My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

Gut Feelings V Other Parents Opinions. Please Help!!!

24 replies

walkingprimrose · 11/12/2008 00:50


OK, I've got one more day to choose a primary school...

What should I take more notice of:

*My feelings when visiting the school? (Negative, felt really quite tense - visited 3 times in total, even sat in on a lesson).


*Other parents opinions and experiences of the school? (Very positive, the only odd little negatives were small probs in the beginning with children settling in etc).

I don't know which I should take more notice of. This school would be the easiest / most sensible school for her to go to for ease of travel and many other factors, and particularly the secondary school after it being the best on the county. But my feelings.... Oh what to do!!!

One more thing, to any teachers out there - the lesson I sat in on was numeracy time in reception class in November, so the children had only been there for 2 months (september only intake). The children were doing 'number sentences' in circle on the floor, creating sums with large wooden numbers etc) However, these sums would be upside to half the circle, and the then the teacher would place the next 'number sentence' down the other way up, but then it was upside down to the other half of the circle... hope I'm making sense here.... Is this a poor method? (I thought it was v confusing for the children and they kept putting the numbers down the wrong way round / upside down because of this). Then, after this exercise the children were split into 4 groups to do different numeracy activities, but the teacher stayed with just one group. The was no teaching assistant in this class of 30, and although the children were v. well behaved the teacher never left her littel group to check on the other groups. From where I was sitting I could seethat 2 children using a computer were doing nothing, just playing about. Is this type of thing normal? Is it bad? Is it unusual for a reception class 2 months into the year?

All wisdom gratefully recieved.

OP posts:
JacksFirstChristmasMama · 11/12/2008 02:23

Bumping for you.
But I'd go with my gut, I think...

saadia · 11/12/2008 07:16

That lesson doesn't sound right to me, but I'm not sure if you can judge the whole school, or even that particular teacher, on one single lesson. Gut feeling would however be a big thing for me.

Can you pinpoint what made you feel tense? I visited lots of schools when ds1 was about to start and I felt that one school in particular was too quiet, and very cold and joyless. If you have been there three times then I would definitely go with gut instinct. First Schools should have a quiet buzz, with enthusiastic and relaxed children IMO.

Raalix · 11/12/2008 07:27

All schools have their positive and negative points. I worked in a school where the parents praised the school no end, but I hated it. The staff were mostly unfriendly, antisocial backstabbers and the head thought she was the next Hitler!

I think you have to go with your gut feeling. At the end of the day you must feel happy with your choice of school.

As for the lesson you saw - they should not have been sitting in a circle for maths. A horseshoe would have been more appropriate so that everyone could read the number sentences properly! When the class split into groups, the teacher most likely stayed with the group that needed the most teacher-input. As long as she could clearly see the rest of the class, it would not have been necessary to go round and check. Although - having said that, it wouldn't have been a bad idea to do at least one circuit of the room to make sure everyone was on task!

cory · 11/12/2008 09:30

Though the views of other parents can be helpful I wouldn't make a decision on that alone.

There will always be parents who insist that whatever choice they have made is perfect. And others who complain about everything.

Met up with a friend yesterday whose dcs attend the same school as my dd. You wouldn't believe it was the same school we were talking about. My friend had all sorts of complaints, whereas I was bubbling over with enthusiasm. I'd be sorry for any parent that had to make their minds up on our recommendations.

But thinking it over, I remembered that we have been on opposite sides of the fence every since Infants, well possibly even as far back as playschool. One of her children always seems to be dissatisfied with one of their teachers, or she thinks the style of teaching isn't right for that child, or whatever.

I tend to listen rather inattentively to dd's moans about unfair teachers.

So it's obviously more about our personalities than about the school.

walkingprimrose · 11/12/2008 18:01

Bump of Desperation!!!

Thanks for all your views so far.

What about this for another way to view my dilemma...

Do I pick school:

A) Tense feeling about it, but if choosen is the main feeder for the very best secondary in the county. And everyone else seems to think its good.


