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How much choice did you give your child?

(50 Posts)
Sofabitch Thu 15-Sep-11 20:40:10

Eek I can't believe it's time to make these decisions. We have a choice of 3 senior schools one of which is far better than the others but it is furthest away. However dd is adamant she doesn't want to go there? I want to pull rank as this is such an important decision and just tell her tough luck but am I setting myself up for her to hate it there? Should I take her preference into account ? I'm so torn. She has said she wants to go to the nearest school so she lives near her friends and doesn't have a long journey to school. But I want her to have the best education. ? I've had a look on line and our local school gets 2x the amount of funding per child and results have been improving year on year so it's not a "bad" school.

How much choice have you/will you give your dc's?

marge2 Thu 15-Sep-11 20:43:48

My eldeset is only in Y4 but we are already thinking about it. He wants to go to the state secondary that all his current peers will most likely go to. However we are not technically in the catchment for it, but one which is in theory a 'better' state secondary nearer where we live. We are planning on going private if we can possibly afford it when the time comes anyway.

He's not going to be getting much choice in it tbh. He will make friends wherever he goes.

AMumInScotland Thu 15-Sep-11 20:52:11

In what way is the further one "much better"? Is it just in terms of league table results, or are there other ways in which you feel it is better?

And how mature (in relative terms!) is your daughter? Is she reasonably capable of sensible choices?

If the local school isn't terrible, and she's fairly sensible, then I'd probably let her go to the local one - short distances and local friends are important factors too. And her "buy in" to school is an important factor in doing well.

Sofabitch Thu 15-Sep-11 20:56:58

As in much better gcse results. Our local school was a failing school 5 years ago I would have never considered it. By much better I mean a 66% pass rate of 5gcses grades A*-C including English and Maths compare to 40% at the local school. Which is a massive improvement on what it was.
She is fairly mature. I'm just not sure she can see the bigger picture. ?

Hassled Thu 15-Sep-11 21:03:46

You need to have a good look round the schools and get a sense of the atmosphere - see how engaged the children seem, how happy they seem, etc. I'm a bit baffled as to how one school gets "2x the amount of funding per child" (that doesn't really happen - there is a pupil premium which is determined by number of children on Free School Meals, but usually the per-pupil funding would be the same throughout the county - more as you go up the Key Stages) but the improving results sounds like the school's doing really well.

To be honest I think it's more your call. Friendship groups change massively in High School - she won't have the same friends at the start of Yr 8 that she left Yr 6 with. They really do change a huge amount. So dismiss the whole friends thing, I reckon. The long journey might be a worry, though. But you're right that if you push her into a school she hates then you're setting yourself up for lots of arguments and a negative attitude from the off - you need her on-side.

Hassled Thu 15-Sep-11 21:05:25

X post - 66% versus 40% is massive. Has she seen the further/better school yet?

Sofabitch Thu 15-Sep-11 22:07:33

Not yet I'm taking her to the open evening next week. This school is still only a mile and a half so would only be a 20 min cycle ride. I've looked on the dfse website and you can compare schools and it breaks down funding per head I think because it was is special measure a few years back it gets additional money BUT. Now it's doing better will that funding be removed? And does it then risk dropping back?

Wow 3 years ago I would have had no doubt. But now I'm not so sure.

OneMoreMum Fri 16-Sep-11 10:18:11

If it's only 20 minutes away and you think you can get in it sounds like a no-brainer.

It sounds very similar to the difference between our local school and the one our boys got into and I'm very glad we went for it. You might be surprised that other parents in your area could well be thinking the same as you and she won't be the only person from her old school going.

The way I see it the majority of the kids at the 'better' school are coming away with decent qualifications versus the majority at the other school are not, it makes a difference to the atmosphere and expectations of the kids.

Also, I insisted on going to the local school with my friends when there were better options around and I wish I hadn't, I was quite swotty so I did OK but would have done much better, and fitted in better, at something more academic.

GnomeDePlume Fri 16-Sep-11 13:28:09

Sofabitch I am now going to offer a contrary opinion!

My DCs attend their local school (there was no choice for us). It goes in and out of special measures like it is caught on the door handle. It has a 44% GCSE pass rate with a 4% EBAC score.


DD1 (now year 11) has realistic minimum target grades of straight As. The school supported her to do a GCSE in year 7. She has also done an early A level.

DS is mildly dyslexic but is getting As for effort.

