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Would you send your child to a school with a glowing Ofsted but with which you have distinct feelings of foreboding?

(29 Posts)
Wills Thu 06-Sep-07 11:03:15

Each time I've been to the school I've had a distinct dislike for the headmaster. To be blunt he's a pompous prat (although he doesn't have a clue that that is how I feel) grin. He runs a very strict school that doesn't appear to have any days out or any themes or any fun days etc. They focus purely on results yet their ofsted glows about them. I've heard some terrible rumours but surely I shouldn't listen to gossip! Also my older child has just started at a different school. I can't get both children to school on time. The other school are looking into how to help me yet this school when I approached them with my issues basically told me that it wasn't their problem and they couldn't help. All I could do was hope to make a friendship with another mum and leave my 4 year old with them instead. I'm really torn as to what to do.

Hallgerda Thu 06-Sep-07 11:05:36

Go with your feelings. I'd look elsewhere.

TotalChaos Thu 06-Sep-07 11:07:01

Would your 4 year old be able to start at the same school as your older child? Or is your older child now at Senior school?

Hallgerda Thu 06-Sep-07 11:09:32

If the older one's at secondary, wouldn't he be able to make his own way there?

HappyDaddy Thu 06-Sep-07 11:11:24

It's not just about Ofsted reports though, you want your children to be happy at school, too.

OrmIrian Thu 06-Sep-07 11:16:18

I'd go with your gut feeling. I'm sure Ofsted reports are useful but not the most important thing. What does DS say?

Wills Thu 06-Sep-07 11:16:26

Sorry was trying to keep my initial message short and not go on. My older child is 7 and she's just started a juniors. We moved to the area a year ago and dd1 had been at a gorgeous infants. We had wanted dd2 to go to the same infants but although she got her place dd1 didn't get a place at the corresponding linked Juniors and we had to turn down dd2's place because there was no way we could get both children into those schools on time. DD2 also got offered a place at our local primary which is at the end of our road. I phoned during the summer holidays to check both school start times and felt that they were such that we could get the girls into school without too much hassel. Unfortunately (and I don't see how) but we were told the wrong start and end times for the junior school. There is now no way on earth that I can get both girls into school on time.

Whilst getting both girls to school on time is an issue I don't want to cloud the basic issue that my gut feelings are that the posh school is wrong for us. The head is totally unapproachable - a case of "my way or the high way" so if there were a problem it would be really difficult to resolve it. Yet this is the school that many parents move house to be next to, go to church for months just to get into etc. I'm worried that I'm throwing away something special purely because I've not taken to the head.

Niecie Thu 06-Sep-07 11:16:30

My DS went to a school with a glowing report but managed to do it without giving up on days out and fun. You don't have to give up on this stuff to focus on the 3 R's and nothing else.

And as for the lack of help - what is their problem? If they won't help with this what else won't they help with.

Find another school and trust your gut instinct. The gossips usually aren't far off the mark either - it is after all anecdotal evidence of what the school is like and Ofsted are only there once every 3 or more years.

OrmIrian Thu 06-Sep-07 11:18:36

"The head is totally unapproachable "

that rings loud alarm bells for a start!

CountessDracula Thu 06-Sep-07 11:19:17

I would try and find another place. If this sort of environment won't suit your dd then I think it is irrelevant what the oftsted rpt says

paddingtonbear1 Thu 06-Sep-07 11:20:32

it sounds a bit like the school dd goes to, you don't live in cheshire do you?! I had doubts about it but we'd sorted a childminder and at the time she would only pick up from that school. I'm just seeing how dd gets on for now, the reception teacher seems really nice and dd is happy so far. If I were you I'd go for a different school tho.

frogs Thu 06-Sep-07 11:20:44

Liking the head is the single most important factor in choosing a school IME. I have neglected it before and lived to regret.

