Brand new school(8 Posts)
Advise needed - getting to the point of looking at secondary schools. One choice is a brand new one due to open the year my dd would start. It would however be part of a large academy chain.
Has anyone got any advice of the pros and ons of this?
In case it's relevant the buildings will not be ready for sept 18 and so building work will be ongoing.
I would worry as it is a complete unknown. Not idea of pastoral care or quality of teaching or if policies work/are applied properly. No data or OFSTED. No existing parents to ask opinions and advice.
Could be great but could be a disaster.
I'd be worried it's a) an academy and b) part of a chain.
But then I've had bad personal experience of that.
I don't worry so much about the unknown with a reputation because I know people who've sent their children to what are meant to be the best and outstanding schools that have been dire for their children.
There's also the consideration that your DD will always be the oldest. In some ways that's a good thing - it brings confidence and responsibility, in others it means a lack of older role models and a lack of diversity.
I can talk about brand new schools from experience - although not as part of a chain. DD has just completed year 13 and was part of the first cohort when she was in year 7. I've observed several other new opening schools.
It has generally been a positive experience both socially and academically. First cohorts get lots of attention and there is some evidence they do a bit better academically than others. The transition to secondary was straightforward and the cohort liked owning the school in year 7.
Things to note:
New schools often promise new approaches - I think there is a regression to norm so things may become more like other schools.
There is no dead wood in the teaching staff - but not all appointments will be great
Expect change in the teaching staff - those who are excited by building a new school may be quick to move on when they have established it. A number of new school have had head changes within a couple of years.
Building is an issue - but schools are quite good at managing it. New facilities are great when they are finished.
Some new schools have behaviour issues - no older role models - possibly not kicking in until year 9.
My advice - look at the people who are running the school - the head and the MAT in this case. Do you have faith in them? If so it could be great and worth a go.
I seem to hear positive things about the chain - I believe they have turned around several failing local schools. How similar will the 'ethos' (if that's the right word for it) from one school to another? Am I likely to get an idea by visiting another in the chain?
We failed to get a place at a new school - reasons I really wanted it specific to it being new were : small cohort and easier transition. More experienced head of subject teachers (they recruit the head of subject first so likely to be more experienced), and no older kids to bully (we have anxiety issues). Also easier transition between lessons and less stressful.
It's a second sister school to a very popular secondary in same area though so most parents very keen (I think this is unusual for a new school to be so oversubscribed)
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