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I need some secondary school advice

(12 Posts)
newgirl Mon 27-Jun-11 19:41:47

We need to make a decision next year about schools what would you do?

We are not very near any schools but the most likely school I went to see and was a bit concerned. It was not very academic but some of my dd friends will go there. I thought the head was trying to be hip and a bit too Waterloo road.

Choice 2 is state selective. My dd has reasonable chance but it would mean a bus journey.

Or move.


mummytime Tue 28-Jun-11 06:58:13

I would look at all possible schools, look at results, talk to people who know the schools, talk to your DDs primary school (the head of my DCs primary is very knowledgeable about all schools in our area).
For example I have looked at most schools within our area, and within an hours commute for private. Do look at bus routes and train lines, to consider other option you may have.
The head is important, but not always the most important. I know pople who hate my DCs senior head, I quite like him, but it is still a fabulous school regardless of the heads personality.

cubscout Tue 28-Jun-11 13:52:06

Is moving a viable option? Are there other local schools that you have looked at and like better? Do you have time to move it before the application process if moving is something you would consider? Would the bus journey be managable if you tried for the selective?

Probably not helpful as I am in the same loop - a bit underwhelmed by local options and starting to wonder what to do. Personally I would move if it would mean a better education for my ds, but then I would probably get more house for the money anyway if we did! Dh however is dead against this.

I think personality is also a factor is school choice. Is your dd a girl who will do well academically wherever she is? One of the local schools near me seems to have very good teaching for top sets and many of last years leavers did very well, getting in to good uni's. I don't think it's so good for kids in the middle range of ability though, they seem to be offered less opportunities, and are pushed less. The school does have lots of extracurricular stuff going on though.

Can you chat to parents with children already at the school or other local secondaries, see what thier experience is?

newgirl Wed 29-Jun-11 17:37:35

Thank you for your thoughtful replies - I didn't have internet access so only just back!

In theory yes we can move - there is time as long as it all goes smoothly but I am sure houses near the great schools are expensive and it could all be stressful. I need to look at other schools - they all have better reputations/ofsteds etc but I need to see myself. From the outside they do look good!

I haven't spoken to parents with children at the school yet as I am not sure how to broach it without it sounding worried/critical - if it was a great school, no one would ever ask would they?

Good point about the head not being such a key factor - I am really happy with my dd school now and now everyone thinks the head is perfect - always likely to be personality differences. However I do think a head sets the tone/ethos of a school. This school rewards work with xboxes etc - I don't really see why this is a good idea - my dd likes schoolwork and at the moment expects that she has to do it - is this normal of a school?

mummytime - would you really consider up to an hour commute? the selective school near here would be 20-30 min and I'm having doutbs about that - surely they get tired, there is bad traffic now and then etc

newgirl Wed 29-Jun-11 17:38:26

sorry - not now everyone thinks ... should read 'not' everyone thinks!

mummytime Wed 29-Jun-11 18:02:07

Mine walk up to an hour, each way. But its good exercise and their school day is 8:30 to 3:15, I think the time they get home and the time they leave is more crucial than commute time. I did reject one school where the school bus left the school at the same time another comparable school's bus reached our town. I have also felt sorry for some boys arriving back in our town on a 6 pm train. But friends have sent their kids to such schools.
I'm not sure I'd be impressed by x-boxes either. However just ask people, if you don't show you may be critical they will probably think you just want reassurance.
Ideally you would have a close friend who was a student teacher, who would give you the unbiased insiders view (but unless you were very close I doubt they would give it to you warts and all).
good luck!

pointydog Wed 29-Jun-11 18:17:26

A bus journey would be ok. What does your dd want?

SuburbanDream Wed 29-Jun-11 18:22:40

I went to a selective school and had a 1/2 hour bus journey then a 20 minute walk. I survived smile. Many of my friends had longer journeys, train journeys, all sorts. I think it's fairly normal for secondary school kids to have longer journeys as the schools are bigger and therefore not as "local" as primaries. TBH most kids did their homework on the bus home so it wasn't wasted time.

clutteredup Fri 01-Jul-11 14:17:33

Lurking as we are in the same position for DS next year. Our local one is sooo crap it only just missed special measures this year. One of our other options is state selective but it's an hours journey to a city and that concerns me for all sorts of reasons. Is a two hour round trip that usual - it's a long time out of each day.

mummytime Fri 01-Jul-11 14:51:56

You need to be careful is it 1 hour door to door, or is there more time to be added on? What are the starting an finishing times? Do others do the journey?

1 hour if I was taking them in the car would be too much, as that would be 4 hours of my day.

newgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 15:57:35

Hi all pointy not taken dd to the schools yet. I will take her but once we've narrowed it down. She would prob want to go with best friend but they are trying to move so no idea how that will work out. It's reassuring to hear that journeys have been survived! I had a ten min walk to school so that's normal to me!

bossboggle Sat 02-Jul-11 15:11:56

Bit of advice, go and check out all of the schools in the area. Don't just rely on the open nights that they all have to invite all of the year 6's to. Go have a look at them when they are working, if a school turns you away they you have to ask the question - why? What don't they want you to see on a regular day - also if possible, go and stand outside of the school gates when the children come out and see how they behave, are there teachers on duty etc. Get a good feel for the school before anyone makes a choice.

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