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what did/do you look for in a good secondary school??

(7 Posts)
stoppinattwo Sat 19-Sep-09 18:43:50

DS is in year 6 and we are currently
searching around for 3 schools to put on our choices....

My criteria are

Friendliness
diversity
Opportunity
Size (smaller the better hmm)
Distance from home
travel options

I surprised myself because on reflection i didnt actually give a toss what their results were like...i suppose though if they score highly on the first 4 of the above then high results would follow.

What impressed you about secondary school

snorkie Sat 19-Sep-09 19:25:04

I'm not sure smaller is always better at secondary - often you get a much wider subject choice in a big school & as your child becomes a teenager they often need a bigger pool of children to find like minded pals in.

Friendliness is difficult to quantify isn't it? A good ethos helps & general attitude (politeness?) of the children can be a good indicator. The school's attitude to bullying might be worth looking at.

As part of your last 3 criteria it might be worth thinking where other local children generally go from a social point of view.

And what sort of opportunity were you thinking of? Curricula range or extra curricular stuff? I think both are good. Schools that foster a good work-play balance impress me.

On results - overall results aren't always indicative of whether or not your child will achieve well, so you are right to be cautious there. If your child has leanings in a particular direction already (science or languages for example) it's probably worth checking that those subjects are well provided for and results can be a good indicator.

foxytocin Sat 19-Sep-09 19:27:03

clean working toilets

hocuspontas Sat 19-Sep-09 19:52:24

When you look around at the Open Evenings you get a 'feel'. So does your child.

I looked for enthusiastic staff who were willing to spend time talking and who had a good rapport with one another, full to bursting noticeboards with friendly clubs and photos, opportunities that suited my dds (music or sports or art facilities etc)They all ended up putting different schools as their 1st choices.

In our area they are all good schools so maybe my criteria would be different if that wasn't the case.

sunnydelight Mon 21-Sep-09 06:26:49

Look at the top year and see if you would like your kids to turn out like that! Personally I'm more interested in turning out decent human beings who are friendly, pleasant and can make eye contact with adults than arrogant little sods, or kids with steller exam results and no social graces but as my kids are not very academic to put it kindly it's probably just as well grin. If home and school are both singing from the same hymn sheet it makes life so much easier.

cory Mon 21-Sep-09 07:44:33

we had little choice in the matter as dd has to have a wheelchair adapted school and can't travel far

but I was very pleased that the school that could offer this was also the school which has good discipline, a pleasant atmosphere and a positive attitude towards learning

small wasn't important - an 11yo is not a baby

distance might not have been that important if dd had been healthy- I would have been very happy for her to go across town on public transport

I know what everyone is saying about human beings being more important than results, but it did put me off when we went to the open evening at our local Christiand academy and the head not only seemed to assume that we were all really negative towards education, but also kept doing down traditional/formal studies himself; there was no indication that a child who might, say, want to go to university would get any support from him. It was only about the importance of the non-academic side. I know children with an academic bent have done really badly at this school, because they have felt so unsupported and unwanted. Not what I want, even for my rather un-academic ds.

MrsBartlet Mon 21-Sep-09 21:07:22

I agree with hocapontus that you get a "feel". When we went to look at the school which dd is now at it felt right. She felt comfortable and at home there. I also think it is interesting to see the way the students and teachers are with one another. We were very impressed with the rapport we saw between teachers and the sixth former who showed us around.

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