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Please help us decide between these 2 state schools

(23 Posts)
user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 08:16:36


We are trying to decide which of these schools to put as first choice where are in the catchment for both. I would be grateful for your opinions.

School A
Girls Comprenhensive
Rated good by ofstead this year
240 intake
Commuting to school will be one bus which stop close to our house
Good new facilities as they have just invested a lot of money
Impression from the open days: Seems organise, clean, good discipline and good communication; good extra curricular but don't know how easy is to get into them when they are so many girls, good music and bands. The girl said they keep you in line and there is no disruption in class because nobody wants to lose their merits.
Bad comments: Some of the teachers are a bit mean then I asked the girl what percentage and she told me only 10% are not that nice but 90% are nice. Girls fights: she said her sister who is in year 9 only seen two since she started and the worse one was when they threw a girl into the pond; but she said is only the bad girls and tha she has not seen any. She only started year 7
A levels seen to have some issues as it is mixed with the boys from other school which is having some problems.

School B
Rated outstanding but latest ofstead was 4 or 5 years ago
180 intake
1960 building, facilities ok but not marvelous, small cantine
Most of her friends will go there
Benefit from beng in a nice leafy area
Walking distance: 20 to 30
Outstanding A level results
Comments from the open day: There are some disruptive children in class but is getting better and you get used to it.
It may become part of a mutiacademy trust which includes 2 primaries and 2 secondaries

PettsWoodParadise Fri 06-Oct-17 08:41:30

Fit for your DC is the main criteria. After that I would look more at GCSE results as a) you don’t know if your DC will stay in at this school for A Levels and b) there is often a lot of movement between sixth forms. What is on the curriculum for GCSE too? Are there compulsory subjects they might not want to take, what are the options for double or triple science? Also look at the Progress 8 scores. These will tell you how the school does regardless of the level of ability of the intake.

Bekabeech Fri 06-Oct-17 09:07:07

Which does your DD prefer?

RedSkyAtNight Fri 06-Oct-17 09:13:25

Both sounds good - you are lucky to have a choice! I'm assuming you have no strong preference based on your visits so far? Based on the info you've given, I'd go for school B - that's because I prefer co-ed and I think having a school in walking distance is an incredibly non-tangible benefit.

Iamcheeseman Fri 06-Oct-17 09:16:57


shyness247 Fri 06-Oct-17 09:44:49

I doubt there is any objective way to decide on this forum.

I would ask questions such as:

* to what extent are new glitzy buildings masking performance?
* do OFSTED results really give you any confidence of consistency?
* what is your overall 'feel' for, especially, the attitude of teachers?
* GCSE results are helpful, but if you have a clever child, you may wish to look at what fraction is achieving the best results.
* what provision is made for the brightest (even if you have an average child, a school that caters for the brightest will also be helping your own child get better outcomes - this is supported by academic research).

eyebrowsonfleek Fri 06-Oct-17 10:45:02

My son has just started in y7 at a school that most of his classmates didn’t go to. Making new friends was a terrifying prospect for him. He’s never been bullied and had lots of friends in primary but was dubious when I said that secondary school would have plenty of other y7 boys who liked computer games, nerf guns and funny Internet videos. Going to the other school would have been the easy choice but everyone seems to be up for new people, experiences etc so he’s feeling increasingly confident each day. The Head of y7 told me when my older kids started that by October half-term, which primary school you went to becomes irrelevant. He is still in contact with y6 friends but I’m also happy when he mentions his y7 friends because friends make going to school much more bearable.

You know your dd best but I wanted to add my experience about making new friends. You could ask current y7’s how they are settling in socially if it’s a major consideration?

Sequence Fri 06-Oct-17 10:54:18


user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:01:40

Thank you. I appreciate your opinions.A bit more information.

DD is creative and full o ideas and good a sports too; her teachers always say that she works hard, is a pleasure to teach and trives when challenge. She liked school A because of the facilities and because she saw a cooking class going on in the open day and she likes cooking; she also likes good food and school A has better cantine and food than school B from what we have heard. These are only minor things but important to her. I think they are just too young to make that decision.

