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Have you started the Open Days circuit? Any first impressions?

(20 Posts)
CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 12-Sep-09 16:08:45

We went to an Open Day at a local school.

First impressions: fantastic sports facilities. There were fewer than 20 families visiting, though.

CatherineofMumbles Sat 12-Sep-09 17:45:52

What part of the country are you? Is there only one open day? Maybe as so early in the school year people are not yet in gear?

AspasiaManos Sat 12-Sep-09 19:19:53

Wow, 20 is low!

We have our first visit next week.

deaddei Sun 13-Sep-09 20:57:05

We're expecting over 1000 families on Thursday.

cat64 Sun 13-Sep-09 21:14:57

Message withdrawn

Kbear Sun 13-Sep-09 21:23:03

We start in about a month's time, after the 11+, which is next week.

roisin Mon 14-Sep-09 17:36:36

We have Open Evenings here. I loathe them. They are very busy and crowded, and it's easy for the school to manipulate to put across what they want to. I would strongly recommend arranging to visit during a school day, once you have narrowed down your main options. When we went with ds1 schools had up to 400 families visiting each evening!

There are 2 next week and 3 the week after.

Fortunately ds2 is guaranteed a place at ds1's school, so I'm only going to take him to the one school to show him what it's like a bit. (I've already completed the preference form and submitted it.)

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 14-Sep-09 19:58:59

It was an open day at the sports ground, so maybe that's why it was so poorly attended. Thing is, there didn't seem many more parents around either (of the kids already in school playing in their teams). We'll have a look around the main school too at an open evening.

MillyMollyMoo Tue 15-Sep-09 22:08:49

Am so glad I've seen this, I had planned to do the rounds with DC tomorrow, three schools have open evenings on the same night.
DH refuses to come along he wants a one to one meeting with the head and a tour of the school.
Would others say open evenings are a waste of time ?

cat64 Tue 15-Sep-09 22:59:56

Message withdrawn

cherryblossoms Wed 16-Sep-09 02:17:58

If the school you're viewing has young people showing you round - please be nice to them - it might be mine! He's lined up to do some ushering of prospective parents.

It's most odd. Last year it was us in that situation. I keep remembering how we asked all the small guides whether they liked the school. I now realise they couldn't possibly have had enough time to give a real answer to the question.

MillyMollyMoo Wed 16-Sep-09 08:44:38

Cat64 - the schools have time to show around recruitment agencies who may be supplying them with staff so frankly parents should come higher up the list than them wouldn't you say ? I'm not expecting the head to spend two hours with us, but we do want to meet them. The more I think about it the dafter open evenings appear tbh.

cherryblossoms Wed 16-Sep-09 09:24:46

Millymollymoo - Thing is there are 1000s of parents turning up - literally.

Take, for instance, Tiffin School in these parts. About 1,600 boys sat the exam this year. All of those had parents, or some interested adult. It requires an effort to sit the exam (you opt to take it), so you can assume a level of interest on the carers' parts, which will extend to viewing the school.

Moreover, you can assume that there were a few who looked at the school and decided not to enter the exam AND some, very keen, parents who will scout the schools the year before, make a short-list of schools they're keen on, and then return the next year (yr 6) to the short-list with their dc.

Seriously, I met lots of parents doing that.

So there just aren't the hours in the school day to do one-to-one with all those parents.

Not to mention the disruption to primary schools of all those dc taking time out of the primary school class to go visit secondaries in school time.

Not saying you shouldn't do it; if you can, it is undoubtedly a great way of getting an insight.

Just explaining why schools run an Open Evening/Day and that it's not quite the same (ergonomically) as showing around recruitment agencies.

MillyMollyMoo Wed 16-Sep-09 09:28:43

Ok I take your point, my child is in year 5 so that's exactly what I am doing short listing.
I guess having made 2 mistakes with primary school I'm very nervous of doing the same with senior where the stakes are higher.
I may pretend to be a recruitment agent and sneak a peak that way ;-)

cherryblossoms Wed 16-Sep-09 09:32:50

MMM - poor you; that's stressful. Lots of schools do run daytime tours because a lot of parents just can't make the open evenings. So it's worth 'phoning. We went to one. It was indeed insightful. Good luck.

Chesente Wed 16-Sep-09 12:32:33

Ours is next tuesday night. I'm dreading at as it's really our only option so if we don't like it I'm not sure what we're going to do.

roisin Wed 16-Sep-09 15:53:02

I think the "tour round school during the regular school day" thing does depend very much on your area and your school.

If you are talking about a highly over-subscribed selective grammar with potentially thousands of pushy parents, it might be impossible. But most of us are not in that situation.

At the secondary where I worked for 4 years I can only remember one family ever coming to look around the school during a regular day. They just didn't get the requests.

Another local secondary, that is more popular, arranges tours in a group during a specific week after Open Evenings. But when we contacted them to request a tour at a different time of year (Jan) they were more than happy to oblige. We were shown round by a Deputy Head. He used the time to check in on classrooms, praise and admonish students he came across, etc. Our SMT regularly 'tour the building' and it's not much different with a visitor in tow.

Again the local independent school was very happy to show us round during the school day, and the HT did it themselves.

cat64 Wed 16-Sep-09 21:55:02

Message withdrawn

MillyMollyMoo Wed 16-Sep-09 22:28:06

Well we were very very lucky a fantastic lower 6th girl showed us around, she really took to my DC and chatted away with her and gave us a real insight to the school.
We were meant to see two schools but were so impressed that we didn't bother with the other one.

CristinaTheAstonishing Wed 16-Sep-09 22:29:18

OTOH, if you're going to send your child to a private secondary and shell out £100K+ over the years, you ought to get a bit more info for your decision making than some school tables in The Times, a bit of gossip and 10 minutes of the HT's pre-prepared speech. I know you can't get more, just playing devil's advocate that in no other situation do you take such a leap of faith with so much money.

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