the other options are.
It would really depend on what the other primary schools are like. There will certainly be no culture of older children helping younger ones of having responsibility, a school orchestra, decent sport or drama etc. It depends if this matters to you. Just because the secondary is outstanding you cannot assume the primary will be. They will not have the same teachers for example or SLT one would have though. Does it guarantee entry to the secondary school so is this a big plus?
They have said that primary pupils will get priority for entry into the secondary school. So that is a big bonus as the high school really is brilliant. The best for miles and lots of good extra curricular stuff.
The other school in our catchment looks a bit shabby from the outside but is still well thought of. Our Nursery has good links with it and the Nursery teachers speak highly of it. It has forest school etc. But some of the children who go there are (from what I’m told) quite disruptive so teachers spend time managing behaviour. Suppose you will get that anywhere though.
I would be more concerned that the classes have 30 children in each than a lack of older children.
You may get that in the new school. They can’t refuse children who are badly behaved. It’s how they deal with them that matters. So staff quality will count.
There must be a lot of un-met need if there are 60 places at the new school. The local free school did the same where my Mum lives - just Y7. It totally compromises sport and mixed activities such as drama and music. I always wanted my girls to have a broad spectrum re their education and this meant being with older children and learning from them and aspiring to what they could do, even at primary. I think you can judge the ethos of the school from a wide spectrum of children and yours will always be ginuea pigs! However being able to get into the secondary may override all of this.
All bigger schools near me have 30 in the class. It’s how the funding works most effectively and how the funding formula works too. Costs a lot to have small classes and only rich schools can afford this now or ones that run a deficit budget. Any new school will be based on 30 in a class. No Problems if there are TAs working effectively with teachers. I would have thought they would have wanted a nursery as well as YR though.
30 pupil classes seem to be the norm here to be honest. Are they not everywhere?
Sorry there is a Nursery attached as well but I’m not sure what the interaction will be between them and reception.
They are both Early Years curriculum so they could mix a bit.
Good to know they might mix with the Nursery, but it’s the older children I would like them to mix with. Although the idea of all new equipment is a compelling reason to go there. I still need to see a few more schools, including the one in our catchment. So I guess it’s early days - but this school will likely be oversubscribed so I suspect it would have to be 1st choice to stand a chance of getting a place.
But then I'd send my ds back to an academy over my dead body.
Oh dear @youarenotkiddingme bad experience I assume? What about academies was so awful? I’ve heard some mixed reports on them but not sure what to think. They do all seem to have a focus on uniform and discipline that I haven’t noticed in non-academy schools.
I do agree with you regarding the older children for all the reasons above. Whether you get a place will depend on the admissions policy. Clearly the link with the secondary school will be a big pull but will this mean other primary schools will be short of children? If that is the case, their sort term future may be financially challenging if 60 have gone to the new school leaving spaces at the other schools. Unfilled places equals less money. Were there 60 children without places at school last year in your area? Was it a big problem? If not, 60 new places will alter the landscape.
Also new shiny equipment means absolutely nothing if the teaching is crap. All that glisters etc..... so see what you think after you see the other schools.
I suspect it would have to be 1st choice to stand a chance of getting a place.
That's not how the admissions work. If you put it last on your list and didn't get into any of your other preferences but you were in the top 60 on the admission criteria then you would get the place above someone who put it first but was lower on the requirements.
In terms of being the oldest it does give them a sense of confidence. They might get to do things earlier than their peers. If there is a yr3 & yr4 sports competition but there is only a yr3 then more from that school will have the opportunity to compete. They decide to have reception buddies/ prefects/ school council then the oldest year might do it for a couple of years.
The school has something to prove so likely to plough resources into the children. Being a new school the equipment and resources are likely to be new - no fundraising/lobbying to replace 1970s ORT books. As a parent you can be involved setting up new traditions. There isn't a sense of 'this is what we have always done'.
There are negatives too as highlighted above, it really depends on the child. Having the secondary school though is a definite bonus and remember that when you go to secondary transition if not in the feeder school then there will be 60 places automatically taken - admittedly many would probably have been in the top 60 for distance anyway but still it is nice to know that you could get one of those places, takes the stress out of applying (presuming that you like the secondary school).
They do seem to have a focus on uniform and discipline.
Wasn't quite mine and ds experience although it was the general vibe! More image focussed than actual supporting pupils focussed.
I'm sure there are good academies as their are bad state schools. I just know our local 2 have very different priorities and only seem to cater for a certain type of student.
I wouldn't send my ds to another one due to our experience. I accept not everyone will have the same one though.
I think it would be exciting and great to be part of something new. With all the attention on the first 60, they will potentially have a great year.
A positive of being the first year is that the teachers will get to know the pupils better - if they’re one of 60, then one of 120/180 before they become one of 400+ they’ll be known much better to the staff.
Also, in terms of mixing with older children - your DC would still have this opportunity with out of school clubs. Scouting/guiding are quite mixed ages, and my DD3 is in a climbing club with kids aged 8-12 and DD2 on a dance team with 11-16 year olds.
If you don’t like the alternatives I’d definitely go for it. Good luck with the decision!