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Feeling overwhelmed - appyling for schools?(8 Posts)
My son is 3.5 and is going to be starting school next year so I've been told that I will need to apply this October. It''s my first time and doing all this so I'm just like argh?!
Where I live there, it is mostly infant schools which then I have to apply again for junior schools, if I've understood it correctly...
I'm feeling so overwhelmed by it all as I'm trying to not think too far ahead but I really cannot help it as I'm struggling what to do.
One infant school was put into 'needs improvement' at their last OFSTED in 2018 but the junior school that the children tend to follow onto was rated good and did above average in all Key stage 2 sats, however parents do seem to say the infant school is good.
The other infant school is rated 'Good' and people I've spoken too say the infant school but the junior school that they feed too was 'needs improvement' and below average scores in Sats and people don't seem to rave about it.
Should I focus on infant for now but I'm worried that if my son makes friends and then I send him to a different junior school, it will make a harder transition or am I just thinking about it way too much?!
Also can you see if all three schools accept you or will it only tell you if your first accept you?
Argh...it's all just so confusing!!
If the application form has room for three preferences then you should use all three preferences for different schools. Do not try to second guess how things will work out, just go for the school that you think will be best for your child. Trying to second guess what the state of the junior schools will be in 4 years is not going to be productive. It only needs a new head teacher to transform or destroy a school.
The way that the system works is that the computer system looks to see whether they can offer a place at the school you put down as first preference. If it can then you will get an offer for that school. If they cannot offer you your first preference then they will then look at your second preference and so on.
You will only get the offer of one school place and the school will not know whether you put it down as first, second or third preference.
OP - Are you based in the UK? If so, I'm pretty sure the deadline to submit your preferences application form is Mid-January 2021 but it's worth having a look on your local council's website to see what their school admissions process is.
I am based in the Uk, sorry I meant that the application process seems to open in Oct/nov.
The application form must be submitted by 15 January but it leant matter whether you apply now or at 11.59 on Jan 15.
The most important thing is to visit schools and see which one would suit your child and your family the best. You will get a feel as soon as you walk in. They should be offering tours or virtual tours this term. If a school has been judged as Requires Improvement then it will be working really hard to make it Good by the next inspection and will be getting lots of support to improve. A school that was judged Good in an inspection 5 years ago might not be so good now so don't set too much store by Ofsted Good or Outstanding unless they are very recent.
I don’t think a lot of first time parents know what a good school us because they cannot evaluate good teaching. And that’s what counts. You can certainly look at the curriculum, how settled children are and whether you think they are engaged and learning. Lots of poor behaviour and unsettled dc playing without purpose would put me off. I would also try and look at any displayed work and visit Y2 if you can. What are they doing? I’m aware none of this might be possible.
Regarding Ofsted: it’s difficult. I would look at the history of reports. If the school in RI yo-yos in and out of RI then I wouldn’t have confidence in sustained improvement. If a school is always good, it probably is.
Lastly, have a look at the parents. Are they like you? Would you gel there? Would dc make friends there? Look at dc coming out. Are they happy and are the parents collecting them engaging with their dc?
It’s difficult deciding but often schools in RI go through a bit of turmoil before they improve. It depends on leadership and the willingness of staff to change. Some people don’t improve and staff can leave. New staff start but there can be difficult times in this process. But you might get a better idea by talking to parents and looking for evidence of improvement on their web site.
If you are in England, you’ve got until the 15th jan, so don’t rush. Have a look at their websites, ask around if people are happy with school, some schools are doing tours, you could call and ask them questions.
Make sure you read and understand the admissions criteria, which may be different for each school. You should be able to find previous years data to help you see how likely you may be to get in - e.g. if places are offered by distance, and for the last few years the last admitted child has lived around a mile away, and you’re two miles, you might consider you’re unlikely to get in.
Check also the junior schools - does attending the infants give priority to the juniors? If not, be aware of the likelihood of getting into the juniors if that is something that might sway your thinking.
Always include the school you are most likely to get into as one of your preferences, even if you don’t like it. It is better to be offered a school you don’t like that is close to home than one you equally dislike, but that is much further away. You’ll see people on here refer to it as a ‘banker’.
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