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Take him to a "good" school with me or one of the local schools in special measures?

(19 Posts)
housemoverihope Sun 19-Jul-15 21:16:01

We recently appealed for a place at our catchment school but it was refused. Although we are 2nd on the waiting list we need to wait until the school goes back under PAN (over 12 successful appeals so unlikely before September) before he would get a place. Unfortunately I didn't realise that this is how it works so am now very last minute trying to find him a place.

The two next nearest schools have places but are both in special measures following Ofsted this year. According to the regular reports they are both improving. One of the schools is a small catholic school and the other a big academy. According to the Ofsted reports, the main issues are leadership and management at the faith school (but lots of staffing changes this Sept) and bullying/safeguarding at the academy.

I plan to visit them both asap if possible but was wondering if anyone has any pointers/things to look for/questions to ask?

The other option is the school I work at which is a great school, big but lovely but unfortunately a fair distance away. He could obviously get lifts with me the majority of the time however 2 buses home otherwise. His friends would obviously then not be local.

Has anyone got any advice or thoughts? It has been a very stressful week and I am doing my best to shield ds from it all so need to have a clear plan in my own head.

anyquestions Sun 19-Jul-15 23:52:12

I think you should consider carefully how thinks would work out if your DS were to start at the school where you work, and you were then to stop working there. However unlikely you may think that to be, it needs considering because you can't foresee every eventuality. How long would your DS's journey to and from school be if you were no longer able to give him any lifts?

housemoverihope Sun 19-Jul-15 23:57:51

Hmm good point anyquestions. It would be 2 buses which would take an hour I reckon in total. Not ridiculous but definitely not what I would choose for year 7. Can't see me leaving within the next year or two although as you say nothing is certain.

Happy36 Mon 20-Jul-15 01:52:40

I would take him to your school.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 20-Jul-15 02:09:37

A school local to me went into special measures in the spring of DD's Y5 - just when we were looking at school options.
The management team was restructured, special HT brought in, new policies for dealing with teacher absences etc. etc. It was out of special measures by the October of the same year and reports since have been pretty positive.
I'd look closely at the local schools - it could be the start of a new era for them.

Decorhate Mon 20-Jul-15 06:36:56

I personally think it is important for teens to have local friends. So unless you really hate the local schools after you have visited them, I would give them serious consideration. Presumably you can stay on the waiting list for your preferred school?

I would be looking at what the behaviour is like at the local schools rather than worrying about their Ofsted. As I'm sure you know from working at a school, Ofsted reports don't tell the whole story.

housemoverihope Mon 20-Jul-15 07:17:54

Im just worried im not going to know what behaviour is like from a tour of the school. The point about teens needing local friends is my worry about taking him to my school. Its so hard to weigh them up against each other.

Eversobusyeveryday Mon 20-Jul-15 07:20:44

I wouldn't send my child to a school in special measures if there was any alternative whatsoever. I've had children in a school graded inadequate and it's not an experience I would ever repeat. Start him at your school, at some point he will probably get a place at your preferred school and you can move him. If the schools which are in special measures show sustained improvement then reconsider them but there's not a hope on this planet I would put a child into a school in special measures if there was any alternative whatsoever.

There's a belief on MN that being in SM is a good thing and maybe in the long term it does turn around a school but the upheaval in the meantime is very hard and there's no guarantee it will pay off

teacherwith2kids Mon 20-Jul-15 09:57:04

Look back at the history of the 2 schools now in SM.

IME, there is a big difference between a previously Good school that drops into SM, and a school that has bumped along between SM and Inadequate for many years. The latter is likely to have ingrained structural issues that are not quick to turn around, whereas a previously Good school can turn round quite quickly.

Cloud2 Mon 20-Jul-15 14:25:38

I think you should try to take your DS to your school. Compare to primary school, secondary school is much important, as they start to learn seriously, the pace is faster. So it will be hard to catch up if DC don't learn it properly. As for friendship, there are not much time left during school term for friends to play after school anyway. You can arrange for them to play together during holidays.

PolterGoose Mon 20-Jul-15 15:23:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

niceview Mon 20-Jul-15 15:52:03

Does your ds do any outside clubs with current local friends? I'd go with your school and moving him when a place comes up in your preferred school, or if you see improvement in one of the other schools. My friend takes her ds to her school and he still plays out with his local ex-primary school friends. Plus he does a team sport locally. It's amazing how much movement there is at schools in y7.

reddaisy Mon 20-Jul-15 15:58:03

Our secondary has been in SM more than once and it has a new head every few years, I think one of the problems is attracting the good staff to help turn it around so it is never a given.

anyquestions Mon 20-Jul-15 21:50:32

I would say take him to your school OP, given that you know it's a good school, whereas with the other two there are obvious reasons for suspecting they are not good schools. Do your DS's primary school friends live locally? If so, he will still have some friends living nearby who he can meet up with at weekends. For the first few weeks of term at least I would leave your DS on the waiting list for the catchment school that was your first choice. Are many of his primary school friends going to the "first choice" catchment school? If so, then if he does move there after a term or two, it probably won't seems as big an upheaval as moving to a new school where he knows no one.

tobysmum77 Tue 21-Jul-15 06:04:59

My DD's primary school was in sm, this though imo is completely different to secondary. I wouldn't send a child to a secondary that was in sm, they are much bigger and the problems are much harder to sort out. I am an ex secondary teacher btw.

meditrina Tue 21-Jul-15 06:08:10

Will you get him in to your school?

Because if it is full, you'll need to appeal successfully, or stick it out on the waiting list.

Does it have a criterion for children of teachers? Because if not, it doesn't sound as if you live close enough to be near the top of the waiting list.

QueenOfNothing Tue 21-Jul-15 06:39:44

I think he'll be dreadfully embarrassed to go to your school. I wouldn't do it.

You can't tell what behaviour is like from a visit. The league tables do tell you an awful lot these days.

I hold most store by what % of level 3s and what % of level 4s get 5 A-Cs.

Compare those stats to your school and see if there's a significant difference.

In my borough virtually all the schools get the same number of 3s / 4s 5s to pass..... Despite some schools being much more desirable than others.

housemoverihope Tue 21-Jul-15 07:05:00

Well we visited all three schools yesterday. I didn't go to my school, got dh to take him so I couldn't influence things and he was instantly smitten. It is quite rural which I think helped because it all looks very green and spacious.

We visited the two local schools as well. The academy put us off instantly - graffiti on the school sign on the way in, lockers punched through and a general feeling that nobody cared about the place.

The faith school however looked immaculate and I was pretty convinced about it until I asked the head of year about staff turnover and morale. She became very quiet and said "well it's our choice" and that lots of staff were being replaced. Did not sound good! Also looked back as per the advice about looking at history in terms of ofsted and it became apparent that the cracks started appearing a long time ago with comments like "rather than making the suggested improvements, the school instead has let them compound into larger issues".

So the upshot was he's coming with me! There is one place available and we're snapping it up this morning. He is genuinely very excited which is lovely to see. Thanks for all the thoughts - gave me plenty to think about!

tobysmum77 Tue 21-Jul-15 07:11:55

I think it's the right decision. The Catholic school sounds like a very unhappy place and the other school sounds awful. He's hardly the first child to go to the school a parent works at, most coped fine ime.... even the one who refused to talk to her Dad or go in the car with him grin (I guess you'd have been dropping her somewhere) got over it by year 10, when her brother joined and was totally confused about it being an issue.

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