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I wanted to at least meet the headteacher of the school when looking around. AIBU?

39 replies

schoooools · 06/11/2008 11:00

I have just looked at a primary school for DD. She is due to start next September in YR. However we were shown around by the admin officer which immediately put me off tbh. I think the Head should make the effort to show you around, this was the case in other schools I've seen and seems to be the norm from asking around. This is our local school so would be much easier to send her there but gut feeling says no atm!

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mishymoo · 06/11/2008 11:01

I agree, the Head should show you around. Why don't you ring the school and ask for a 1 to 1 with the Head? They shouldn't refuse!

ramonaquimby · 06/11/2008 11:18

schools usually have open days for this - when you made your appt did you ask if it was going to be the head? they are pretty busy normally and need advance warning for these things

schoooools · 06/11/2008 11:29

I didn't phone this school for an appointment as they seem to be doing a series of open days instead. I naively thought the Head would be around, either to give a tour of the school or to talk to at the beginning or end but no sign of him. Have just phoned up and asked if the Head will be present at the next open day and the answer was 'probably'. Not overly positive imo! Do I trawl along in the hope he's there. Also, I only have a couple of questions to ask him and don't need a further tour really. Would just have rather had the original tour with him in the first place so that I could hear him talk about the school and interact with the children/staff he met along the way.

Am I just being awkward??

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nolongeraworriedmummyfied · 06/11/2008 11:35

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pooka · 06/11/2008 11:39

Golly - there is NO chance that I would have been able to chat to the heads of the schools we looked at, nor that the head would have conducted the tour.

I would imagine that on each occasion (2 schools in day time, 1 in evening), there were at least 200 parents there on average, but even more at the most popular school.

RustyBear · 06/11/2008 11:41

I would guess that our head is either out or in meetings about 70% of her time, so I don't think you should count on them being available at any time - if you wanted to ensure you see the head, just ask when making the appointment if the head will be available.

As for the open days, I'd guess the head would be intending to be there, but you can never be sure that something won't come up.

schoooools · 06/11/2008 11:48

pooka- these open days are only prospective parent ones for sept 2009 yr entrants. There was only one other couple looking on the day we went. It is not a big school, 1 form entry 7 classes total.

I totally understand that things crop up in schools all the time and of course the Head must deal with that first. I hope he wasn't on a course on the same day as his open day tbh. I don't think that is on!

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ramonaquimby · 06/11/2008 11:50

I don't think you're being awkward but they aren't really at the beck and call of prospective parents either. I frequently show prospective parents around the school I work at (am not head but manager) and if they specifically want to see the head (questions etc ) they book an appointment for that. hope it all works out. I wouldn't judge the school by your experience though

FimboGotAxed · 06/11/2008 11:52

The head is always round at my dd's school. He was even there for the pta car boot sale. He showed me to the staff toilets!

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks · 06/11/2008 11:58

I think maybe a bit unreasonable. I guess if he spent all his/her time showing prospective parents' around then they'd never get any work/teaching done.

Is it normal to look round primary schools before going? I've never heard of anyone doing this. Maybe 'cos I live in a village and everyone just goes to the village school.

sandyballs · 06/11/2008 14:41

He should have been there. Our Head is always at any event like this. It would also put me off.

Elibean · 06/11/2008 15:12

We looked around three schools, one private and two state. The private one was an organized tour by the admin manager, with the Head making an appearance and speech at the end; one state one (approx 500 kids) was the head, in a huge rush, with him whizzing off and leaving us to his secretary at the end. The other state one (dd's eventual school) we had an appointment with the head, who showed us round and chatted for an hour in was lovely: admittedly its the smallest school with 200 pupils and a reputation for friendliness/good pastoral care.

I do think its fairly normal not to get the Head without an appointment, at least around here - but I also think its a good idea to trust your gut feeling! I'm glad I did.

schoooools · 06/11/2008 19:52

stripeyknickers- I appreciate that showing parents round uses up valuable time but I'm afraid I think it's a key role for a Head at this time of year. They have to sell their school a bit imo and do a bit of PR. At the other 2 schools we've seen, we've had to fit in with a time that suits the Head and been shown round in a group with other parents but this is absolutely fine with me, these schools haven't wanted us to look around unless the Head is there to show us. Also whoever shows you around loses time working whether it's admin officer or Head but that's life!

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lalalonglegs · 06/11/2008 20:49

We are at a school where the headteacher didn't show us round at the open day or give a talk. She also ducked out of doing anything at the introduction day and didn't make it to the governors' meeting either. Needless to say the school is rubbish.

I think schools live or die by their heads and you should be worried about this one. It isn't in south London is it?

Scarletibis · 06/11/2008 20:52

No I don't think you're being awkward - head should be there at least to do a talk/ be available to answer questions. Definitely an important part of his/her job.

We looked at one school where the head didn't put in an appearance and instead the (rather uninformed, patronising) PTA showed us round instead - which put me off.

squeakypop · 06/11/2008 20:54

Was the head in?

schoooools · 06/11/2008 21:07

No not South London, we're in Warwickshire. Don't know if the Head was in, I should have asked but was kind of taken aback about him not doing the tour to start with. The admin officer did go to get the deputy head to answer a question that she couldn't answer but I felt a bit like I was hassling her by dragging her away from her office tbh. By this I kinda assumed the Head wasn't around.

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schoooools · 06/11/2008 21:10

But this is our local school and don't want to send dd to an out of catchment school unless I have to. Also worried about dd's friendships etc and not having local friends, even though the out of catchment school is only just over a mile away.

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lalalonglegs · 06/11/2008 21:22

Yes, that was our thinking too (she didn't actually get into a local school at first so we were relieved when a place at this one came up despite misgivings). Now we are wondering whether we made the right choice. If there is only a mile in it, I would definitely think about sending her to another school if the head does appear to be uninterested lazy detached. We are on the waiting list at our first choice school and have fingers crossed that she will get there in next 18 months or so.

LadyGlencoraPalliser · 06/11/2008 21:27

Your school isn't in Tooting by any chance Lala?
The school DD1 went to first was like this. I should have realised it was not a good sign. When we moved to where we lived now the head took the time to show us round personally. It is a big school (two-form entry and a nursery class) and he is phenomenally busy but when he walked us round it was clear he knows all the 450-odd pupils by name. That told us a lot.

schoooools · 06/11/2008 21:29

It's tricky isn't it! I almost wish I was in Stripeyknickers position where there is ONLY one school which you just go to by default. It's definitely the norm to view at least 2 schools before deciding in these parts. I hope you get a place at the school soon lala

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lalalonglegs · 06/11/2008 21:39

No, not Tooting - a couple of stops further up the Northern Line. All the other open days we went to the headteacher stood up and gave us a talk about their schools and laid out what they expected and the bar they had set. She mooched in the staff room pretending to be invisible. Our one hope is that she seems quite old and may retire soon (if not, I will usher her to an early grave ).

LadyGlencoraPalliser · 06/11/2008 21:42

Must be a few of them around then Lala. Your description reminded me very strongly of DD's old school - began with an F.

lalalonglegs · 06/11/2008 21:52

Very similar school in many ways - large, shabby Victorian building that has air of neglect and with good Catholic school nearby which everyone who can tries to get in to. Added problem here is that there are lots of private schools that anyone which also skews intake.

lalalonglegs · 06/11/2008 21:53

Actually, just thought there are two schools beginning with F in Tooting; I was thinking of T Bec.

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