CountessDracula Thu 06-Sep-07 11:23:32

We had to put 3 schools on our app. form, there was a good chance we would get one of two. I really couldn't bear the head at one of them (he was like a very patronising Mr Brittas if anyone remembers the brittas empire). The other head was great as was deputy. Very inspirational.

Luckily she got the one we wanted!

bufobufo Thu 06-Sep-07 11:56:34

I wouldnt ignore the gossip.

Thats what we did - DD's primary is small village school, oversubscribed, great ofsted etc. We ignored rumblings about bullying and poor teaching in mixed age classes. Are now looking for new school sad - DD's arm twisted on first day back at school, several kids have left her class already, and school's decent results largely due to almost universal private tutoring/coaching.

Ofsted report (at least in our case) has little relation to reality.

Also that head sounds like a right prat!

Wills Thu 06-Sep-07 12:16:29

Actually if you crossed Mr Brittas with David Horton from Vicar of Dibley then you'd have this guy.

seeker Thu 06-Sep-07 12:29:34

Gut instinct every time. Don't go there. I know a school with a glowing ofsted that somehow fails to mention that 10 parents have withdrawn their children because of a particular year one teacher who refuses to let her class go to the loo during lessons then punishes them if they wet themselves, the head teacher and another teacher was suspended and only reinstated under review and two teachers are currently taking action for constructive dismissal because of the head's bullying!

ChipButty Thu 06-Sep-07 12:30:34

Trust your instincts.

Smithagain Thu 06-Sep-07 13:29:34

I did the reverse - chose the school with the worst Ofsted in the area, but liked the atmosphere and heard nothing but good reports about the head.

DD now going into year 1 and I have no reason to regret the decision.

RosaLuxembourg Thu 06-Sep-07 14:13:17

Gut feeling every time for me. I am currently wrestling with the problem of secondary school - as far as I can see the local one DD1 will attend next year is not anything like as good as its OFSTED report suggests. Feel very let down.

Hulababy Thu 06-Sep-07 14:23:24

I went with gut feeling and instinct when choosing DD's school (and nurseries for that matter). We chose not to send our DD to a very good, esp on paper, local school having visited and not had "the right feeling" about it.

Berries Thu 06-Sep-07 14:28:56

Don't live in North Cheshire do you, PaddingtonBear hmm

LIZS Thu 06-Sep-07 14:40:24

No gut instinct is more important . When I looked around potential primary schools for ds one was slightly better Ofsted/ SATs wise than the other but I found the headmistress cold and unfriendly and the school overly functional iyswim so put the other down in preference. The second one seemed more friendly and relaxed. As it happens ds went to neither but the second school has subsequently produced better results! Most of ds' local friends went to the first one and were perfectly happy.

nooka Thu 06-Sep-07 14:58:01

I'd go with your instincts and what will work for you as a family. If you don't get on with the school then that will have knock on effects every time you feel uncomfortable about anything. You know your children best and what will suit them.

bearsmom Thu 06-Sep-07 20:11:20

Definitely go with your gut instincts. I sent ds to a nursery last September, three months after it received an Ofsted report which called it "outstanding". When I visited the place it felt fine and I have to admit I was swayed by the glowing Ofsted report, but within days of ds starting there I was getting bad vibes about the place and DS was saying things about the behaviour of the "carers" towards the children which didn't fit with the sort of care I was looking for for him. He would go uncharacteristically quiet whenever I left him and started having nightmares. Instinct told me something was wrong and after three weeks I took him out. The nightmares stopped, we found another nursery (which Ofsted rated as "good") which had a fantastic atmosphere when I visited and where he was blissfully happy from day one. Go with your gut instinct every time.

toadstool Fri 07-Sep-07 14:08:21

Bad head equals poor school, regardless of results. I sent DD last year to a school praised by Ofsted for its head's outstanding leadership - she turned out to be an unpleasant piece of work. Gossip is very useful - I was warned about 9 times that DD's teacher was a bully and - surprise! - she was exactly that.

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