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Is anyone really happy with their primary school?

(45 Posts)
changer22 Sun 08-Nov-09 20:42:48

DH and I were talking about our DC's school the other day and came to the conclusion that it is at best mediocre and at worst, damaging.

We have one DC who is pretty bright, very sociable and happy who we thought would just love school. She is doing fine but the spark seems to be fading already.

We have another who has dyslexia and still can't read or write independently at 7. His self esteem is low and he is really struggling. Some days he goes off to school without protest but other days we feel really bad about sending him.

The NC topics seems pretty boring (food - health and safety, music - high notes low notes) and the teachers weary.

The school is well regarded and is in an affluent middle class town.

We just hoped it would be so much better than this for them but I don't know whether we are unlucky or expecting too much.

cherryblossoms Sun 08-Nov-09 20:47:48

Look around. There are huge differences between schools.

Some are truly brilliant.

Don't be taken in by the "well-regarded". My dd is at a school where the parents seem to have been brainwashed into some sort of cult and truly believe the school to be amazing. It isn't. It's dire. i know, because my dc were at another school before. But I feel as though I am living in the school equivalent of Stepford.

So, I would strongly advise you to have a look around.

Clayhead Sun 08-Nov-09 20:49:26

Yes! We love our dc's primary! dc are 6 & 8, they both love it, eager to go in every day and obviously learning loads.

It's a state school in a very mixed area.

The staff are welcoming and friendly and are always coming up with new ideas.

What do your fellow parents think/feel?

Clary Sun 08-Nov-09 20:51:27

We like the schools our DC attend actually.

Excellent, inspirational heads, lots of exciting stuff to learn, chances to play instruments and do other clubs, and lots of lovely friends.

Sorry OP that yours is not meetign expectations; have you talked to the staff or HT?

GunpowderTreasonAndDragons Sun 08-Nov-09 20:52:34

Yes. I am perfectly happy with DSs school otherwise I would have moved them.

changer22 Sun 08-Nov-09 21:04:29

I've tried looking locally but they are all full for one of the DC's years. Apparently there was a peak in that year and although we could get DS in we can't get DD in anywhere. We can't move one and not the other because of the logistics of dropping off/picking up.

I'm just frustrated and have lost my faith along the way. I don't see how we can talk to the head or staff without moaning (it's difficult to pull out any one thing) and I think fundamentally it's a personality issue. One of the teachers in particular comes across as such a wet blanket with no 'oompf'. She's probably good at her job in a plodding way but that's not what I'm looking for. Another is old school 'tolerate the blighters'.

It seems that the NC has taken so much inspiration out of teaching that only those who are naturals or work really hard to make it interesting succeed.

Hulababy Sun 08-Nov-09 21:08:27

I love the primary school my DD goes too. We spend a long time looking round schools and visited about 5 different ones before applying. It is definitely very much suited to DD. It is not in the state sector, but I thinkt he "gut feeling" and looking around and watching still applies.

Lilyloo Sun 08-Nov-09 21:09:58

Yes i am really happy with the one dd 4 and ds 7 attend.

primarymum Sun 08-Nov-09 21:15:49

I love my school, other wise I wouldn't have spent the last 6 years there!

Smithagain Sun 08-Nov-09 21:17:23

Yes, I'm very happy with my daughters' school - which is very far from being "well regarded", has a very wide social and cultural mix for this area and a spectacularly high level of SEN. But also has a popular and inspirational head and a really good clutch of teachers who manage to hold everything together in challenging circumstances.

Although that's not what Ofsted says hmm.

mummyofevilprincesses Sun 08-Nov-09 21:39:20

My children love their school and are making good progress, so I love their school. If things were different I would talk to the school and see if things can be improved.

Affluent and middle class does not necessarily make the best school. Sometimes they believe their own hype so get a bit stale.

duckyfuzz Sun 08-Nov-09 21:42:21

yes we are, DTs love it and are getting on well, for some reason most of our neighbours don't use it hmm

LordVetinarisApprentice Sun 08-Nov-09 21:43:49

Yes, very. We are very lucky that it is smallish, great caring ethos, strong leadership and excellent educational standards. NC topics are given by government so you are unlikely to find hugely scintillating ones in most schools.

