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Doing Well - What are the most important factor in your opinion

(29 Posts)
FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 11:09:42

In your opinion what order would you put the following factors when thinking about what's important for a child to do well in school both academically (coming out with a good solid set of GCSEs) and socially (happy, helpful, confident young adults). Is there anything on the list that you would consider not important at all and have I missed off anything vital?

Engaging and interested teachers
Good management of the school
Academic ability of pupil
Loving, nurturing and supportive homelife
Number of extra curricular activities on offer
School being in an area where crime levels are low
Attending a school within your community

I realise that every child is different and what is important for one may not be so for an other but if you HAD to order the list how would it look to you?

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 11:10:13


TeenAndTween Tue 14-Mar-17 11:26:55

My top 3 are: natural ability, supportive parents & work ethic of pupil

I think your last 3 aren't all that important.
Your first 2 are important but are the same for all pupils in a school, so what makes the difference are the 3 in my list, I think.

You didn't mention work ethic at all? Was that an oversight?

Also influence of friends can make a big difference too.

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 11:51:09

I suppose I sort of thought of work ethic being lumped in with ability but of course thinking about it now that isn't necessarily the case is it? You could have the most able pupil in the world who just can't be arse and the pupil for whom academia doesn't come 'naturally' but puts in a huge effort and comes out 'bettter'.

I did forget about friends though, that can have a massive effect, yes.

Interesting that you don't think extra curricular are important. I think these can sometimes be great ways for young people to explore different avenues that might not necessarily be offered as part of the national curriculum - photography club, duke of Edinburgh, school newspaper, chess club

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 11:52:03

apologies, you said 'not that important' rather than 'not important'

Laniakea Tue 14-Mar-17 11:54:49

1- Loving, nurturing and supportive home life
2 - Health (mental & physical) of pupil
3 - Academic ability of pupil
4 - Work ethic

^by far the most important.

5 - Then school factors - teachers, management, ethos, discipline - I guess the general feel (including crime rate?) of the area would come into this, also peer attitudes & expectations.

Number of extra curricular activities on offer
Attending a school within your community

^neither is a consideration for me.

My eldest dc is fortunate in that 1-4 are not issues which meant that our school choice came down to number 5 & she attends and out of catchment school as a result!

My dc2 has health & educational issues (2 & 3) - the school choices we make for him are very different. DC 3 & 4 are more straight forward again so I anticipate we'll be making similar choices to dd1.

Laniakea Tue 14-Mar-17 11:59:16

"Interesting that you don't think extra curricular are important. I think these can sometimes be great ways for young people to explore different avenues ... "

I think that's the role of loving & supportive parents tbh. None of my dc's extracurricular activities are school based.

Offering a curriculum beyond the bear minimum is important though - opportunity to do triple science, language choices, drama/art/dance. Less able students not being excluded from those enrichment activities etc

TeenAndTween Tue 14-Mar-17 12:10:11

You just need to read all the threads about 'my bright but lazy child' or 'how to get my DC to revise for GCSEs' to see how different natural ability is from work ethic!

troutsprout Tue 14-Mar-17 12:10:40

I think extra curricular is quite important but you can do that outside school. In fact it can give the child much more confidence in if they know people in their community from various groups outside of school .
If I was looking at schools.. they would be a bonus to a school I already liked rather than a deal breaker iyswim
For me it's
1.Having a stable home life with basic needs in place.
2.Supportive parents/carers / wider family and friends at school who are interested in learning
3.Good work ethic and a school culture that encourages this in an focussed way for every child
4. Ability

Laniakea Tue 14-Mar-17 12:17:49

gah 'bare minimum'

"You just need to read all the threads about 'my bright but lazy child' or 'how to get my DC to revise for GCSEs' to see how different natural ability is from work ethic!"

This, a thousand times!

Helenluvsrob Tue 14-Mar-17 12:21:23

Home/ family/ work ethic at home above everything else. School gave them for such a small proportion of time really.

corythatwas Tue 14-Mar-17 12:22:52

I'd definitely put work ethic first and see that as a very different thing to both ability and parental attitude.

