Which of these 2 schools would you chose and why?(23 Posts)
We are very lucky to have a choice of 2 very good schools for DD for next year. We are likely to get a place in both. I am undecided about which to put first so have decided to get your opinions please.
School A - catchment school in next village. Free School bus provided from our village. Ofsted rated Good and seems to be on the up. I was very impressed when I looked round it and liked the headteacher. It has scored very very well in the Progress 8 results and appears to be a very highly performing school. I work locally to this school which would allow DD to stay late if she wanted without causing too many issues. Catchment is quite small (4 villages) so future friends would not be too far away.
School B - non catchment school a bit further away. A school bus does pick up from our village but we would have to pay for a bus pass. Ofsted rated Outstanding several times and generally considered to be one of the best schools in our area. I also liked it when I looked round, although felt it is not doing as much of a hard sell on new parents and is possibly complacent compared to school A. The 'brochure' was a marketing leaflet as opposed to the detailed prospectus from school A. It also scored well in the Progress 8 scores but not as well as school A. It is a highly performing school.
School B has a much larger catchment covering lots of rural villages and we are already out of catchment (just) so future friends may live some distance away.
Out of DDs current class, maybe 2/3 will go to school A and 1/3 to school B. DD makes friends easily so I have no worries about that.
DD is somewhere in the middle of the class in terms of ability.
Both schools are a similar size. Both get similar results at GCSEs.
We have been to open evenings at both schools.
DD has been to several primary sporting events at School A and has also been on a taster day there.
DD is adamant that she doesn't like school A although she did enjoy the open evening.
She wants to go to school B (where her best friend will be going).
So which would you choose:
School A - Ofsted Good with brilliant results, free transport, more local to my work, but not DDs choice
School B - Ofted Outstanding, again with brilliant results (but lower Progress 8), need to pay for transport, and further away / less convenient. But DD really wants to go there (having only been there once for the open evening).
I was about to say why would you not go for A, and then got to the bit about DD not liking it. Hmm.
Can she explain why she doesn't like it? Is it just about best mate?
I was all for A until you said DD didn't want to go there. Friendships wax and wane so it's a tough one. Can you get her to keep an open mind or is it all BFF at her age?
School A unless DD can come up with a very good explanation of why she doesn't like it. Sticking with best friend doesn't count - she can still be friends with her outside school and it's actually immensely useful having a best friend that has no involvement in school politics. But if she has some more objective reasons for preferring school B, that's different.
What extra curricular activities do they offer? Does 1 offer subjects or clubs/trips that the other one doesn't? Does 1 have additional pastoral care that your dd may benefit from?
I would never advise choosing a school based on friends attending. The friends may not actually go to that school, their parents may have other plans. My DD wasn't in a single class with anyone she went to primary school with.
If there's little between them then I would consider the cost of purchasing uniforms as a way to separate them. Having potentially several children at a high schools with an expensive uniform would be difficult for me.
Our DD was unavoidably separated from her best friend for secondary. They were both upset. We fenced off a set-in-stone afternoon once a week for them to get together, which helped.
It has been brilliant over the years for them to have a really good friend outside school. As PP said, it's invaluable to have a friend who is not involved in school politics. I suspect that being separated has protected rather than complicated their friendship through the teen years in some ways.
School B because my DD preferred it (& it sounds like cost of bus pass is not a problem).
I don't think DDs reasons for not liking school A are particularly strong. Although I am concerned that a bit of it might be gut feel which is harder to ignore.
The best friend bit is significant (and they have been best friends since reception and known each other since babies) but DD is popular and has lots of other friends too so would be fine. If this was not the case, I would be more inclined to think school B was the right choice.
BF is definitely going to school B as her older sister is already there.
We could afford the bus pass, but it is money that could be spent elsewhere. The uniform for school B is also more specific and therefore more expensive too. I also have a DS but he is a preschooler currently so not worrying about uniform for him just yet.
Both schools offer a wide variety of extra curricular activities so there is not a strong leader there either.
Thank you all for your thoughts so far. They are much appreciated
I would go with school A but get DD on board somehow, you don't know that DD's friend won't pick school A anyway, we had lots of this in year 6 with strategic "which one are you choosing" because there are several options locally but then it became clear that people try and put others off to preserve their own chances of a place.
We chose one out of the way that we really liked and no primary friends were likely to choose but it has worked very well so far but DS really wanted to go so that made it easier for me. Good luck!
My parents allowed me to choose the local comp over a grammar school when I was a child because I didn't want to be separated from my friends. In hindsight I can't believe they allowed me to make such an important decision.
I live in a rural village where there is no feeder school, there are lots of secondaries in the nearby town and we have my dds on a list for a very good girls school. Many other children in my dds class will go to other different schools when they leave primary. The kids do see each other at after school activities and play dates so I am sure your dd will still see her friend.
It sounds like your DD is being overly influenced by which school her best friend is going to. Lots of friendships change at secondary school. In any event, it is entirely possible that even at the same school your DD and best friend could end up in different forms and not have any lessons together. If the friendship does last, as a PP has said, it can be good to have a good friend who is entirely separate from the playground politics of one's own school.
Even if it is "gut feel" rather than best friend, that may simply be because your DD has seen more of school A, and that if she had seen more of school B she would have found things to dislike about school B too.