LOL at "One of the teachers in particular comes across as such a wet blanket with no 'oompf'. She's probably good at her job in a plodding way but that's not what I'm looking for " - yeah I'm sure you're not. What are you looking for? Mary Poppins on a teacher's salary?! Good luck with that.

asdx2 Sun 08-Nov-09 21:44:46

I love my daughter's primary and she does too. She even cried when she had to have two days off through illness. So happy to have moved dd from a dull and depressing school into her present one. I would say if you are unhappy then don't put up with it look around.

changer22 Sun 08-Nov-09 22:22:51

LVA - I know the NC topics are set by government - that's one of my concerns. There seems to be little scope to liven them up unless the teacher is really talented, (e.g. health and safety in food...) and if he/she is not particularly inspired then it makes for a pretty dull experience for all.

Mary Poppins? No, but bright and appearing pleased to be there would help. When I was in the playground the other day two teachers opened their doors early with a smile, greeting the children and looking genuinely pleased to see them. Another though turned up after the bell, clutching her coffee looking like she really could be doing something better with her time. It's this attitude that I find objectionable.

As a parent you look really hard to find good people to be with your children - childminders, nursery staff, babysitters, swimming instructors, whatever, and then you send them off to school at 4 and it can all fall down.

I know the pay isn't great, it's hard work, parents have got more demanding (!), etc. etc. but I have had hard, low paid work (retail, catering) and still worked hard and if I wasn't enjoying it I got out.

changer22 Sun 08-Nov-09 22:28:36

It's heartening to find everyone on here is pleased with their school. My fellow parents at DC's school seem to feel much the same way as me so it does seem to be something about the school (most of the parents I know are from the same school).

We need to find somewhere new...

GrumpyYoungFogey Sun 08-Nov-09 22:30:15

The (weirdly near the average of everything in terms of its cross section of pupils) school is fine.

Kids are happy there and seem to be learning to read and write.

The system however is awful. One, there is the pointless obsession with box ticking, form-filling, target-setting, standards raising nonsense that must sap the teachers' will to live. There is the near universal use wearing of uniform, which on five year olds looks both sinister and scruffy.

Then one comes to the curriculum. Mind bogglingly dull, worthy, laughably politically correct rubbish. Just read the course books on "citizenship". It brings to mind the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union. These incredibly clunky books showing a multiracial, multicultural utopia at the point where everyone knows it's all a load of old rubbish.

Toffeepopple Sun 08-Nov-09 22:32:45

There are things I would improve at DC's school, certainly, but broadly it is loving, welcoming, inspiring and creative.

I would say don't look for perfection, but do look for somewhere where children thrive.

Fennel Sun 08-Nov-09 22:34:14

Yes, we've been happy with 3 very different primaries for our dc (we moved twice in the last few years). All 3 dds seem pretty happy, not absolutely all the time about everything, but fine in general.

I sometimes think we aren't fussy enough, if all 3 of our local schools have been fine, and we only really chose them for being local community schools. I think I just tend to be well disposed towards any place that will take my children off my hands for 30 hours a week for free.

LyraSilvertongue Sun 08-Nov-09 22:37:48

My DSs love their school and I'm very happy with how they're doing there. We never have any trouble getting them off to school each morning.
They seem to learn loads and often come home full of tales of what they've done that day.
It's a high-achieving school, but not the most high achieving in town. We chose it for its feel rather than its academic results. When we went for the tour, I felt I would have loved to go to school there, so knew it was right for my children.

cory Sun 08-Nov-09 22:50:58

I'm probably a bit like Fennel lol. Ds seems happy, he is clearly learning things, he is a bit slow, but that's him rather than the school.

paddyclamp Sun 08-Nov-09 23:05:12

DS loves his school and as parents we're very happy...think there'll always be niggles and things people aren't keen on about any school...but there's v v little i'd change about DS's school....i'd look around for somewhere else if both kids feel like this

ps since when has the pay not been very good lol

ThingOneofYourNightmares Sun 08-Nov-09 23:08:23

My DS1 is only in year one but we're very happy with the school so far, as is he. Of course it's not perfect but I doubt such a thing exists.

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 08-Nov-09 23:13:50

We're lucky that the well regarded, and always over subscribed infant school (and the linked junior school up the road) are both as good as they as "said" to be.

DS1 and 2 are like chalk and cheese when it comes to school work/life and the schools have done really well for both of them (well actually can't speak for the junior school on DS2 as he's still only in the infants).

Only problem I've had with them is a current one trying to arrange access to the walkway near the school hall for a builder to look at our wall on the otherside of it grin Our builder (good friend of ours) would find it easier to do weekends and the school are (currently) saying weekday. Although spoke to friend at church this morning about him arranging it and he's considering just using his ladder to climb over our garden wall .

pointydogg Sun 08-Nov-09 23:14:17

yes, happy with mine.

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