Visiting schools?

(12 Posts)
Silvio2020 Tue 21-Jan-20 12:53:36

we are fresh parents trying to figure out where to live in uk "near london" based on primary schools. Since we are planning to buy a house we wanted to have a look at the schools in the area first to make sure we like them before settling in the area. Apparently no school would allow us to visit because our son is only 1.5yo. Is that something you came across? Is it so unreasonable/uncommon to see the school before buying a house in the area?
Obviously the statistics are all over the internet, ratings, ofsted etc.. but I believe the culture and environment of the school is something you can only experience live, not on numbers which talk about performance exams. Any thoughts?
Thank you in advance

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CaptainMyCaptain Tue 21-Jan-20 12:57:02

When I was teaching we used to get the occasional toddler visiting with their parents. I can't see the problem and I think you are absolutely right to choose a school based on the 'feel' and the culture rather than data alone. Perhaps their unwillingness to let you in should tell you something.

Mummyscrewedup Tue 21-Jan-20 12:57:45

Yes I wouldn't expect to visit state schools for a 1.5 year old. A lot can change in a few years anyway and a school can rapidly plummet or improve.

RedskyAtnight Tue 21-Jan-20 13:32:03

The normal primary admissions round has finished now. I expect there would have been no issue with you visiting during the normal open days, but you should be aware that for you to have a visit, a member of staff will have to take time away from what they were otherwise doing, and it may be disruptive to the children at the school. And you won't even be applying for another 2 years, by which time the school could have massively changed!

I'm not surprised schools are saying "No" tbh.

Hoppinggreen Tue 21-Jan-20 14:08:26

It’s unusual to find a staff member with nothing to do that can spare time to show you round a school, also if it’s an over subscribed state school there’s no benefit to them whatsoever doing it
Basically there is no reason for them to take a staff member off more important duties to show someone with a toddler around

PatriciaHolm Tue 21-Jan-20 15:26:17

Realistically, most state schools aren't terribly accommodating for random visits outside of open mornings. There just aren't spare staff floating around to do tours, especially as you won't be applying for 2/3 years.

Orchidflower1 Tue 21-Jan-20 15:30:13

Maybe it wasn’t the age if your child but as pp said just not in “open day” time?


WeirdPookah Tue 21-Jan-20 15:36:11

It could easily be useless. I worked at a wonderful school. It got a new head, they drove out great staff, changed everything to make their mark and lost the outstanding OFSTED in the process.

The best you can do is read OFSTED look at history, staff etc and see if that can sway you.

BubblesBuddy Tue 21-Jan-20 15:58:17

Most people I know move into catchment areas for the continually good or outstanding schools. Track record often does mean the standard will be maintained over years.

Obviously some schools don’t maintain their quality but you are never going to know that by visiting now. Looking at web sites can be a useful tool regarding the ethos and feel of a school. Is there lots going on?

Generally leafy lane areas have decent schools as parents are supportive and ensure DC are primed to do well.

Check secondary education too. Do you want Grammar schools? If so, narrow your search to where these exist.

Pud2 Tue 21-Jan-20 20:32:45

Perfectly normal for a school not to offer visits, particularly as your child is so young. Nearly all schools have open days when visits are undertaken. They are time consuming and, as others have said, there isn’t time in the day to fit them in.

Chocolateandcarbs Tue 21-Jan-20 22:17:45

Some schools around here has events that are open to anyone who buys tickets (fireworks displays, fayres) - it might be a good way to get a feel of the place without a tour. Just an idea, no idea if that’s just our local school or if that’s unusual x.

Silvio2020 Wed 22-Jan-20 10:46:25

Thank you very much to all very valuable answers and information. It is clear that there is a lot researches to be done in a lot of different ways

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