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Looking at secondaries....how on earth do you choose?!

(8 Posts)
ettiketti Fri 21-Sep-12 06:43:03

We are fortunate that the 3 we are choosing from are all pretty decent.

A is close to home (15 min walk), taken over by C 3 years ago and rapidly turning from a failing comp, to a good academy. Previous awful reputation and buildings, but new build/excellent refurb, new staff etc making huge difference. Catchment not GREAT, but imo you get not so great kids at every school! Due to.previous problems/Catchment area...not as popular with dc friends.

B is a good 30-40 min walk, 15 min cycle or bus ride. V small (similar to current primary) , good results and reputation.90% of dc friends first choice school. Older buildings, facilities not as good, but much better Catchment area.

C huge school, best in area, 20+ min cycle away or bus. Not walkable due to route (main.roads, no paths). I could drop as drive past on way to work. Everything is good about it other than...tiny amount of dc friends will apply, its more than twice size of other two, distance.

We are not in catchment for any, small chance of getting A, decent chance of B or C.

How did you choose???

meditrina Fri 21-Sep-12 07:01:16

IT seems very strange that in an area which operates catchments (ie defined priority admissions areas) your house is not included in on at all. This may be something to raise with LEA as children outside any catchment boundary are so likely to be at a disadvantage. Or did you just mean that you're not in the priority admission area for these three?

But even with catchments, what you need to know is the actual admissions footprint is, because it is possible not all children will get a place if the catchment has more children than places.

With half an eye to how far you are outside the priority admissions area for each (I assume distance beyond catchment is what you mean by 'not that great' etc), I recommend: B, A, C, D

(D being your own catchment school if you have one, even though it's not on your preference list so far. This s because if A,B,C fill with their own catchment children it's generally better to be in local school you don't like much, rather than any random school with a space).

senua Fri 21-Sep-12 08:36:58

The description of B as "v small" rings alarm bells. Generally, I think that smaller (more intimate, more personal, more human sized) schools work better than sausage factories larger ones but there is a limit on how small. If it is too small then it may not be able to offer the breadth of subjects or flexibilty of timetabling at GCSEs (if you do Z then you can't do Y; if you do block X then you have to do hated subject W; you can only do one language; you can't do separate sciences; that sort of thing) . They may get good results but are they results in subjects that interest your DC? The devil is in the detail.

Otherwise, what meditrina said.

glaurung Fri 21-Sep-12 09:48:38

Visit them all with your dd, talk through the pros and cons of each and what you and she particularly like and dislike about each with her. Then let her choose. You can retain a veto if there are any you really feel would be unsuitable for any reason as yet unknown that you discover on your visits.

You are indeed fortunate!

inkyfingers Fri 21-Sep-12 20:51:59

Don't worry too much about whether your DC have friends going. They change so much and most find new friends anyway in no time. Schools often mix up pupils from the same schools and they'll possibly be in different sets.

The only experience I've had is DCs going from small village primary to huge secondary and none went with friends, but it didn't seem to matter at all. All boys in my case tho' if that makes a difference.

TheBuskersDog Sat 22-Sep-12 20:28:45

Totally agree with inkyfingers, where friends are going should come way down the criteria for choosing.

bossboggle Mon 24-Sep-12 09:39:30

Yep totally agree - where friends are going - totally way down the list!! all of mine went to a school 6 miles from where we live - no problems!! Go and see all of the schools you are interested in, they will all have open nights and stuff - go and see them on show and then go back and ask to see them during a working day!! If a school does not have what I call an open door policy then ask yourself why and what do they have to hide?? Get a feel for all of them and then make the decisions - it is not all about exam results!! Good luck!! And go back as many times as you need to and ask loads of questions - a good school will answer them all and give your child the time they need!! If they don't - walk away.

ettiketti Mon 24-Sep-12 12:05:21

Thanks to you all smile I only slightly worry about friends as she had to move school in year 3, so wanted her to be with someone she knew, at least, however she's made good friends this time so I'm sure she can again!

We're going for BAC only 3 options and D, our catchment school is diabolical! The real dilemma ends up being BAC or BCA, as B is totally first choice but depending on numbers we may live just too far to get a place.

The feel of A&C similar although bit of a "Mean Girls" vibe to C, you know...the older girls showing us around/doing demonstrations with hair more suited to a big fat gypsy wedding and eyeing one another up! Nothing like that at the other schools, was quite amusing grin

I also pointed out the fact she's already starting to love her bed and school A is v close and doesn't start til 850am wink.

I'd be happy with any of the 3, shame we have so long to wait to find out!!

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