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What do I need to ask/look for when visiting primary schools?

(11 Posts)
francesrivis Mon 15-Jun-09 12:58:50

Hi, am going to be looking at some possible primary schools for dd1 this week and feel a bit clueless about what questions I should be asking and what to look for - any thoughts? (I know of course that she won't necessarily get into the one we choose!) TIA

monkeychambers Mon 15-Jun-09 13:54:46

Me too - will watch this with interest. Have only just been told we need to pick our top 3 choices in August this year ready for September 2010. Had previously been told Christmas was the deadline. Eeek.

Where do you start?

BetsyBoop Mon 15-Jun-09 14:29:29

I didn't have a set list of questions, but based the questions for each school based on having read their prospectus and/or website & last Ofsted report (these are available here

If there are particular things that are important to you eg before/after school clubs, catering for any special needs etc then (obviously!) ask those.

I asked about things like approach to teaching, what PE they do, discipline, school dinners, class structure (eg mixed years or not)

TBH though the looking round was more to get a "feel" of the place & trying to imagine if I could see DD being there. For the school that will be our first choice I definitely could (although it's difficult to say exactly why hmm)

I suppose we are "lucky" in that we only have 4 schools within walking distance and one of those is RC, so we've only really got 3 to choose from anyway wink

Hope that helps, there are probably people far more rigorous in theie apprach than me grin

PrettyCandles Mon 15-Jun-09 14:36:32

I was deeply impressed by the way the children and teachers interacted with each other: confident, polite, clearly enjoying each other's company. And particularly by the fact that the Head seemed to know every child's name (infant school, about 170 children), what they were doing in class, and something about each child's family.

snice Mon 15-Jun-09 14:39:35

Might you need after/pre school care? If so you need to look at if this is provided on site at any of your options.

BetsyBoop Mon 15-Jun-09 14:44:03

Prettycandles, your school sounds exactly like the school that will be our first choice for our DD

BetsyBoop Mon 15-Jun-09 14:45:34

what I meant to add is that's exactly what I mean about the "feel" of the place, not something you can really ask questions about, but something you "feel" as you walk round the school, you decribed it very well though

saadia Mon 15-Jun-09 14:49:36

Ask about their anti-bullying policy. I asked at one school and the Head said she didn't believe such young children could be bullies, which I disagreed with so didn't put down that choice.

Ask when they start getting homework, and how much they get, how often reading books are changed, whether they encourage parents to come in and volunteer, do they allow sweets/cakes on birthdays.

monkeychambers Mon 15-Jun-09 15:04:28

This is all great information. Thank you so much.

Thanks to OP for getting the ball rolling.

Think I will print this off in the end and use it as my starting point.
So much to consider.

scrappydappydoo Mon 15-Jun-09 15:17:31

Ah - here you are - just asked this q in the main education section.. I was going to ask about reading schemes e.g which one? What they expect dd to know when she starts?

francesrivis Mon 15-Jun-09 17:58:51

thanks, really helpful!

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