It can be about all sorts of things: personality, level of natural rebelliousness, level of natural laziness. Some people enjoy challenges and don't thrive without them, other people like life to flow slowly and with as little effort as possible.

Ds is a natural slow mover: he can be helpful and go to efforts if he sees somebody needs it, but he actually does not enjoy mental effort and will avoid it if he can. I otoh was always looking for more things to teach myself when I was his age, I enjoy periods of challenge, like a deadline or organising a project. He has had to be pushed through his GCSE's, no one ever needed to push me to do anything. Similar family settings, different personalities.

I wonder why you seem to only mention extra-curricular activities linked to school. All the extra-curricular activities that have really mattered to my family have been outside of school. Something doesn't get more valuable or educational because it happens on school premises.

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 12:27:45

Interesting that no one has listed engaging and interested teachers yet. I have that fairly high up on my list, particularly for pupils of average ability. Surely this can make a big difference? Even the most able pupils will disengage if the teacher doesn't appear to be particularly interested/doesn't give great feedback. Or does this not happen these days, are all teachers in it for the love it - they're certainly not in it for the money that's for sure!

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 12:29:38

it's just another factor to consider cory, I'm all for activities outside of school too

corythatwas Tue 14-Mar-17 12:35:04

Suppose I should have mentioned teachers. Though I don't remember ever disengaging and I had some pretty crap ones. I've always felt like learning was something I was driven to do by something inside myself.

TeenAndTween Tue 14-Mar-17 12:38:08

I think a boring teacher can switch a child off something, but above that level all singing all dancing probably doesn't make much difference to reasonably interesting. They just get used to it.

It's like free coffee at work. Isn't necessarily a motivator, but would demotivate if you went and removed it.

Laniakea Tue 14-Mar-17 12:38:48

yes I think really good teachers can make a difference (though maybe more important is an environment/ethos where they can teach to the best of their ability). If I didn't believe that I would've sent dd to the school down the road but the best teachers in the world won't overcome the effects of a home life lacking in love, support, stability, a 'good example' (or the difficulties a child with health or disability issues faces).

Each individual teacher has very little time with a student and the student is just one of thirty sat in a classroom. Teachers come and go, dd hasn't had more than a couple for more than a year in any subject. How would you assess the quality of teaching in a school you're considering? OFSTED report? Some are great, some not, most are fine.

The reverse isn't true though - which is I guess why inequalities are perpetuated.

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 12:53:07

love that analogy teenandtween

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 12:56:51

That's true about teachers coming and going though eons back when I was at school that was less the case.

I went to see a school where the teachers where just so full of enthusiasm, or seemed to be and it really gave me a good feeling. Admittedly this is a fairly new school. At another very well established, 'outstanding' school, the teachers I spoke to seemed less so. I was less than impressed.

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 12:57:45

seemed less enthusiastic I mean.

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 12:59:27

fucking hell, just read that back. I clearly need to get myself back to school, can't write for toffee today. I blame the DD and her middle of the night antics.

PhilODox Tue 14-Mar-17 13:07:31

Engagement and support of parents is highest factor. Aspirations for their child are the strongest driving force, nothing to do with actual school.
Really think you're barking up the wrong tree with crime rate and attending school in you local community- DD's school is in a crime hotspot for our LA, and pupils travel up to 20 miles each way (urban, not rural). GCSE results are 100% A*-C, A levels are 85% A*-B.

FagAshMIL Tue 14-Mar-17 13:14:20

100% A*- C PhilODox is it a grammar school? grin kidding! That's great, I think crime rates are pretty low down on the list as it goes, my top priority is a nurturing and encouraging home environment.

PhilODox Tue 14-Mar-17 14:29:12


Northernsoul58 Tue 14-Mar-17 16:40:56

In terms of crime rates. Just to stir the hornet's nest, it did occur to me when we were choosing our DS's high school that instead of rankings based on A level results and how many pupils go on to Oxbridge, there should be an alternative school ranking system for how many former pupils end up in prison. Just saying wink.

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