A few more things about the schools:

School A:
Girls starts GCSEs in year 9
Progress 8: 0.33
Attainment 8: 54.6

user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:06:18

Posted too eary sorry

School A:
Girls starts GCSEs in year 9
Progress 8: 0.33
Attainment 8: 54.6
Grade C or better in english and maths:72%
Achieving the english Baccalureate: 45% , 59% entering it

School B:
Progress 8: 0.32
Attainment 8: 57
Grade C or better in english and maths:77%
Achieving the english Baccalureate: 43% , 50% entering it

RedSkyAtNight Fri 06-Oct-17 12:14:06

Well those results are practically identical. It's worth drilling down into low/medium/high achievers and seeing if they vary as well.

Be aware that she may cook very little in reality (I think my DC cook 6 times in Y7 and Y8 and then never again unless they choose Food Tech as an option - as it's in rotation with other things).

If DD is good at sports, what sports are offered? Is extra curricular only for those who are school team material?

HarrietVane99 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:22:56

What is the distance/length of journey to School A? A long journey would mean friends are likely to be widely scattered, so arranging out of school get togethers would be more difficult.

I wouldn't give too much weight to where her friends are going. I didn't know anyone when I started at secondary school. I made new friends. Girls who did come with other girls from the same primary school didn't really keep up with them, but formed new friendship groups.

user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:38:02

Reg GCSES. Subjects are very similar but school B has English, Maths, Science and Engineering. School A has triple science.

user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:47:29

School A is 20 bus ride.

Actually school A says that all students will study english language, english literature, mathematics and science to examination level and also core PE and PHSHE. It also has triple science on top of other subjects.

School B has separate, maths, english and science but not triple science. Other subjects are similar to school A.

shyness247 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:51:22

The GCSE results as presented are of little use. The industry excels in pushing meaningless numbers to cover up their inadequacy. A common press release tactic is to claim something like a '99.6%' GCSE success rate, grades A* - G. In other words, just about everyone sat an exam!

You need to know what fraction got the highest grades, and what the trend is in those grades. Often, a massaging of figures to claim an 'improvement' can be revealed when you see several grades moving upwards by the same amount.

RedHelenB Fri 06-Oct-17 14:14:21

As they seem much of a muchness then why not let your dd decide, she is the one to go there after all.

user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 14:23:30

Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

RedHelen, I think that's exactly what I am going to do. They both are similar in terms of progress and results and they both have their good and bad things too; I will ask my daughter to decide and will submit the school application this weekend and forget about it. Can't wait to lift this weight of my shoulders.

ifonly4 Fri 06-Oct-17 14:35:54

Has DD got a preference? If you're having trouble deciding, ask to look around both while lessons are in progress - most schools will offer this anyway.

Your DD probably won't have any preference at her age, but my DD liked going to a Coed school and moving into Sixth form that was a requirement of hers. She wasn't one for mixing with the boys a lot throughout secondary, but like the banter between them and also felt we all live together and she wanted opinions from both sexes.

Having said all this, I'd probably like my DD to go to B anyway.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 06-Oct-17 16:17:40

I'd go to the school that at least offers triple science if that is really the only difference, just in case she does want to go down that route.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 06-Oct-17 16:18:50

I posted too soon too.

What is their MFL provision like? Some schools offer different languages but the reality is if not enough people chose to do it that class might not be run. Does one offer a wider variety and also will all the classes actually happen?

fairyofallthings Fri 06-Oct-17 16:41:01

Let your DD decide, but if she is a scientist then go for the school which offers triple science.

user1475317873 Fri 06-Oct-17 19:49:32

School A offers more languages and I understand they do happen.

oldcrownie Fri 06-Oct-17 20:01:44

I think co ed vs girls only is a consideration. Both dh and I both went to single sex schools but chose co ed for our dc. We both felt single sex wasn't great for social development based on our own experiences and isn't representative of real life. How do you feel about single sex vs co ed?

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