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Choosing a Secondary School

(17 Posts)
Ropes21 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:27:05

Funny stories and /or tips requested as I need to give a brief presentation on how to choose a secondary school but don't have any first hand experience. Thanks

Tingalingle Wed 24-Apr-13 09:32:11


Presentation to whom? And are you in the sort of area where there is really a choice, or where you get to 'pick' from:
the local sink school
the expensive private school
the oversubscribed religious school
the single-sex school for the wrong sex?

Ropes21 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:11:27

The presentation is to parents who have children in year 5. I am a school governor and there is a wide choice of independent schools (some co-ed some single sex), a reasonable local school and if you're prepared for a very long journey with a very bright child... grammer school. Just some tips and ideas would be great rather than stating the obvious.

Bramshott Wed 24-Apr-13 10:15:59

What are your child's interests and how will they be catered for at a particular school?
Don't fall into the trap of chasing results and looking for the "best" school - look for the school which is the best fit for your child.
Just because a school has a lower percentage of children achieving good grades doesn't mean your DC won't achieve well if they go there and are well supported at home.
Independent schools can cost much more than the standard fees on paper.

Don't know much about grammar schools - sorry!

MerryMarigold Wed 24-Apr-13 10:17:27

Check out the toilets. I think it's a dead giveaway!

Farewelltoarms Wed 24-Apr-13 10:46:00

Here is quite a useful article on this topic

eatyourveg Wed 24-Apr-13 11:01:25

if you were 11 again would you want to go there

MerryMarigold Wed 24-Apr-13 11:03:20

Is your child skipping on the way out of the school presentation? What's THEIR opinion on things?

Tingalingle Wed 24-Apr-13 11:15:10

For yr 5s: go to some events at the school. Drama shows, charity cake stall, whatever. How many are taking part?

Are sports, music, sciences evenly spread between boys and girls?

How does the school manage children of different levels on entry? Most will now break it down so you can see how well they cater for a SATS level 3/4/5 child by GCSE level.

Talk to as many other parents as you can. Our school has 90% of parents happy with the school but a significant 10% very unhappy: in retrospect we should have asked why...

lljkk Wed 24-Apr-13 11:21:49

Good point about the toilets.

I cannot imagine any of our Govs giving such a presentation, though. Are the choices really that bewildering?

You must know how many children typically go to each type of school.

I would start with most popular moving to least popular destination and cover for each the below topics. Start by listing the things to think about (as below), the a list of the local choices, then go thru individually for each school these topics:

General description of types of secondary choices
Admission criteria and procedure (deadlines, exams to take)
Costs (uniform, fees, exCs, bursaries)
Range in attainment of leavers (so avg results but also fate of lowest & highest attainers)
Access (help with transport, distance)
Other types of consideration: SEN support, gender balance, exC opportunities, diversity mix.

I would try to get those covered on one slide per type of school choice.

For God's sake do not say anything too specific about any specific school. Will land you in a heap of trouble.

QuintessentialOHara Wed 24-Apr-13 11:23:43

Maybe ask the Head for advice?

MerryMarigold Wed 24-Apr-13 11:24:42

lljk, not sure she has to go through the specific schools, but just some advice/ tips on what to look out for when looking at/ choosing schools.

iseenodust Wed 24-Apr-13 11:31:06

See if the HT is talking to both children and parents on open days (not busy tidying noticeboards as not a people person !).

mummytime Thu 25-Apr-13 04:10:21

Sorry but why can't they get someone with experience to do the presentation?

In my DCs school, pupils regularly go to: 3 state Comps, 5 + independents, 2/3 Prep schools. Add to that another 5+ state schools they can/often do go to, and another 10+ privates. This is somewhere where parents really can struggle with choice.

hardboiled Thu 25-Apr-13 18:11:39

I second everything said plus they should imagine the next seven years, think long term in terms of finances, commute (friends, activities, etc). The child may not want to move somewhere else for sixth form. It's easy to just concentrate in the early years.

Also, what is the school work going to be combined with in terms of other passions, hobbies, etc...meaning a bright child who is heavily into drama or music may be better off in a less academic school to allow more time for those things, etc...

miriam68 Thu 25-Apr-13 18:19:18

no offence ropes but i'm with mummytime you should ask someone else to do the presentation or simply stand up and tell the parents to get on mumsnet and look up this thread wink

Ropes21 Sun 28-Apr-13 22:45:02

Thanks for the ideas. The article was very helpful as were many of the comments.

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