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Ofsted says outstanding but y neighbours say no - what would you do?

(36 Posts)
Greatfun Mon 22-Sep-08 15:14:04

My local primary school has been given a glowing report from ofsted however many of my neighbours think its a bit rough and not a good school. I liked the feel of it when I looked round but not so happy with the position (on main road/ near railway). The catchment area is variable from middle class to a fairly expansive estate with a bad repuatation. If you just looke at the ofsted report you wold think it was perfect but so many people have out me off.

Saturn74 Mon 22-Sep-08 15:18:04

I would trust my gut instinct over hearsay.
What do parents of children who are actually in the school say about it?

MrsMattie Mon 22-Sep-08 15:19:03

Of course you want to take into account Ofsted and other parents, but it's you and your child who have to live wiht your decisions about their educayion, so it;s really important that go with your own instinct/ impressions of a school from visiting it, I'd say.

I withdrew my son from an 'Ofsted Outstanding' nursery this year because I wasn't happy with it - all show and no substance. He is now at a nursery with a so-so Ofsted report and attached to a primary school which is perceived as bog standard among middle clas parents in the area - loads of parents go nuts to get their children into the two 'outstanding' and over subscribed schools slightly further away. However, I looked around and loved it. Lovely, warm atmosphere, rapidly improving results, fantastic teaching staff, dynamic, approachable head teacher. There is a real social and cultural mix and plenty of kids with ESOL, which I'm sure puts some people off, but in my opinion, it makes the school a better place.

Don't let other people make your mind up for you.

MrsMattie Mon 22-Sep-08 15:19:22

excuse typing

AMumInScotland Mon 22-Sep-08 15:20:42

Have they said what they don't like about it? Do you think it's just that the intake includes the estate, and your neighbours don't want their child to mix with them? Personally, I'd go much more whith what I thought of the school than either Ofsted or neighbours!

Can you look at the school again on an ordinary day - can be much more enlightening than open days. Or just look at the playground at start/end/playtime to get a feel of it.

Would the road make it trickier for yor DC to walk there? They usually have school crossing people on the main routes, so your DC should be safe enough unless they tend to wander.

Seeline Mon 22-Sep-08 15:26:37

What experience of the school have your neighbours had? Do they have kids there, orhave they had kids htere recently? Bad reputations tend to far outlast the causes of such reputations. If they are basing their views on how the school may have been in the past things may have changed eg how long has the head been there, can you check out previous OFSTED reports. I agree, go and have another look, and try to speak to current parents, engineer a walk past the gates at school pick up time, go to the xmas fair!

Greatfun Mon 22-Sep-08 15:37:34

Thanks everyone. I have heard two people who have pulled their DCs out fo the school due to the other children being rough (trying to think of a better description). I have only met one parent using it at the moment and she was raving about it especially as it has an autism unit which her son attends. As far as I can tell the school has had alot of problems. The current head started a few years ago and this is the first ofsted since then . They got a 1 for everything and their SATs are just as good as the posher schools near by. I liked the warmth of the school when we looked about and the fact that the teacher knew every chld by name. I didnt like the position and the lack of green space and admit some of the pupils were a bit rough round the edges. We got to speak to some of the 11 year olds and they were all really eager to share their opinion of the school (all good).

AMumInScotland Mon 22-Sep-08 15:46:51

It sounds as if the local reputation hasn't caught up with the changes which the new head has brought in - so you can't rely on the neighbours views if they don't have children there now (or in the last year or two maybe). So, down to a combination of Ofsted and what you think of it - how does it compare with any other schools you might consider? Is a bit of "roughness" going to be a problem for your children, or are they fairly robust in themselves? If you had to take them further away, what are the downsides. etc,etc,etc...

Smithagain Mon 22-Sep-08 16:04:22

Take neither Osted reports nor neighbours' opinions at face value. Go and look for yourself and make up your own mind.

(Spoken as someone who uses a "rough" school with a somewhat less than Outstanding Ofsted, which is, in fact, an excellent school for my child.)

OrmIrian Mon 22-Sep-08 16:12:41

Neighbours opinions only valid if they have children at the school. There is huge inertia when it comes to school reputations - ie your neighbours will almost certainly be basing their opinions on the school as it was 15 or so yrs ago. They may also be basing it on their experience of seeing some children coming out of the school looking a bit scruffyhmm

You need to talk to parents and visit the school. Then worry about Ofsted. And ignore the neigbours.

AbbeyA Mon 22-Sep-08 16:37:09

I would go with your gut instinct from the visit and talk to parents of children who go there.
We have 3 schools in my neighbourhood and the one my DCs went to was considered rough, because it took DCs from a council estate. It not only got a glowing Ofsted but the Head got an invitation to meet the Prince of Wales (one of a very small select band)! Some parents who had jumped through hoops to get into the Cof E school were not happy with it and changed to this 'rough'school, that they originally wouldn't touch with a barge pole!!
I would never pay any attention to reputation, schools get stuck with out of date ones.
I know one small 3 class school that got all new staff one September-it still had a reputation!!

critterjitter Mon 22-Sep-08 17:55:50

I'd try and talk to the 2 parents who removed their children from the school.

mrz Mon 22-Sep-08 19:44:48

go with your own instinct

pointydog Mon 22-Sep-08 19:51:21

To have your decision influenced by teh schools' position seems odd to me. So obviously this is going to be a personal choice and one that only you can make.

