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Which school would you choose?!(49 Posts)
Single sex boys’ comprehensive.
Former grammar school with excellent local reputation until a controversy in the school early this year which triggered an Ofsted report that came back as inadequate (previously Outstanding) identifying issues linked to safeguarding and pastoral care – still has huge local support and the school seems to be having a very positive, proactive response to the Ofsted.
Reputation for being academic and extremely sporty.
Setting in most subjects from start of Yr 7 (based on SATs and CAT testing).
Masses of amazing extra-curricular stuff.
Ten minutes’ walk from our house.
Links to DD’s girls' school including co-ordinated term dates which really appeals especially as they finish early in the summer!
Reputation for having a caring, inclusive, holistic ethos, but academic results are also strong. Some issues with bullying in the past according to local rumours but seems to be less so now. I really liked the open evening, which talked a lot about seeing each child as an individual, personal best etc. It feels a bit scruffy but welcoming. A lot of people I know are a bit snobby about it but I also have several friends who are very happy with it.
Mixed ability sets for everything until Year 9.
Five min walk plus 20 minute bus ride from our house, limited buses on return journey so it would make after-school clubs a bit of a pain.
DS is very bright, strong in maths and literacy, particularly good at writing, and absolutely loves to learn. He is a creative, gentle, thoughtful boy, always drawing and loves music and dancing. Not at all keen on sports although will have a go at cricket. He’s got a strong group of friends at primary school but there have been tendencies in the past for him to be the one left out because he’s a little bit different.
I think that school 1 would suit him academically as he would most likely be in the top sets, there’s a culture of it being cool to learn and he would enjoy many of the extra-curricular opportunities (he was swayed by the Warhammer club at the open evening!) However, I am worried about him not fitting in in a very masculine atmosphere, and having to fit a mould. There’s a lot of talk of ‘We know how boys learn…’ ‘We know that boys love books with facts…’ 'We know that boys like to run around...' etc etc which feels a bit like a one size fits all approach and doesn't seem to apply to my boy!
I like the individuality of school 2 and could see him being very happy there. He is very self-motivated and I wonder if having a bit less pressure would serve him well. However, I know that mixed sets are sometimes not so good for very able children. I’ve heard of kids being teased for being ‘geeky’ because they want to work hard etc.
Urrgh! I realise we are so lucky to have a realistic choice of two good schools but it’s so hard to choose!!
Sorry for such a massive post! I'd really welcome any opinions.
I like the sound of school B. However, there is a lot to be said for being able to walk/ bike/ scooter to school and that would sway me to school A.
I would not believe all the “individual” stuff of school B. It’s just not possible, except for the naughty children they spend hours with. Mixed classes will get him really frustrated if there are disruptive children in them. Best avoided I think. If it’s not a grammar, it won’t be a 100% hot house.
My children went to ultra sporty schools but they were not sporty. They did loads of other activities. A great school will accommodate all types of learners and obviously not all boys want to run around. They are trying to tell you that they are accommodating of active children, if that applies to your child. Mine preferred music and drama. You will never get every child being sporty so sport for all is a better motto. Have a go at everything.
It would be School A for me. Mostly down to the mixed ability for three years at school
It would depend for me where my child would want to go.
I agree DinkyDaisy about being able to walk, although the other one doesn't feel that far away really as it's closer than our primary school!
Interesting points Bubbles – I think I probably need to find out more about the mixed ability thing and how that works in practice. School 2 has an open morning this week so I will try and question some teachers!
The problem is that DS really likes both schools and hates making decisions Cheesecake! It feels like we really need to guide him with this decision. He also has friends who will go to each school. It was so much easier with DD who was absolutely set on her school from Y5 – and we were absolutely certain it was the right one for her.
Bubbles interestingly drama is not offered as a subject at school 1, which bothers me slightly.
Is one of them undersubscribed? If so send him to the over subscribed one first, if it doesn't work then just switch.
