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Have anyone's DC been in the first intake in a school?

(21 Posts)
RapidlyOscillating Thu 13-Aug-15 18:19:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

merlottime Thu 13-Aug-15 18:38:47

I don't think always being the oldest would put me off, but invariably free schools open in temporary buildings (eg old police stations), with none of the sports, science, DT facilities that you would expect of a secondary school. I know of one which a friend was considering applying for a teaching vacancy at, but as student numbers are initially so low they can't justify the full compliment of subject specialists, so for a good few years teachers are going to have to teach subjects they have no expertise in, until the school grow - it put her off. It's not uncommon for teachers in established schools to do a bit of this, but no where near as much as in this case. I wonder if it would be better to go to one a few years after it first opens, when all of the facilities and full staff compliment are in place.

QueenOfNothing Thu 13-Aug-15 18:42:42

If it's the one in Slough stay well clear of it.

RapidlyOscillating Thu 13-Aug-15 18:43:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

merlottime Thu 13-Aug-15 18:47:14

I know of 2 in the Surrey area that are talking up their numbers publicly, but the reality is a bit different. They are both in inadequate facilities for Secondary.

RapidlyOscillating Thu 13-Aug-15 19:02:17

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Janejones666 Thu 13-Aug-15 19:17:46

Obviously I can only speak to the free school my DC is at. It opened on time, just. I did more research than one normally might getting to know the teachers and head etc beforehand. We found the first year an amazing experience, the staff worked so hard to make the school successful, the pupils got way more attention than normal, class sizes were a bit smaller and everything was so much more personal. I really wish every child had the opertunity for such a great first year.
Clubs and sports seemed to be just as one would expect apart from less people in each one, and the head made great efforts to join in with local schools so there was competition.
Other parents have said DC is missing out not having older children in the school, quite frankly I am not sure what that really means. If it is an issue I am happy to trade that off against the positives. I am noticing the pupils maturing because of the increased responsibility to nurture the younger kids coming through.
So its a thumbs up from me but I guess every child being different some might florish in a big anonymous school with 2000 pupils.
It goes without saying that any schools can be bad depending on the head, teachers and intake. So nothing is guaranteed.

scatterthenuns Thu 13-Aug-15 19:18:45

Which one is it? I'm fairly familiar with Manchester education.

RapidlyOscillating Thu 13-Aug-15 19:33:10

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Supervet Thu 13-Aug-15 19:44:33

My Mum was the first into a brand new school and loved it. They had a whole year to settle as year 7s with no bigger kids hassle then were always the oldest.

I have two free schools locally not far from you. One is oversubscribed, the other is still under as two local schools are outstanding but numbers climbing quickly and they just moved into a massive new building purpose built (in old town hall before that)

Supervet Thu 13-Aug-15 19:49:46

All teachers are qualified it says so that's good. The Mandarin sounds fab too.

Bunbaker Thu 13-Aug-15 19:54:50

My nearest large town wanted to set up a free school. They advertised all over the place and got 8 applicants for 60 reception places.

I haven't heard anything else since last year.

Callmegeoff Thu 13-Aug-15 19:58:52

Dd1 was in the first year 7 intake last year, to a free school. It was our second choice but I am so glad she didn't get into the other school. She has had a fantastic year. She will have one more year in a temporary building (an old primary school) before moving to a new school not yet built

In my area there are no outstanding schools and only one which is good the rest are requiring improvement or special measures. Offsted will inspect this school halfway through the next school year.

gonesailing Thu 13-Aug-15 20:06:42

OP my DC is going to a new school in Sept, and we've turned down a place at an outstanding local comp for it so did lots of research first. We talked to staff and parents at other recently opened schools and got a picture similar to what JaneJones said above

There will be a high ratio of teaching staff to students compared to other local schools, and especially senior teaching staff to students. There are specialists for the subjects I think are most important. Some subjects will be covered by non-specialists but they all have relevant experience of teaching those subjects. I've been told that's very common in Year 7 anyway because having a different teacher for every subject is too much straight after primary. They'll transition to that as they move up the school, but I checked and its the same at our local comps too. It stands to reason that the allocation of subject specialists would be biased towards older year groups.

My advice is ask a lot of questions until you're reassured. Good luck!

Enkopkaffetak Thu 13-Aug-15 22:53:51

2 Free schools opened in 2013 nearish to me. Both schools are now doing well and one moves to its permanent location this september the other is still in temp however that is due to their building work taking a bit longer it is on way and they hope to be in by January.

I have friends with children in 1 of the schools who adores it. We had it 2nd for our dd3 who is starting 2ndary this year (got 1st choice)

I do not think simply because it is new = it will be bad. The one thing the HT of the school my friends kids are in said that he had found it hard to get year 7 sport teams vs other schools but then they had simply sent invites out to other schools for matches just y7 and it had build from there so now they will keep this going even with larger schools.

RapidlyOscillating Thu 13-Aug-15 23:03:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gonesailing Fri 14-Aug-15 08:38:37

OP that school will have a sixth form eventually so that concern is a red herring. If they do their job properly they will gradually build their staff as the school grows. The staff that join in the beginning will need to be passionate about the school ethos because they'll be helping to build it. I've been told staff in new schools get a lot of development opportunities which can be very attractive. The school won't get the steady safe conservative teacher types, but the innovators, which is part of what will make the school exciting. Provided it's well led of course.

gonesailing Sat 15-Aug-15 21:54:46

OP with the school you're looking at I'd be asking a lot of questions about how the fusion of Chinese and English culture is to be managed. Are you watching this Tv programme which experiments with Chinese teachers and teaching methods in an English school? It's not a great advert, but maybe it's just bad tv, and at the very least it'll give you some ideas for questions to ask:

RapidlyOscillating Sat 15-Aug-15 22:36:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Janejones666 Sun 16-Aug-15 09:40:36

Don't watch that Chinese tv program, it is (apart from bad tv) a stupid experiment. Pupils who have ten+ years of British school/culture, who are put in front of a camera/microphone and taught by chinese teachers using the Chinese methods is never going to succeed.
I would totally expect the Free school to be teaching Mandarin in the British way (an excellent idea) and exposing them to the Chinese culture (an excellent idea) in the same way other schools teach the French or Spanish language and culture.

candybar Sun 16-Aug-15 10:58:21

My son was in the first cohort at a free school, they also learn mandarin as mfl, the school has an outstanding ousted report and was graded outstanding in all categories.
Overall we are very pleased with our choice and the education he is receiving there. He did have a handful of teachers in year 7 but the school is expanding every year.

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