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Special Measures - what would you do?

(16 Posts)
StiffyByng Thu 19-Sep-13 20:35:51

DSS is Yr6, so looking around. We need a very supportive school for him for various reasons. He's very bright but has a need for strong pastoral care. We're in an area with lots of academies (SE London) that spend a lot of time talking about their stats and not much time projecting their values. This week we went to the open evening of a school (Deptford Green) that blew us away. Shown around by teachers rather than kids so loads of opportunity to ask tricky questions, engaged staff, very happy looking kids, thoughtful presentation at the end and brand new building. They were interested in DSS and his situation and have small tutor groups which we think would suit him brilliantly. Their results aren't great, but we'd rather have a good ethos that will help him achieve we think.

But we looked the school up and it went into Special Measures this year. It's already had one positive check up, has replaced much of its senior leadership, and particularly strengthened maths, one of DSS's strongest subjects, which got a drubbing by Ofsted. So we weren't that daunted, and in fact thought that the extra attention and resources would be beneficial. The head we saw was great.

But I've read back on our local forum and people had the same reaction last year, when the school was 'failing'. So I now worry, are we falling for presentation? The school urged parents to call and ask for personalised tours, which we will do. Is it in order to really grill them on this? Can we really send a vulnerable child to a school in Special Measures when the local choices are Good and Outstanding?

Sorry this is so long!

bundaberg Thu 19-Sep-13 20:40:03

i would absolultey go on gut feel rather than ofsted reports.
every time.

if you think the school will suit him then go for it!

admission Thu 19-Sep-13 23:18:13

If you read the first monitoring visit you will see that there is a new executive head teacher and that there has been significant improvement in basic areas. Those pupils who have been in the school a number of years will have not received the education they deserve based on the critical Ofsted reports but your son will not be going into the school for another 11 months. A lot can improve in that time and you might be the first year group who will really benefit from being at a significantly improved school.
I would visit again, ask awkward questions about the improvements and what is going to happen in the school. Go with your gut feeling.

Talkinpeace Fri 20-Sep-13 13:06:39

gut feeling

and if its an LEA school rather than an Academy, Special Measures is often a blessing in disguise

StiffyByng Fri 20-Sep-13 14:23:44

Yes, we thought the first report was very positive and the new head was impressive at the open evening. We went today to his previous school and it was very good. Compared to the endless Outstanding academies around here, which give off very complacent vibes about their results but don't particularly feel caring, Deptford really felt nurturing.

Well, we've got another few to trek round and will go back. We're applying on social need as our nearest school is really not suitable so hopefully they will smile on our application given that it won't be to one of the usual suspects.

tiredaftertwo Sat 21-Sep-13 00:17:55

OP, I think I remember your previous thread. I have seen this school discussed on the east dulwich forum - you could look there? And I have seen a local councillor on there a lot who seems to know about secondary schools - a woman with a name beginning with R I think. I wonder, given your situation, if she might be prepared to meet and talk to you and perhaps give you the inside info on what has been going on there? I'd love to be wrong, but I do think it is hard for a school that is undergoing a lot of change, and perhaps high staff turnover, to maintain great pastoral care and attention to the needs of every child - however good the intentions. Very good luck.

ravenAK Sat 21-Sep-13 00:21:53

'Not yet an Academy' & 'placed in Special Measures' quite often go together in the last year or so. hmm

Definitely trust your own impression above that of Ofsted.

StiffyByng Tue 24-Sep-13 19:14:30

Hi. Thanks for the input. I have spoken to that councillor and got some interesting info. Went to a school today that felt very good too, and is Outstanding, and local. We have interesting decisions on our hands.

NoComet Thu 26-Sep-13 11:10:18

My DDs go to a school that has gone from good without standing features, to being in special measures, nothing has changed except GCSE results have got better!

Yes there is some complacency with some groups of lower ability DCs and the old HT (who I very much liked) didn't kick middle management hard enough.

But, fundamentally it was and still is a good and caring school.

I choose it because it prides it's self on good pastoral care and that was what my often bullied, dyslexic DD1 needed.

You can only go with your gut feeling. What's right for your DS is not necessarily what pleases Ofsted.

ReallyTired Thu 26-Sep-13 11:16:41

I suggest that you visit the school during the working day to get a real feel for what is like. It is a mistake to send your child to a school without talking to the children, who are more often or not unashamebly honest about the good, the bad and the ugly.

An OFSTED is like an MOT. It is possible for a school to fail on one or two points and be an excellent school in other respects. For example it may not affect your son if the school has failed the gifted and talented children if your son had special needs and the school had an outstanding special needs department.

What is a good school for one child is not necessarily a good school for a different child.

StiffyByng Thu 26-Sep-13 12:23:24

Yes, very aware of that. That's why we're looking at so many schools. Went to one today that I loved, and exemplified everything I'd look for in a school myself, but just wouldn't be right for my stepson.

We are going to two very different schools for personal tours in the day.

Plus3 Thu 26-Sep-13 12:59:48

Interesting - I have the same dilemma. DS probably won't pass the 11+ and has a mild SEN. The next option is the local school which has gone into special measures, but is very supportive of SEN

Somehow it feels like such a failure to have to send him there.

mumthetaxidriver Thu 26-Sep-13 22:14:02

Both our DS attend a school that was good., became an academy and week later judged as failing and on special measures! It's been a turbulent year - probably higher staff turnover than usual but some teachers needed to go. But the atmosphere in the school is now very positive - they have some great new teachers and I wouldn't be at all concerned about my child starting there next September. You must go on your gut feeling, - a grading by ofsted shouldn't be the final decision maker. My boys like their school and are doing well - neither would choose to be anywhere else.

StiffyByng Fri 27-Sep-13 13:19:26

Went to see a school with an Outstanding Ofsted yesterday. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy and would quite honestly be tempted to move if my child was sent there.

nakirarose Mon 21-Oct-13 17:21:15

Deptford Green is a bad school. My child goes there The school put your child in isolation for the whole day without letting you know at times. for e.g if your child defends themself from getting attacked. It is a small room with a little window which fits 6 students. If the lsa is off for whatever reason they take anouther childs lsa and will give it to the other ask them for a letter explaining what they do if their staff is sick. They give you contracts to sign which state your child will be punished according to their school code of conduct which means isolation time or exclusion. if your child is statemented you already have a legal contract with education and if you sign the schools contract it means the statement is meaningless. The school already have a behaviour policy in place. Take your child elsewhere. I desperately want my my child out. Equality act 2010 is not practiced at that school. As a parent what you say regarding your childs needs does not matter you are dictated to and made to feel you have no option otherwise your child will not be educated.

ShareSouthEast Sun 20-Sep-15 17:04:33

Hello apologies in advance for resuscitating a Zombie Thread
I could have written the OP post and I share all your comments / doubts with regard to local schools and D.G.

I would love to hear from the OP, STIFFY BYING what final decision she made with regard to the school in object.

Also from any other local have children there and can share their opinions it will be very valuable because like the OP 2 years ago I will be sending my dc to a less well thought off school (in fact some parents looked shocked at the only mention) and purely based on gut feeling of what could be good for my child


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