I am irritated by your comment about the estate with the bad reputation. I assume that's where you think the 'roughness' come from.

You are making lots of assumptions without seeming to knwo anything. Go and find out.

myredcardigan Mon 22-Sep-08 20:42:05

You've had lots of good advice on here.

I have taught in a couple of graded outstanding schools. One truly was fab in every respect the other was, IMHO, awful in every way other than SATs results and ICT provision. No way would I have sent my children there. Horrible stiffling exam obsessed factory.

Speak to parents who currently have children there not those whose kids went there 10yrs ago (as another poster said). Place a lot of emphasis on how you feel about the Reception class. Always a good yard stick IMO.

seeker Mon 22-Sep-08 21:31:19

My ds goes to a "satisfactory" school, with a very mixed catchment. I chose it precisely because of the catchment - I don't want my children growing up entirely in a middle class bubble (they live in one of those all the rest of the time!)

If you like the school, it feels warm and friendly, the children are happy and the teachers are nice, then go for it.

AbbeyA Tue 23-Sep-08 07:37:38

Ofsted isn't always a help. A local school has just got outstanding for leadership, this is because the Head is wonderful at paperwork, but they didn't realise that she has no people skills at all. It isn't a happy school.

teslagirl Tue 23-Sep-08 12:14:50

OFSTEDs do what they say on the tin.

For example, a local secondary is described as 'Satisfactory'. Local lore has it that the school is AWFUL. Well, when you read the OFSTED, the report is correct. We have to read these things for what they are.

Example: YR 7 maths- 'Good'. The teacher laid out clearly the teaching objectives of the lesson at the beginning. She used several different ways to illustrate her lesson; she extended the more able of the children and used alternative teaching methods for the less able. She then questioned the group to ascertain what they'd learned.

All sounds 'good', doesn't it? And it surely is- BUT what if the lesson she was teaching 11 year olds was basic addition skills? 7+11=?. The DCs at the school enter with 'a skills base much below that expected of similar children nationally'. SO the school is trying its best with a 'difficult' catchment.

So our lesson is that, as OFSTED states, the school is doing as well as it can be expected within the boundaries of the intellect of its intake. But that doesn't mean the intake is any less likely to be a product of its deprived, neglected home environment.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Tue 23-Sep-08 13:01:50

TeslaGirl - very interesting!

bobblehat Tue 23-Sep-08 13:11:57

Like others on here, I'd find out why people don't like it. I know someone who's dd goes to an 'outstanding' primary school, but she was thinking of taking her dd out due to the fact she felt too much homework was given.

What someone finds unacceptable, you may see as an advantage. And remember, ofsed reports are only a snapshot of what the inspectors saw on a couple of days

singersgirl Tue 23-Sep-08 13:11:59

Our school has just been OFSTEDed and there is a massive emphasis on data to show standards, progress and value-add. This can be very different from the 'feel' of a school. Mind you, I think a school won't get Outstanding unless pupils are happy and learning well, and leadership is goo.

OrmIrian Tue 23-Sep-08 13:20:00

I don't think that could happen could it teslagirl without it showing up dramatically in the SATS. Ofsted shows results at end of KS2 does it not?

I am basing my confidence in DS#1's school (secondary but principle is the same) on the fact that it has good teaching and a fantastic head and improving results. The intake is quite alarmning TBH and the value-added is high. In that position I am hoping that a reasonably bright child with supportive parents is going to thrive.

singersgirl Tue 23-Sep-08 13:21:31

Leadership is 'good', obviously, not 'goo', which sounds very messy blush.

Blu Tue 23-Sep-08 13:26:25

ah, yes, 'rough'.

IME schools can be v happy, and good, and have a v wide mixed intake...but what many parents want is a school that does not have 'rough' children. Over and above the actual quality of teaching.

Talk to parents who actually have children in the school, and visit.

teslagirl Tue 23-Sep-08 15:52:08

Well it DOES happen Orm, in that the KS SATS- isn't it '3' in secondary, aged around 14?- results aren't particularly impressive in said school. The point I'm making is that a 'satisfactory' OFSTED reflects that a school is achieving what could reasonably be expected GIVEN the 'difficulties' it faces. It may be achieving some good 'value adding', for instance, thus a school with not-very-good GCSEs is by no means automatically assumed to be 'failing'.

It's also my belief that a school such as the one your DS1 is at is likely to serve him well esp given a supportive home environment.

I also would be a bit put off by 'rough', tbh. What I want in a school- like all of us I'd assume!- is a good enough standard of teaching, reasonably well behaved and well disciplined DCs with reasonably supportive parents who all support the school ethos.

The word 'rough' doesn't imply those things to me!

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