Remember that the percentages are averages. If the school is on the up then it will be starting to get the pick of teachers. Underperforming teachers will be moved on (we have seen this at DCs school). Basically success will breed success.

going Fri 16-Sep-11 13:42:39

We also have three schools near us and are facing a similar dilema.
The closest school has the poorest reults, just about scrapes in at the national average on league tables. The next closest was similar but has improved and the rumours are it will continue to improve as it has a fantastic new head. The one furthest away has good results and is the one DD and her friends will most likely go. If DD went to the closest school she probably wouldn't have many local friends as the local kids tend not to go to the school. It's a shame becasue if they did the schools results would most likely improve.
DD and I have both chosen the school we think would suit her, thankfully as othresie the descion would be so much harder. I do feel it's important they feel happy that they are going to the school they want to but I would probably feel differently if she chose a school I didn't like!

VivaLeBeaver Fri 16-Sep-11 13:47:00

Similar situation to you sofab itch.

We let dd choose whether or not tomtake the 11+, she sits it today!

Then we need a comp as a back up choice. And before anyone says anything it is a comp not a secondary modern as the comps are out the grammar catchment area.

One comp gets 65% gcse pass rate and is a 30 min bus ride away and she wouldn't know anyone there as she would be the only kid in her year in this village eligible to go. The other comp gets 56% gcse pass rate and is ten min bus ride away and she will know people there.

We let her choose between these two. She's chosen the nearer, not quite as good one which ismfine.

There is also another comp also a ten min journey which has a 38% pass rate and I did not let her have the choice of that one. So I think it depends what the difference between the available schools is.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 16-Sep-11 13:50:22

Just seen it's 66% vs 40% - I would not be offering a choice at that.

It's good that the local school is improving but I think improvements take time and your dd only has one chance. I wouldn't risk it.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 16-Sep-11 13:52:29

Sofabitch, what's the dfse website you talk about where you can compare funding, etc?

GnomeDePlume Fri 16-Sep-11 13:55:39

Improvements can also be surprisingly quick: DCs school's headline GCSE score went up from 31% to 44% between 2007 & 2010.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 16-Sep-11 14:12:44

I've fou d the tables on the dfe website but disappointingly the data isn't available for the schools we,re looking at.

Lonnie Fri 16-Sep-11 14:48:16

We have let both our dd's pick their 2ndary school but I was not in the situation you are in.

dd1 prefeerred 1school over the one I prefeered but it was gut ffeeling the schools produce almost identical results. We went with her choice.
with dd2 I had assumed she would want same school dd1 is in (and we are fairly happy with school) but when she said she didnt wish to go to that one as she didnt want to be dd1's little sister for the rest of her school life we looked at other schools and she has gone to the local "catchment" area school. this school accademically is not as good as the one dd1 is in however as a fit I think it will do dd2 much better.

I am not sure what I would have done in your case I suspect I would try to influence and see how she feels.

Talker2010 Fri 16-Sep-11 17:50:11

There is a difference between 66 and 40 on first look

But then it depends where the OPs child is in the ranking within the school

If she would be in the top 40% of the local school then where is the issue

What are the school's targets? I have known schools with 30% targets and schools with 80% targets ... if the 44 is compared to 30 and the 66 compared to an 80 then all is not so simple

Viva ... is this where you are looking

Have you looked at the Ofsted reports

Talker2010 Fri 16-Sep-11 17:51:29

To answer the question

We let them both choose

They did not choose the schools with the best results but neither would I have done

Sofabitch Fri 16-Sep-11 18:13:03

Thanks for all that. The bad nearest school has gone from failing and in special measures to where it is now in 3 years so I know it can change quickly. However I'm guessing in that case with budget cuts it could swing back just as quickly?

This is the website I was using to compare it gives quite in-depth info.

Dd is bright and is currently maybe top 20% in her class. she is gifted and talented in some subjects.

This just really depressed me. This is the Wikipedia description for the nearest school. It makes it sound worse than it is

cece Fri 16-Sep-11 18:16:37

In theory it might be irrelevant, as if they are oversubscribed then you will be given your local school anyway won't you?

TBH she won't see the online form that you submit... then when the letter comes you can say this is the one they gave you! Sneaky maybe?!

OneMoreMum Fri 16-Sep-11 19:50:49

quote from Wikipedia: "... is one of the few UK schools with an on-site police officer"

That wouldn't fill me good thoughts to be honest...

cat64 Fri 16-Sep-11 19:57:38

Message withdrawn

going Fri 16-Sep-11 20:02:27

Sofabitch, that Wiki entry makes it look as if the school is trying ready hard to improve but there is no way I would let my child go there!

Talker2010 Fri 16-Sep-11 20:39:02

sofabitch ... what is the alternative that you are keen on?

Sofabitch Sat 17-Sep-11 07:42:10

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