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How important are SAT results and ofsted?

(12 Posts)
Greatfun Mon 08-Jun-09 14:56:04

DD starts school in Sep 2010. She is currently at nursery at school A which has a good ofsted reults and OK SATs (don't remember the exact numbers but about average). She is very happy there and judging from the weekly school letter we receive they have alot going on.

School B is slightly nearer and has an outstanding ofsted and excellent SATs (all in their 90%).

We chose school A as her nursery as they have nicer grounds and school B still had a bit of a repuatation for being rough (we are in London) and had been on special measures a few years ago.

We are happy with school A but having seen the SATs and ofsted for school B I am wondering whether I should change her to school Bs nursery with a view to applying to their reception next year.

I should add that we are more liekly to get school B when it comes to reception due to distance from school.

I have spoken to a few parents in the local playground who say school B is great but as I say DD and we are happy with school A.

MrsMattie Mon 08-Jun-09 15:01:23

If you are talking about state schools (non-denominational) then it shouldn't matter whether you send her to the nursery or not - that won't make it more likely that she will get in. Check each school's admission criteria on your LEA website. Most non-denom state schools offer places based on proximity to the school, so you are more likely to get into the closest one anyway.

Go and see the one nearest to you. I think Ofsted and SATS do matter, but should only be taken into account with a range of other factors, including what your instincts are about the school on visiting.

hth

pigswithfludontfly Mon 08-Jun-09 18:19:08

Agree with MrsM- certainly in our area of London the reception place allocation is completely separate from which nursery children attend (this didn't used to be the case, was changed a few years ago which is why there's still some confusion out there)...

thecloudhopper Mon 08-Jun-09 19:02:05

I would also look at the value added score becuse if that is high then usually it shows good progression.

Also agree it has to feel right to you. Are the staff friendly?

Are you made to feel welcome?

How well kept is the school?

Hope that helps

tkband3 Mon 08-Jun-09 19:26:22

An ex-primary teacher friend once told me not to take too much notice of OFSTED reports as the headteacher has a fair amount of control over what the inspectors see and don't see so they don't necessarily give the full picture. They are there as a guide, but there is no substitute for visiting the school and getting your own 'feel' for it, by talking to the headteacher and seeing the children at work and play. If possible, see if you can find any parents of children who attend school B - even the best schools have some issues.

FWIW, one of our local schools has amazing SATs and an outstanding OFSTED - we moved to the area to get into it, but the year we applied for DD1, the catchment was tiny and so we got into another, not quite so well-regarded school. Now that I know more about the area and have more inside knowledge, I have found that parents at the outstanding school are often dismayed at the pressure that is put on their children to achieve the results that maintain the school's reputation.

scarletlilybug Mon 08-Jun-09 19:30:21

Value added score is a load of b**l, IMHO.
It measures "progress" between KS1 and KS2 - so if a school does badly at KS1 but better at KS2, it will get a better value added score than one which performs well at both levels.

Good SATS scores tend to reflect a higher social "class" intake.

OFSTED measures how closely the school adheres to the latest government edicts. (Not just my view, but Chris Woodhead's view, too).

I think the best you can do is ask to see examples of children's work, talk to the head, and take it from there. JMO.

MrsMattie Mon 08-Jun-09 20:58:24

Oh, and make sure you meet the Head. A likeable, dynamic head teacher means a hell of lot.

amicissima Mon 08-Jun-09 22:11:05

OFSTED and SATs results provide a certain amount of information, but you have to read them carefully.
OFSTED seen to like a certain type of teacher. IME the teachers who had my DCs bouncing out of school bursting to tell me what they had learned each day didn't get such rave valuations, one of them came across as a bit crazy, but the pupils really learnt in that class.

SATs and value added are more useful taken together. It's always worth checking out the level 5s achieved. If the value added is low, but the level 4, and, particularly, level 5 results are high, it suggests that the intake tends to be bright and/or many have started reading, writing, number skills before reception. If the value added is high, specially if the level 4 + 5 results are lower, the intake is probably lower-achieving at age 4/5, but the school is teaching them well; and so on.

It's worth considering where your DD is at: eg. if the intake is mainly high-achieving, she could be pushed along at a fast pace, which may, or may not, suit her. Will the school be trying to get as many level 5s as possible, or will it be making sure that everybody at least reaches level 4?

The results give a bit of information but there's no substitute for visiting the schools. As you go round look at and talk to the older children - would you like your DD to be like them when she's 8,9,10, 11?

Like the others, I don't expect that being in the nursery will influence your chance of a place at the school, but you can check with the school - it should be in their admissions criteria.

If you're not sure about whether you're likely to be offered a place at school A, you could phone the LEA admissions office and ask where the catchment has been in previous years. Also ask if you put the further school as first choice and fail to get it, do you drop to the second-choice school on an equal footing with the people who put it first, or do they give out the first-choices first?

IME school heads and LEA admissions departments can be very helpful, although they have to be careful not to give you reason to believe you are guaranteed a place.

And a couple of tips from one who has been there:
If your DD isn't offered a place at your preferred school it isn't personal, it's simply numbers, and ... get her name on the waiting list of every school you like, as soon as you have the rejection, don't panic - it's surprising how the waiting lists move.

Good luck.

ICANDOTHAT Tue 09-Jun-09 09:05:39

Is the nursery part of the school (free place or a fee payable to main school) or do you pay privately to nursery owner ? Have you asked the question if nursery 'feeds' into reception or do you still have to apply via LEA for a place? You need to take into acount current parents views - get several, but the OFSTED and SATs results are a fair indicator of how the school is managed and the final results they achieve - I feel the proof is in the pudding so to speak. Good luck wink

thecloudhopper Tue 09-Jun-09 21:19:59

I am sorry but to me value added score are not to be rubbished because they show how well the children progress and too many people just look at SATS as the be all and end all I am so glad that in Wales we do not do themk any more as they are not a true account of whjat the children know and rely so heavily on the child doing well on that particular morning.

Greatfun Tue 09-Jun-09 21:26:28

Thanks everyone.The nurseries dont feed into reception round here. I think I made it sound like it did that was my fault.I was just thinking of trying to put DD in thenursery of our first choice school in the hope that we get in so she will know people. Thats a separate issue really but that was my reasoning.

I think our chance of getting school B for reception are quite high as we are nearer to it. If I was going to put that as first choice I was thinking of moving her to their nursery. If however, we were going to put school A down I was going to leave her where she is.

Both school are good but different. With re: to feelings when we were shown round. School A I liked and knew people who used it and liked it. School B felt more dynamic and had a great atmosphere. The deputy head was lovely and very good at selling the school. Both schools are in a mixed area in terms of the kids backgrounds and their class. School B has a repuatation for being rough for some reason but I have seen a fair bit of that at DDs current school as well. The main gripe I had with school B was its position (main road and near a railway line) and lack of green outdoor space. School A has lovely grounds despite being in London. Both Dh and I were bought up in the country so concrete playgrounds were a little alien to us!

katiestar Wed 10-Jun-09 11:33:33

i agree that SATS are more a reflection of the intake than the school's ability.
Value added I don't think is particularly meaningful either.Ofsted reports -hmmm not sure.Depends a lot on how good the school are at playing the game.I doubt you are looking for the same things as an OFSTED inspector
I think the best way is to spend as much time as possible in the school and see for yourself what goes on.Go to the sportsday , walk past at playtime Go with your gut instinct.

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