If it’s the boys school in Bath that I think it is I would avoid it at all costs
Yes it is Rudi – do you have experience of the school?
Racecardriver that's a good plan although they are both oversubscribed!
Not personally but I have heard a few things from parents that would raise concern. I think there is so much great choice in Bath it would be off the radar for me based on that one appalling incident alone.
The one with the racist incident and the somewhat 'but we're wonderful, we've always done things like this ... whoops, you mean that's not acceptable any more??' response, about which there was a huge thread here after the Ofsted report?
Um - I wouldn't.
Thanks both of you – I know, what happened is shocking and it does seem very odd that it has all been brushed under the carpet. But I do have several friends with sons there who are all really happy with how their kids are doing and still seem to think it is an excellent school. Also, at the open evening I thought the response/plan of action was fairly positive.
Rudi I would love to know more detail as I clearly only get a rosy view of things from parents with children at the school! Would you mind elaborating on what you've heard – by DM if you prefer?
How have the governing body at School A responded to the recent Ofsted? That tells you a lot about the school
Thanks cantkeep, I did read that thread with interest. Reading through again now.
OlennasWimple the response at the open evening seemed to be to be proactive and positive, accepting the report and that there were things found to be wrong with the school - although pointing out that EVERYONE thinks they are a great school.
Hmm, maybe I'm answering my own question here!
Boys do better in mixed schools anyway.
I can't find on their website the regular reports from all involved to do with the actions the school is taking in response to the Ofsted report?
For other schools which have plunged unexpectedly to a poor Ofsted grade, I have usually seen a very public - usually on their website - series of regular updates from head and governors, listing the action plan actions and detailing progress towards each etc.
There doesn't appear to be anything in this case? Are parents receiving these in e-mail / paper copy, or is it all 'we're doing stuff, trust us because everyone knows we are wonderful'?
I haven't found anything online and all I'm aware of is the response that was given in talks by the interim chair of governors and the head teacher at the parents' evening. Your last sentence pretty much sums up what was said. There is a definite sense of sweeping it under the carpet.
If School B is R.A I would choose that in a heart beat over School A.
It would school A for me. If your DS is bright and self motivated he will thrive there. Not sure why your worried about the ‘masculine’ attitude. A boys school will talk about how boys like to learn etc. My DS is at an all boys school and if I had to describe him he is bright and a little bit of a neek. However so are a lot of the other boys , they are not all walking around trying to be ‘jocks’. I recall the incident at the school however the main issue for me would be how they have since responded to it.....
I'd be out off with the safeguarding and poor pastoral care in school A. Also that they set with CATs as these show cognitive ability over an average and not ability to work too set etc). Attending a school like this nearly destroyed my ds in year 7 and now he goes to a school B type school and couldn't be happier.
I'm in Bristol so I'm aware of School A, but only in a loose sense with nothing concrete.
I have a drama loving, creative, non-sporty boy whose just started a mixed comp for Y7. My dd goes there and is in Y9.
They are only settled for Maths and Science, but are somewhat settled for languages after Y7 with more able pupils being offered a second language.
It working well for us at the moment,
The ethos of our school is that they firmly believe in a wide variety of extra curricular subjects that help mould the whole child - the Performing Arts are very encouraged and really create a buzz within the school.
From your Opening post, if I were in your shoes I would choose School B.
Thanks everyone, these responses are really helpful, despite being very split!
ledzeppelin I am put off by the masculine atmosphere because I hate the thought of my son feeling that he has to change the way he is in order to fit in. Having visited the school and observed break times etc it is undeniably a very masculine atmosphere - I am not saying that is negative, just that it is something I feel might not be right for my son.
youarenot It must have been so tough having your DS go through that, I'm glad he's so much happier now.
Trampire Your children's school sounds perfect for my DS! And not dissimilar to school 2.
Off to another open morning today, I will be so relieved when it's all sorted!
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