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Applying for primary - ofsted reports.

(29 Posts)
Greatfun Fri 23-Oct-09 22:22:34

We are applying for primary school and I am torn re: which school to put first as our preference. Our nearest school has an outstanding ofsted (1 for everything) and excellent SATs. However, its grounds are awful (London) and it used to have a bad repuatation and be under subscribed. This is changing with the recent ofsted and its now become very popular with local people. Our second nearest school has a good ofsted report with a few weaknesses identified at year 1/2 and average SATs. The grounds are lovely and they have loads of clubs, etc on. DD goes to nursery at this school and loves it. The ofsted and SAT results for the first school are making me think I should put this as first choice but the fact that DD is so happy at the second school makes me unsure. How much weight should I put on the ofsted and SATs? I suppose the other thing to factor in is that the first school (with the outstanding ofsted but awful grounds) is nearer home so slightly more convenient for work and with more local people using it would make playdates and having local friends easier. There is no one in our immediate area that attends the same nursery as DD with most going to the other school.

trickerg Fri 23-Oct-09 22:51:14

Stay. Children need lovely grounds and clubs.

(Your dd (as an individual) may do brilliantly at her present school, even if the school statistics look less inspiring.)

2bamum Fri 23-Oct-09 22:58:00

Ofsted I'd advise reading very carefully, I can't help thinking there has been quite incredible grade inflation in Ofsted reports. The schools are learning what ticks the inspectors boxes

SATS are a bit more important I'd say but looking around the school and making your own decision is the most important thing

If you're in London are you sure you'll get a place at the non nearest school?

heavealot Fri 23-Oct-09 23:03:31

Agree that schools are learning what ticks ofsted's boxes.

I chose a school because of the outstanding ofsted and great results, but am wondering what those results are at the expense of. For example their provision for music, art and sports is really not that good.

Greatfun Fri 23-Oct-09 23:03:49

We would have got in this year but not last year. We are only 100 metres nearer the closer school anyway. Its possible we wont get either but I can't face that one at the moment. hmm

Re: the ofsted. The 'better' school has a walking on water type report.They can literally do no wrong.I must admit I liked it but I really hated the grounds. But thats perhaps more to do with the types of schools I went to.

Greatfun Fri 23-Oct-09 23:05:42

heavealot - interesting point. I am seeing the 'better' school again soon so I will ask about these areas. Being a science geek its not something that woudl have occurred to me! I have noticed DDs nursery and what I see from the school has a very rounded curriculum. Lots of clubs, learning instruments and art projects.

heavealot Fri 23-Oct-09 23:06:52

Meant to say - wondering now that dcs have been there a few years, what those results are at the expense of.

heavealot Fri 23-Oct-09 23:09:28

Our schools ofsted was also 'walking on water'.
So much so, dh is convinced that the ofsted inspector must have been corrupt and taken a bribe grin.

thederkinsdame Fri 23-Oct-09 23:19:22

Ofsted schmofsted. Go with your gut - you know your child, you know where they will be happiest and a happy child will learn.
We had a bad experience with an outstanding rated pre-school. Moved to another 'good' one and DC loves it. I haven't even read the ofsteds for primary schools.
I think f it as a bit like a visit from the Queen - the school knows they are coming, will smarten up etc, so they never get a real picture, anyway. :-)

Greatfun Fri 23-Oct-09 23:23:25

the schools know? Really. I am showng my naivety. I thought it was all 'surprise, we're here.'

cherryblossoms Sat 24-Oct-09 01:18:48

heavealot's post could be mine (though I didn't choose the school, dh did; I had misgivings).

Be very wary of the ofsted report bearing false outstandings. It may well be outstanding - or you're gut instinct may be spot on.

Ask lots of questions about the things that interest you on behalf of your dc and try and get an idea of what would be outstanding for you.

mrz Sat 24-Oct-09 08:55:47

Greatfun schools have to complete an online form (SEF- self evaluation form) in which you say how wonderful you are - we walk on water if you like, which the inspectors read and from this decide how good the school is. Then the visit (2 days notice) is intended to confirm or otherwise this judgement.

smee Sat 24-Oct-09 12:24:54

Definitely go on instinct, if only because what you like in a school may not be what other parents/ ofsted, etc likes. If she's happy and you like the school stay.

