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Torn between two schools, help me decide please.

(14 Posts)
schoolstress Wed 23-Sep-09 10:44:13

DD will be starting primary school next September. She is fairly bright (do all parents think this?wink), preschool staff have commented that "she will do well at school" and she loves learning, reading, finding out about things etc.

One school close to us is overall rated grade 2 in ofsted, pupils do well academically, good pastoral care etc. BUT dd is likely to be the only non white child in the school (there are currently none).

The other school is grade 3 overall, pupils enter at a lower than average level and do slightly less well than expected. Higher than average numbers of minority ethnic pupils attend the school. The school gets all grade 1 and 2 for pupil wellbeing, personal development,welfare etc. It is also a smaller school.

I am leaning towards the second school but then worry that dd will be held back academically. But then I also think that it is only primary school and that there is plenty of time for academic achievement later.

Aaaargh! Can anyone talk me through this to help me make a decision. Will I be letting dd down if I go for the lower rated school?

bigstripeytiger Wed 23-Sep-09 10:46:36

If the only concern with the higher rated school is that your DD would be the only white pupil, then I would probably go for that.

Have you been able to look round the schools and see how they feel to you?

Seeline Wed 23-Sep-09 10:56:25

You have to visit - OFSTED reports aren't the only consideration. What does the school feel like, what methods of teaching are used, how do the teachers treat the children (and vice versa), what is the accommodation like, do they have adequate outside space, are things like music provision important to you?

seeker Wed 23-Sep-09 10:58:55

Visit. Then decide.

schoolstress Wed 23-Sep-09 11:03:29

Sorry I should have said, I have been to both schools. Both have nice facilities, the children seemed happy at both, the teachers seemed nice at both. I just got a feeling for the second school that I didn't get for the first. But I am not sure if that is because I went to a very small primary school myself so it seemed more like primary school as I remember it iyswim.

scarletlilybug Wed 23-Sep-09 11:08:12

Don't get too carried away with the Ofsted grading. Having been on the receiving end of two Ofsteds, I think the grading to a large part reflects how closely a school adheres to current educational orthodoxy. The comments are often more useful than the actual grades, IMO.

"I also think that it is only primary school and that there is plenty of time for academic achievement later". Maybe... but maybe you could also see this as putting the foundation stones in place for a good overall education.

schoolstress Wed 23-Sep-09 11:25:09

Yes, that is how I have talked myself out of that thinking as well... I don't want to give her a bad start.

Toffeepopple Wed 23-Sep-09 14:09:35

My kids are at a "lower-rated" school but it is the right school for them and the way they learn.

Where do you think your DD would best learn?

southernsoftie Wed 23-Sep-09 14:23:13

Why not go back to school 1 for a second visit and ask them how they would feel about your dd being the only non-white in the school? Are they enthusiastic, nonchalant, dismissive? You may get a better feel for how your dd will be treated from their response.

DD currently goes to a school where almost everyone is white. Anyone who is other has if anything been treated better upon joining, although after a week or two the novelty has worn off and they are treated just like anyone else. Children are remarkably colour blind and very likely won't even notice.

TheWorstWitch Wed 23-Sep-09 14:28:48

This is a tricky one.
We have a very good primary close to us which has few non-white pupils. Consequently a lot of Mums I know (myself included) are thinking twice about about whether this would be the best school for our DCs.

On the other hand, I know that this top primary is trying to become more mixed / diverse as they see the benefit of this for all children. And I agree with that.

Don;t really have any answers / advice, but wondering if you've talked to the school about your concerns?

Runoutofideas Wed 23-Sep-09 17:29:23

I don't think I would send my child to a school where the children do less well than expected when you have a perceived "better" alternative. Maybe by sending your daughter there it could be the start of the school becoming more diverse....I understand you wouldn't want her to stand out as being different, but I honestly think most reception children wouldn;t notice the colour of her skin.

Toffeepopple Wed 23-Sep-09 17:43:05

Was just going to add that I spent one year of my schooling as the only white pupil in a school and it was FINE!

loler Wed 23-Sep-09 17:52:22

After 2 years of the school run my priority would be getting there and back, go to the one that you can easily walk to. It's more likely that friends will be local too - as neither school seems to be awful the Ofsted doesn't really make that much difference and you'll find your own pros/cons with any school.

The school I send dc to is small - about 15 in a year(I wanted that as I went to a small school) - I would prefer it it be a bit bigger to be honest for various reasons (bigger pool of friends, more chance for team sports, easier to run after school clubs). I think what I'm trying to say is school size also becomes less important on the list of prioritys once they start there!

Good luck this school thing is hard work!

womblingfree Wed 23-Sep-09 23:29:28

Will she have any friends (ie from nursery) attending either school?

Just thinking if she goes to the first school and has some friends going there too it might help put your mind at rest.

FWIW I don't think most kids even register skin colour. We live in a predominantly white community but my DD (5) has never commented on a person's skin colour.

At the end of the day you can only trust your gut. I debated sending my DD to a school out of our catchment 'cos it was near to her nursery and where all her friends where going. After seeing that and our catchment school I opted for the catchment one as I had a much better vibe for it and in particular thought the headteacher was fab.

She started 2 weeks ago knowing just one girl from nursery who she wasn't close friends with, and has already made 4 new friends and a 'boy' friend grin!

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