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Which primary school would you choose?

9 replies

MissisBoot · 20/11/2008 16:47

I am having second thoughts about my primary school choices for dd.

Nearest primary school has not yet been built and is due to open in September 09 when dd will be starting school. It will be about a 10 minute walk away and have new facilities etc - plenty of outdoor play facilities. However there is no network of childminders who pick up from the school (which I'd need for at least a couple of days a week) or any information what the school will offer pupils or what its ethos will be - the head is not going to be in post til after xmas and he will be recruiting his staff team then.

Second school is a 45 min walk (10 min drive) away in a different village. Its a lovely school - good ofsted - good results and when I visited the school I really wanted dd to go there - however - I'm now having second thoughts as it would mean driving to school every day which I don't really want to do.

So what would you do? Would you take a risk on sending your child to a new school?

OP posts:
saadia · 20/11/2008 16:50

I would be inclined to choose the second school as you already know it is good. Once the first one opens and you get to see what it is like you could always transefer dd there.

MissisBoot · 20/11/2008 19:55

Yes that's true - I never thought about transfering as an option.

OP posts:
MissKubelik · 20/11/2008 20:10

I would go with the new school. 10 minutes walk is way preferable to 10 minutes drive.

If it's a new school with new facilities and keen new headteacher and team of staff, it's unlikely to be a terrible school. It would be quite an exciting experience I would have thought. Surely local childminders will start offering school pick-ups nearer the time it opens?

needmorecoffee · 20/11/2008 20:12

I'd choose the walkeable one. What if your car breaks or petrol goes up to 10 pounds a litre?

sarararararah · 20/11/2008 20:22

Having just been part of a team that has opened a brand new school I would go with the new school. The resources and facilities will be out of this world! Also the LEA will be really keen to make it a successful school as it will be a flagship school and so need it to be amazing. If it's anything like our place they will also appoint an experienced head as setting up a new school is an absolutely mammoth task.I know this is only from my experience and it might not be a transferable one but speaking as a staff member the chance to establish a new school with all staff starting from scratch, establishing ethos etc has been amazing and, I like to think, amazing for the children too.

MissisBoot · 20/11/2008 21:07

I think one of the things that is hampering my decision is that there is quite literally no information coming out of County about what the school ethos will be, how they aim to increase school numbers etc so I feel that I am making an uninformed decision.

sararararah - how long did it take your school to 'settle down'?

OP posts:
sarararararah · 21/11/2008 19:28

Well, we opened with just 3 classes - 2 x reception classes and 1 mixed y1/2 class. We now have two more YR classes and the others have obviously moved up and we will continue in this way so won't actually be full until 2014!!! So things won't truly settle down until then.

Although, I would say we, as a staff, feel much more settled this year than last as the whole year last year we had to take decisions for the first time. I.e. there were no precedents for things like summer fete, christmas dinner etc. However, I would like to think that the children and parents didn't notice things like that and felt "settled down" much sooner than that!

The other thing I didn't say in my last post, largely because it does sound rather like I'm blowing my own trumpet(!) is that there should also be only really fab, experienced teachers working in a new school. This is because most teachers are really interested and excited by the prospect of setting up a brand new school from scratch so absolutely loads apply. (To give you a feel 115 teachers applied for the three teaching posts at our school.)


MissisBoot · 21/11/2008 20:05

Thanks - thats great.

This school is going to have an intake of 45 for reception and then an intake of 10 for years 1-6. Although I imagine they may well not receive any for years 4/5/6 as I can't imagine many parents wanting to move a settled child that far into a school.

How have you found teaching a mixed year 1/2 class?

One of my concerns is that they won't get enough pupils at reception and then dd would be taught in mixed classes throughout her primary career.

OP posts:
sarararararah · 22/11/2008 09:54

Well, if our experience is anything to go by you will definitely have enough pupils in Reception. We have an intake of 45 too and we are hugely oversubscribed!

Although, if your intake is 45 I think you will probably find that she will be in mixed age classes at some point anyway. 45 means one class of 23 and one of 22 (obviously!) but that is unlikely to be sustainable throughout the rest of the school because of funding for teachers. When we are full reception will stay as we are then we will either have 1 class of 30 Y1s, 1 of mixed Y1/Y2 (15 of each) and 1 class of 30 Y2s - or we will mix them all up and have 3 x Y1/Y2 classes. Does that make sense?! Can't quite work out how they will organise it if you have 10 children in the other Yr groups though so it may not be the same for you.

However, in answer to your question, I really like teaching mixed age classes and it works out absolutely fine. The older ones have a sense of responsibility and tend to look after the younger ones and the younger ones look up to the older ones so you often get less behaviour issues. In terms of organising the teaching, again, it's absolutely fine, each Yr groups objectives can often be cross matched so you just extend the older ones and all teachers have to differentiate by ability even in single age classes. If you work in a thematic, cross curricular way you can also ensure that the teaching is never repeated. I LOVE teaching this way as I like a bit of a challenge and would hate to teach the same thing each year anyway!

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