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Would you trust an impressive headteacher at a previously failing primary?

(38 Posts)
Masalamama Mon 19-Nov-12 21:39:33

So we live in area with an outstanding primary school that is heavily oversubscribed. The next nearest school has been Ofsted outstanding for years, just this year almost failing its inspection after a change in leadership and three years of falling results.

In the meantime, another local primary that failed its Ofsted 4 years ago has really upped its game. It has a very impressive young headteacher, who has created a high tech and v energetic team of teachers. The outside space is the best in the neighbourhood, despite being in a "deprived" part of the area. It went straight to Good in 2010 "This is a good and rapidly improving school" and is expecting another Ofsted any time now.

My view is that this school has all the potential to be the best in the neighbourhood. But I am not sure to what extent I can take a punt on my child's future. I'll be watching out for the new Ofsted, and the results in Dec, but do any of your more experienced parents have advice/experiences to share? Ta!

CrapBag Mon 19-Nov-12 21:46:33

Not more experienced but I do know that many of my friends will say that a school is as good as its Head. It does sound promising but I would also look at the area it serves and the types of familes that use it.

Sorry if that sounds snobby but where I live I don't have a choice. It was send DS to a Catholic school even though I don't believe in religion or send him to one of the bloody awful local schools that I wouldn't even consider.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 19-Nov-12 21:47:34

Yes I would. Good and rapidly improving means that the school has turned around and is well on the way to being excellent - a new and very enthusiastic head and energetic teachers would swing it for me.

MogTheForgetfulCat Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:39

Generally speaking, yes.

sausagesandwich34 Mon 19-Nov-12 21:59:49

I would

the rimary my DCs go to was a failing school

the head started the year before DD1 started so they have always been under his 'regime' so to speak

they have done amazingly well, it's a very different school to the one I viewed when I was looking at schools and I wouldn't consider anywhere else now -it's also now oversubscribed

it's also slap bang in the middle of a council estate with a very mixed intake

exoticfruits Mon 19-Nov-12 22:14:14

Yes-I would-they have appointed someone they think can succeed.

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:53

Yes, I would. In fact I did. We took the punt 7 years ago and have never regretted it. It is very exciting being part of a school that's on an upward curve.

The combination of an impressive head, energetic teachers and decent outdoor space sounds like gold dust.

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 19-Nov-12 22:29:14

Also, the major factor in your children's future is how supportive you are as a parent. If you feel enthused about the school and able to throw yourself into supporting their education, you are unlikely to go far wrong.

ecuse Mon 19-Nov-12 22:38:23

I would, yes. No direct experience as my only child is <2 but I've always been led to believe that it's more about through head and the atmosphere than the Ofsted.

ninah Mon 19-Nov-12 22:41:03

It sounds good
The HT is a major factor in the school's general ethos (for better or worse)

MayaAngelCool Mon 19-Nov-12 22:54:02

My kid is at a school like much this. It is a fantastic school. Fantastic. I say yes.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Mon 19-Nov-12 23:04:58

Have you visited them all?

Ponders Mon 19-Nov-12 23:14:37

the Head is incredibly important in a primary school.

There was a lovely one at ours when DC1 started, but he retired a couple of years after she left, & although the school continued to get good academic results under the new Head (who was apparently a good manager hmm but was an A1 bitch who generally disliked children, parents & staff) it was mostly because of the calibre of the intake. The atmosphere, & staff morale, plummeted

at least 1 teacher was out on long-term sick (ie nervous breakdown) all the time, & all the staff just stopped doing any extra-curricular stuff because it was all taken for granted. Poor DC4 had his entire primary school career under the auspices of the A1 bitch

She has retired now & they have a lovely Head again.

steppemum Mon 19-Nov-12 23:19:58

school actually sounds great, vibrant inovative. the head makes all the difference.

BUT the intake may be a lot of kids whose parents weren't bothered enough to move them away fprm a failing school, so I would look round and see what you think.

izzybobsmum Tue 20-Nov-12 02:41:05

Yes, definitely! My dd's school had an old-fashioned head with old fashioned ideas, and the Ofsted came out Satisfactory. Cue Head's retirement and appointment of younger, energetic, dynamic new Head, and the school has made big leaps forward. Everyone likes her, and wants the school to do weLl and as a consequence, teachers and pupils both try really hard...

SunflowersSmile Tue 20-Nov-12 07:08:32

Gosh- there is some snobbery from a couple of posters here about 'parents one would like to mix with'.
Visit the school op- it does sound 'on the up' and a vibrant non coasting school.
You don't want to end up at a school that coasts due to its middle class intake....[ie parents do the work and school can sit pretty either doing bugger all or being a SATs factory to satisfy pushy parents].

exoticfruits Tue 20-Nov-12 08:19:44

I wouldn't worry about the snobbery-some parents were like that about my DC's school -some then changed when our school got the outstanding-it was quite funny!

Masalamama Tue 20-Nov-12 09:06:20

Thanks so much! You've confirmed my thoguhts. I would rather go to a school that is showing ambition and drive. The kids that attend are mostly from local council estates, but it won't be long before the school is deemed outstanding and the (snobby) middle class types swoop in I reckon. I have had advice to the tunes of "go at 3:30pm and see if those parents are the types you want to have tea with". Astounding stuff. Does it really mater at that tender age?? The kids seemed adorable to me, play time was very energetic and the ehad knew the kids names...

Luckily for me, I have tea in my office, where I work Mon-Fri!!

CaseyShraeger Tue 20-Nov-12 09:10:15

I would snap up "Good and rapidly improving" before everyone else caught on and it became oversubscribed. The head makes a MASSIVE difference to a school.

SunflowersSmile Tue 20-Nov-12 09:49:45

Sounds like you have your head screwed on masalamama grin.

Ponders Tue 20-Nov-12 09:56:41

head knowing kids' names is a massive plus smile

sparkle12mar08 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:17:57

A school is pretty much only as good as it's head. That is, a great head can turn around a poor school, and a poor head can quickly damage a great school. So the demographic of the children and parents would bother me a lot less in general than the performance of the head.

marquesas Tue 20-Nov-12 10:24:24

I think everyone has already said it but yes, I would go with the impressive head. A local school to me (not the one my DC attended so I can't speak personally) really changed when the old HT retired. He wasn't a bad head by any means but his replacement was 20 years younger and really reinvigorated the school.

LittleMachine Tue 20-Nov-12 17:24:26

I would ask to visit while the children are in if possible, this gives you a great insight into the ethos of a school and how it feels,
It sounds very similar to the school that I teach in. We are in a very deprived area - the upshot of this is that we have had enormous amounts of funding over the last 5 years (less so now), so we are incredibly well resourced and very highly trained. Our reputation as a good school has taken a while to embed within the community, but we are now over-subscribed.

LittleMachine Tue 20-Nov-12 17:25:18

Oops sorry should have had a full stop instead of a comma there, my phone screen is cracked and I can't see what I'm doing!

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