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Decision about secondary school!!!

(15 Posts)
NinjaBriefs Fri 11-Sep-15 21:45:53

I feel as though my head will explode if I can't make a decision on which school to decide upon sending my dd to! We basically have a choice of two.

DD has a preference, which has a rubbish ofsted report. She wants to go there, as more of her friends will be going there. She's a very bright girl, her teachers have all said the same about her, that she can go all the way, should she continue putting in the hard word etc. the main ofsted findings were that of poor inadequate teaching - basically the teachers were incapable of bringing out the best in students.

The other school, where she doesn't wish to go to, has a much better ofsted report. There will still be some people/friends that she knows are going there.

I can put both schools down, but I need to order them, preference first & second!

Whilst I want my daughter to be happy, after all she's the one going there, 5 -6 hours a day. If I send her to a school she doesn't want to go to, she's going to be unhappy (maybe) & not focus anyway? Part of me says she'll learn wherever she goes, but then if the teachers aren't doing their job properly, what then?!

So you can see my dilemma! Obviously I will be attending open evenings. It's such a difficult decision, perhaps one that will be decided for me come March!

Lurkedforever1 Fri 11-Sep-15 22:59:45

Wait till she's been to the open days/eves. One that a few of dds friends were going to, plus local kids, dd was insistent on until she saw it. It's not a bad school or slated by ofsted, but it's hardly known for its provision for brighter children, no seperate science, loads of vocational stuff, basically ebacc then top up with none academics. Dd saw it and was not impressed. Her first, second and third choices ended up matching mine, for exactly the same reasons I'd have picked them, and except for a maybe at first choice, and a vague aquaintance in an older year at the third, she didn't know anybody. She has just started in y7, and comes home full of all her new friends, and is beyond happy with her choice.

WiryElevator Sat 12-Sep-15 07:32:35

I think it's crucial to point out that you, as an adult, are in a much better position to assess which school is best for your child.

With our DS, we pointed this out from early on. Said that whilst his opinion was an important factor, there were many other factors, and based on these we would consult with him and others about which school would best suit his needs.

In the end, it came down to two schools for us. We took him to visit both, asked if he had a preference - he said not really - one 49% and one 51% but that he wanted us to make the decision. We spoke to his primary head, had a long conversation with one of the secondary school's heads, did lots of research including visits, discussions with parents of current students at both schools, read Ofsteds, looked at value added scores, but in the end it came down to which school we felt he would best achieve his potential.

He's only a week in but we are all certain it was the right choice!

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 12-Sep-15 07:39:44

She wants to go there, as more of her friends will be going there.

This is a sign that she does not yet have the maturity to be making this decision. Primary school friendships become mostly irrelevant after the first half term, so will only affect 3% of her time there.

GaryBaldy Sat 12-Sep-15 07:43:28

I had this dilemma last year. Dad has just started Y7 at the non-primary-friends-school.

A week in she is flourishing, has made new friends and feels she is at the right school. She still misses her old friends but we have made arrangements to keep in touch b

GloriaHotcakes Sat 12-Sep-15 07:48:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yeOldeTrout Sat 12-Sep-15 07:54:07

How recent are the Ofsteds, what did Ofsted reports say 3-4 yrs ago?
Point being, the schools could easily change in 3-4 yrs.
Will it be reasonably easy to change schools later, if she changes her mind?

My gut feeling is to go with what they want, for reasons you give, but I appreciate your dilemma. She will be more motivated to do well at the school she knows she likes better.

notinminutenow Sat 12-Sep-15 08:18:29

What TheSecondOfHerName said.

mummytime Sat 12-Sep-15 08:19:43

I took my DCs to visit the schools, and we discussed things such as : friendships change at secondary, and you can still hang out with your friends outside school. DC1 choose in the same order DH and I had. DC2 was torn between two, in the end preferred our top preference (and got in because the sibling was there). DC3 actually had a different preference, and as it was still a good school we put that one top and our top second - she got our top preference.
DC3 was initially disappointed but we now feel it was a lucky break, as the head changed, and while he's a good head he is the father of friends of DC3, and it might have made things just slightly awkward.

fatbottomgirl67 Sat 12-Sep-15 08:40:57

I would go to the open days rather than the evenings which can be rather staged. It's always good to see the school in action, see how the classes run, how the kids behave in the class rooms . What it's like at break time. It gave me a huge insight into the school on a day to day basis

NinjaBriefs Sat 12-Sep-15 10:03:07

Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it. The school that has a not so good ofsted report hasn't really done very well for the last few years, hence why it has a yearly inspection. I'm awaiting the latest ofsted report on the other school as it should be released soon as the last one was in 2011.

DD is a confident girl, I'm sure she would make new friends (she would relish in that) whilst not forgetting her old, in fact one of her best friends is going to the school she doesn't favour.

The main reason I think she wants to go to the other school is because it's more sports orientated or labeled as a sports academy & dd is really into her sports, whereas the other school gears towards design & engineering.

I think after having a proper talk with dd, teachers & attending both open days/evenings hopefully I can then make a decision!!

mummytime Sat 12-Sep-15 10:41:48

Have they actually been inspected recently?
My DCs school has not been inspected since 2006 when it was officially a different school (has become an academy).

Ask about sport at both schools then, and ask about extra curricula sport and teams. She might change her mind.

TheUnwillingNarcheska Sat 12-Sep-15 11:03:52

We had this a few years ago. We moved house to put us within catchment for an outstanding secondary school. DCs were at an outstanding primary.

The primary feeds into an ok secondary but the reason it gets 2s is because they concentrate on bringing the lower ability children up to a C for GCSE and the more capable children are not pushed to their full potential. They have a great GCSE results but in the A*-C bracket, not the A* and A.

The outstanding secondary has a balanced academic and vocational subject split. It is strong on discipline and pushes the more capable students which is what we wanted.

Ds1 has just started year 8, went up with only 1 other child from his primary and they weren't friends in the first place. He has made loads of new friends and he is pushed in lessons he excels in that are not setted ie History.

At the end of the day school is about the results you get at the end of the time you spend there. You have to look at the school that will get your child those results.

Even in a poor results school if your child will be in the whatever % of children who achieve A*-C in old GCSE terms then fine but how high in that bracket will school push them? How much will you push as parents?

Foxyloxy1plus1 Sat 12-Sep-15 20:52:08

I would rely much more on the 'feel' of the schools that you visit. Ofsted is a snapshot of a school at a particular time and you may feel very differently about it when you visit.

Having said that, I would have some concern if the teaching was inadequate over a period of time, because it would also mean that the leadership of the school had not been able to address this satisfactorily.

There's no substitute for seeing the schools for yourself though.

Thymeout Sat 12-Sep-15 20:58:26

Ofsted is not the last word on a school, but the chances are 'Poor, inadequate teaching' means there will be uninspiring lessons, low-level disruption, demoralised staff and pupils. Honestly, would you really choose that for your dd?

What did Ofsted say about the sports specialism that attracts your dd?

Even if that was relatively positive, it's only a small part of the curriculum and she will still have to do well in the other subjects which have been slated.

If the two schools were more or less even, then, fair enough, let her have the final say. But really she's too young to make such an important decision, against the grain, on such flimsy grounds.

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