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questions to ask when visiting schools

11 replies

MPearl · 28/06/2007 09:26

I would like to start visiting primary schools in my area to help me decide which to apply for...any suggestions for what questions I should ask about the school??

OP posts:
FluffyMummy123 · 28/06/2007 09:37

Message withdrawn

BibiThree · 28/06/2007 09:43

Ask them can you see their last Ofsted report (you can look it up online too)

Ask them their lunch policy - we've just found out dd can't take packed lunch at first, it's school dinners or home for lunch. Not all that pleased about that myself as she's veggie as the veggie options tend to be poor and very carbohydrate based.

Agree with cod on the split/mixed classes and healthy school initiatives etc.

FluffyMummy123 · 28/06/2007 09:44

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Hulababy · 28/06/2007 09:45

Cod has put lots of good pointers there.

And you know what else you need to do - go with gut instinct. Which school just feels right for you, when you go round which school makes ou think "yes, I like this for my child".

I went with gut instinct for DD's two nurseries and her school. And so far it has worked each time.

FluffyMummy123 · 28/06/2007 09:46

Message withdrawn

newlifenewname · 28/06/2007 09:49

How do they deal with behaviour issues
What extra curricular activities do they offer

If you are keen on arts/sports subjects, check whether written info provides more than two lines for this subject - if it doesn't they probably don't rate it.

Ask them what themes they are working on this term, next term, etc. Are they creative or yawnsome?

What links do they have within the local community.

Ask questions that provide evidence of the things they use as markers of their excellence. It's all very well having 10 computers per class and an interactive whiteboard but how well and how often do they make use of these things.

Especially ask about the use of technology and the internet - what is their policy on internet use. Some schools don't allow free research when they could do with good safety precautions. Others don't have proper safety policies for safe surfing in place.

Watch how teachers deal with children when not aware of being observed. How do staff talk to one another. How does the Head interact with children she meets on your visit.

Does the head teach a class.

FluffyMummy123 · 28/06/2007 09:50

Message withdrawn

newlifenewname · 28/06/2007 09:51

Or he re. headteacher

Hulababy · 28/06/2007 09:53

Also see how the teachers interact with your child if you take him/her wth you. We did talk DD to each school and it was an eye opener TBH. One, supposedly very good school, completely blanked DD which I found shocking considering it was her who would be going, not me. I preferred the schools where DD was included, teachers getting down to her level and addressing her and asking her questions as well as us.

katelyle · 28/06/2007 09:59

What does it feel like?

Is there a happy purposeful buzz about the place?
Look at the displays. Are they up to date?

We were shown round by the head teacher, and were impressed byt he way children kept coming up to him, eager to show him their work (but don't rely too much on liking the Head - he/she could have moved on to another school byt eh time you get there!

Do the children look happy? Are they busy or does there seem to be a lot of hanging around.

Ask about discipline policy, PE, music - all the non-National Curriculum stuff. But I thinkl it's mostly instinct - the "happy purposeful buzz" Complete silence is a worrying as rioting IMHO

katelyle · 28/06/2007 10:00

Oh, and (this was important for me) how much outside time they get.

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