Mallenstreak Sat 24-Oct-09 12:31:00

Please don't rely just on Ofsted report-trust your instincts. My son had an awful time at infants and now he has left has told us how he was dragged from class and carried down a corridor by 4 members of staff ( he was classed as Special Needs at the time). He didn't tell us when he was at the school as he thought all schools were like that!!They also sent him home 'sick'when Ofsted were visitng as he is quite outspoken and I believe they didn't want to risk him causing any upset. This school was rated 'Outstanding' but if we had known what was going on we would have done something.My son still has bad dreams about the school and their other actions taken have led to him having some social problems now.

Greatfun Sat 24-Oct-09 18:32:29

I just wnated to thank you for your input. Has anyone (particularly yeachers) got any thoughts about the SATS. The outstanding school has excellent SATs (all 97-100%) whereas the other school has average results. Does this mean the teaching at the outstanding school is better or is it possible they focus on these areas perhaps at the risk of somethign else?

smee Sat 24-Oct-09 20:22:45

SATs by themselves are a bit misleading as lets face it f you have a school stuffed to the gills with the middle classes you'd expect excellent SATs, whereas if you've got a large amount of say kids with English not as a first language, you could have far lower SATs results, but it wouldn't necessarily mean the school was bad iyswim. You need to look at Value Added Score - that shows starting points and how the children progress through the school.

2bamum Sat 24-Oct-09 22:15:43

was going to add surely it means the outstanding school has more middle class pushy educated (call it what you will) parents-only you know if that's true in your area

I have heard before that the schools park all the 'difficult' kids somewhere else when Ofsted visit.

AngryPixie Sat 24-Oct-09 22:26:59

Tell us the schools, some of us London Mums might have first hand knowledge.

Go on....dare you!

MrsGently Sat 24-Oct-09 22:37:12

I wouldn't put too much by Sats either - I did and I regret it - my dd attends a very pushy, competitive school - not nice if your child isn't in the top sets as pressure is put on you as a parent to improve your child's performance - teaching at our school is OK but the parents do lots to fill in the gaps - hence the good Sats results.

Greatfun Sun 25-Oct-09 07:51:47

About a third have english as a second language. The area is mixed in terms of class. I imagine there are alot more middle class parents interested in this school (myself included) given its results but prior to this it was generally considered a bit rough. In fact there is still a fair amount of this according to friends who use it but I would say DDs school is as well. Just reflects the area. We are in SW London nr Wimbledon.

Greatfun Sun 25-Oct-09 07:54:50

Re: Value added score. Am I right in thinking a score over 100 is good and anything under 100 isn't?

Greatfun Sun 25-Oct-09 08:10:01

I am now even more confused! Just checked DDs current schools results. Their SATs were all above average until last year when they went below average. The other school has been below average until the last 3 years where they have consitently improved and are now way above average. I woudl have thought that the results for DDs school are a blip as surely teir teahcing can't have declined that much in one year?

MrsGently Sun 25-Oct-09 08:51:25

Or they may have lots of special needs children in one year. Why don't you ask the school because you can be sure they'll have given it some thought.

raggedtrouseredphilanthropist Sun 25-Oct-09 09:04:33

I am a teacher, and I would say go for the school she is at nursery at.
Ofsted visits are becoming no-notice now - about 40% are, apparently. So, an outstanding school should have everything in place to be outstanding ona daily basis.
BUT you have to ask WHY does it have such good sats? I know of a local school that has excellent SAT results as they have no EAL or SEN children. Another school is 30% EAL (being the place to send EAL kids) and has their fair schare of SEN, with a 'good' Osfted. Not hard to see why there is a difference in SATS results. But I would guess that the children in the 2nd school would have a more balanced 'education'.

1st school has middle class catchment, and more pushy parents. I would HATE to be a lower ability child in that school. The second school has a varied catchment, well rounded curriculum with a variety of after school clubs. I know where I will be sending ds.
You have to look beyond Ofsted and SATS imo, and go with your gut..

AngryPixie Sun 25-Oct-09 18:41:49

OOH really intrigued now. My children go to a Wimbledon Primary school.

Are we talking D and W Ch


P and HT


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