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Schools dilemma advice appreciated

(9 Posts)
Maybemable Sun 03-Jul-16 18:36:50

We live in SE London where state school options for boys not great. DS (nearly 10) is really small for his age - has possible growth disorder which is being investigated and whilevaverage academically, seems to have a flair for art and music especially art. There is a huge comprehensive about 45 mins - 1 hour away which has fantastic art and music facilities. He could possibly get a music place there and also benefit from an art scholarship. Their students go on to the Slade, Central St Martins etc. Plus I get the feeling that the school wouldn't let him slip through the cracks academically which he has sort of done at primary school.

However I've just visited another comp, much closer to where we live, brand new, new head. I thought the atmosphere was great and DS would be happy there plus a lot of his friends are likely to go. It's art and music facilities seem fine although not in same league as the bigger school. It had an iffy Ofsted recently but I'm convinced senior team are on it. I'm less sure that DS would thrive academically however as the school seemed more laid back about academic achievement than the other school. This second school does not have a sixth form. Really torn as this sounds dramatic but feels like a choice between what's best for DS' future and what's best for his happiness. I think he will want to go for the nearer comp.

nancy75 Sun 03-Jul-16 18:39:59

Would you even get him into a school an hour away? State comps usually admit based on distance lived from schools don't they?

Maybemable Sun 03-Jul-16 18:42:37

Yes there is a chance - it offers places on a lottery basis plus a number of scholarships for music and sport.

SaltyMyDear Sun 03-Jul-16 18:44:34

I wouldn't trust that the further away school is actually as good as it looks.

It's easy to look good on the outside. And it's a long commute if it turns out not to be as good as it looks once you're inside.

bojorojo Sun 03-Jul-16 18:47:40

Don't just be swayed by facilities. It is the quality of teaching that counts. What is the quality of art on show? What is the school orchestra like and do they have music ensembles and choirs? What music teaching is on offer? Do they take these subjects seriously? If the school is new, what track record does it have? Or is it replacing an old one and will it have the same teachers? I would tend to go for the nearest. 1 hour is just too much but supplement the music if you have to. Do you have a music service that runs orchestras and bands in the evenings or on Saturdays?

Maybemable Sun 03-Jul-16 20:10:04

Thank you all - these are good points that I will look into further. It's not out of the question for DS to start at nearer school and if it doesn't deliver to move him
to the other when he's older / has grown more.

bojorojo Mon 04-Jul-16 10:14:56

Be careful about assuming you can just move schools when you feel like it. There may not be a space for a start. He may be enjoying his school and likes having local friends. Often children absolutely refuse to move! Take your lead from him and I can guarantee if he is happy in the school you choose, he will not want to move, whatever the delights of another school might be and however much you may want to push him in that direction!

swingofthings Mon 04-Jul-16 10:21:44

Be reassured that although there might be a better decision, ie. the one you would take if you could look back in 5 years time, either are likely to be a bad one and more likely that some aspects will have been better at the other, but not others.

Personally, I think reduced travel time and choice of the child already scores highly.

Coconutty Mon 04-Jul-16 10:27:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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