I have two teenagers and it is important to both of them to be able to meet up with their school friends outside of school. Your DD probably hasn't given much thought to this aspect, or realised that in a couple of years' time she may well be craving more independence, which is more easily obtained if she lives nearer to her friends rather than always being dependent on lifts from Mum. I think this aspect is particularly important given that you have another much younger child. Even if you are happy to provide a taxi service for your DD, there will be times when you have to say no because your DS needs picking up from a party/ has a swimming lesson/ is already in bed asleep and is too young to be left home alone etc. Might be less of an issue if you have a partner who is willing and able to do his share of lifts, but even so I think it's still a point worth thinking about.
I'd also say school A unless DD has a compelling reason (other than best friend) for going to School B.
My DS's experience is that he was split from all his friends in secondary school and he scarcely sees them at school these days. Also agree that it's good to have an "at home" friend.
I'd pick School A. A lot of friendships fail in the first couple of years at secondary and your dd could still see her best friend after school and weekends anyway as you live in the same village.
You also say she makes friends easily, so it's not necessary to choose the larger pool of potential friends at School B. This, combined with the ability to stay late, less travel and the good results would make it a definite pick for me.
It sounds both school are nice. I would be happy to choose either one. So is it possible to bring DD to visit both school again?Try to involve DD in discussion , list all the good or bad side for both school, then choose, but do tell DD not to choose school based on her best friend, as the other post mentioned, they can still keep in touch even in different school.
However, as you mentioned your DD is in middle abilities, will school A push her more or school B push her more in accademic side?
You can use money saved on bus pass to take best friend out sometimes at weekends if they aren't close enough to just come over.
Bus pass and ease of staying late, more local friends all vv good reasons.
Like others, I would have said school A until you said your DD preferred school B.
Lots of schools are happy for parents and pupils to look around while they're teaching. Go back to both schools with DD, ask questions, get to the bottom of any concerns (other than friends) she might have at school A. That way you may get a better feel for one over the other, and it may give you a better feel for which one would be best for DD.
If you opt for school A, it'll be much easier and nicer if you have DD onboard. As said, bus fare money could be used over the years to do nice things with her friend. If she does go to school A, are there any local groups, clubs DD could start going to which might included children from that school?
Both sound like good schools, but things can change - my DD's school has gone from outstanding to good while she's been there, progress8 is -0.23. She's been really happy there, it's had a lot to offer her personally, she's forecast to get good grades They have a new headmaster who seems totally committed to bringing the school back to where it was.
Whichever you go with don't let the friend influence you. Chances are she won't be with said friend much anyway, vastly different to Juniors with varied setting in most subjects and also new friends are made at High School.
I would also want to know why she prefers school B
With dd1 we allowed her to pick her school choice out of 2 I preferred school A she preferred school B. Her reasoning was School a was to much of a maze and she would feel lost there. I said ok and she went to school B. Is now in 6th form there and loving the school.
With DD3 we were looking at different schools (knowing the style of dd1's school would not work well for her) We agreed on school for first choice however for 2nd we disagreed. Her reasoning for not liking the school I felt best for 2nd was
She didnt like the school uniform.
She didn't like the buildings - said School was moving before she would attend school to brand new grounds
I did not agree with either choice and stood my ground it was placed 2nd.
For another school she was adamant she was not going there. Reasoning was
They did not have science labs on the school walk through (her favourite subject) Also she didn't like how many religious aspects there was to the school (Catholic) I really liked the school however took this on board and it was not added to our short list.
So OP if your dd's reasoning is
BF is going there. I would say not acceptable reasoning.
However if reasoning is. I felt more comfortable there. I liked the layout better than that of school A. I felt that they had a better way of making us feel at ease in the school. I would seriously consider her wishes in this.
If you did go for school B and it was not a good fit how likely would you be to get her into school A later on? Is it oversubscribed?
I think your DD's view is important, BUT, it depends how strongly she feels. Ask her what her choice would be if her best friend wasn't going there.
DS1 desperately wanted to go to a local Good school, partly because his friend was going there, but also I could see that he was mentally committed to the school, and far more at ease there.
We turned down two far more sought after Outstanding schools, and two years on I can see that it was the right decision.
DH thought we were taking a leap in the dark, because he preferred the other schools, but it has given DS1 a huge confidence boost to know that we listened to him.
And his friend is still his best friend, and has been a great support in joining sports teams that I think he would have been too nervous to try out for.
Unfortunately it is very unlikely you will receive offers from both schools. You will be allocated a place at your nearest; distance measured straight line door-to-door. I would be listing as first preference the closest school as it will give your child more time for extra curricular activities, rest, or homework. Autumn and winter days shorter so you wouldn't like your child returning home in the dark.
It depends on the entrance criteria, nicp. If the schools are selective, or part selective, and you know that your child will be offered a place, then you do get a choice. The school you put first will be the school you are offered.
nicp OP says they are likely to be offered a place in either. Not every area of the country has hugely oversubscribed schools. Also, if they put the further school first and closer second, it doesn't affect their chances of being offered a space in the closer school (if not offered the further).
And no they've won't get offers from both - you only receive one offer, your highest preference if the schools for which you 'qualify', or the nearest school with spaces available if you don't get any of your preferences.
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