My first question was always about a school's SEN provision. Neither of my dses have SEN, but I do think how inclusive a school is of different needs says a lot about the school ethos of a school.
Also, keep an eye open for other cues. We went round one and asked the head about various new initiatives (playground games being taught, etc) and she was very dismissive about jumping on bandwagons and very old school, another school was embracing everything enthusiastically and was really passionate about the ethos behind it all. Neither particularly right or wrong, but we felt much more comfortable and at home with the latter.
One school couldn't even tell us how they taught reading "oh, a little bit of this, a little bit of that... they all learn differently you know" without really meeting our eyes. Got crossed off our list sharpish!
ok, rubberduck got in before me....I was going to say you need to ask about their SEN policies. and how they help children if they flag that they are dropping behind but before any DX might be made. (My DS2 has been flagged as dyslexic and ADD.......we are still waiting for referrals but in the meantime they are still teaching him as tho he does have the DX so as to keep him going forward instead of losing heart with his work).
look about you at the children while you go thro the school. you need to see them looking happy and involved.....the teachers paying them attention......lots of work being displayed, just general pride in themselves and the school.
ooh.....ask about communication. I found that all that I told the teacher/TA/school nurse about J did not get passed on to the dinner ladies. They need to be aware that any worries you have about your child, if it includes worries that may crop up during breaks, then anyone who is comtact with your child needs to know.
thanks, that was one of my thoughts about today's school actually, and though dd doesn't have any apparent sn, I think her situation is different and I have heard that any pupils who don't fit the mould can get ousted out. I know a couple of people who are very happy with it and another lady I met has 2 children at the school, 1 does very well and the other not so, and she is thinking of taking that 1 out .
One school we went to there was sooo much noise and chatter and we were a bit dubious. Then we went round one which was deathly quiet and we realised school no 1 it was productive noise - it was kids participating in the lessons and having extra activities they were getting involved in and discussing with each other.
Which just goes to show that you have to look around several schools to really understand what's going on!
well, I;ve been and I have to say I really liked it. It had a lovely calm atmosphere but not in a bad way, the children all seemed very happy and engaged. I have to see another on Thursday so we'll see. I may not get in this one as i'm 4th on the list of criteria. It is a C of E school and i'm applying as it's in my catchment but my neighbour got in last year and I know she doesn't go to church but has a church going background .
I asked about sn provision and the deputy gave positive feedback as I suppose they would. Anyway, it was a lovely environment.