B) Lovely feeling about school but the follow on secondary is not so good at all. Parent v enthusiatic about it too.

How cruel is it to send an 11year old to a school none of her friends are going to??

OP posts:
cory · 11/12/2008 18:02

Not terribly cruel, I don't think. At this age, they are quite likely to be growing away from old friends anyway.

PortAndStilton · 11/12/2008 18:04

I'd go with school B.

savoycabbage · 11/12/2008 18:12

I took my dd out of a nursery that was a part of the 'best' school in the area. The other parents thought I was off my rocker but I knew that it wasn't as good as they thought it was.

Would going to the tense school actually help her get in to the Secondary or would it just mean that she would be going with lots of people she knew?

I would go with my feelings rather than what other people thought. The parents at my dd's nursery were all sending their children there on the reputation that the school used to have rather than how it now. Also, It is a LONG time until she goes to secondary school! Anything might happen by then. The Secondary might go down the tubes before then, you just don't know. Or you might move.

Doodle2U · 11/12/2008 18:14

Were the children that you observed happy?

UnfortunatelyMe · 11/12/2008 18:57

Do they still do feeder schools? I thought it was as the crow flies, or if you go to church etc
I would go with gut.

walkingprimrose · 11/12/2008 19:47

savoycabbage - yes i know, you're right about the secondary, its just that it does have and has had such a great rep for many years. It's been top of the league table for value added scores, GCSE & Alevel for the whole county for a long time.... But yes, I know things might change. They might even ban faith schools.

doodle2U - yes I think the children seemed happy really. And I only saw one lesson... And everyone says their child likes it.

unfortuantelyme - yes you're right it isn't theroretically a feeder school - the main criteria for getting into the catholic high school is that the child is baptised catholic. What I meant by feeder school really was that more or less all the children at a catholic primary go there, as well as children from other catholic schools in other areas. It would mean my dd would be going up with all the children she knows, as opposed to being only one of the entire year that goes to the catholic high school if she went to the other primary.

Thanks everyone. I feel such a fool for dithering like this and asking for opinions. I wish I just KNEW what was right for my dd like evryone else I know seems to. In fact I don't know anyone who's even debated between schools, they just know which one they want.

By this time tomorrow I will some how have made the choice

OP posts:
AMIStletoekiss · 11/12/2008 20:32

I would go with gut feeling - you can't predict what will happen in 7 years time, but if you feel the other school will suit your child better for now then that is the most important thing.

goblinvalley · 11/12/2008 20:47

Ah, but you do know which school you prefer, you are just a bit afraid of going against the grain

We too, choose the 'gut' feeling school over an 'amazing, fantastic, etc' primary school and we are absolutely certain that it was the right choice.

He trots off into school happily every day and can't wait to go back after the weekend - and is still managing to learn to read and write

Choose the school you like - if it turns out not to be the right one, you can always change.

good luck

MollieO · 11/12/2008 22:11

Gut feeling every time. You have to be happy about the school. As others have said you can't predict what will happen in 7 years and if you choose a school you don't like 7 years will seem like eternity.

walkingprimrose · 11/12/2008 22:39

Yes, I am going to go with my gut feeling. Thanks everyone. We are not in the normal area for the school we like so we may not even get in. If we don't, the catholic school will be our second choice and we should get in there anyway.Then it will be as though it's meant to be. Fate. or something.

OP posts:
walkingprimrose · 11/12/2008 23:26

Well, I thought I was going to go with my gut feeling but now I've just spoken to my sister on the phone. She's a single parent with a ds who's year younger than my dd. She'd never get him into a decent school apart from the Catholic school because of where she lives and she hasn't a hope of moving. I can hear how devastated she is that I'm going for another school, although she's not saying directly. I know she really wanted our children to be at the same school so that they could look out for each other and we could share pick ups etc when necessary. I feel so bad, but I can't make the choice over this surely???

OP posts:
Jux · 12/12/2008 00:03

Go with your gut. At dd's old school, for the short time she was in y1 she was utterly miserable as her teacher was a right bitch. The mum of dd's best friend, loved this teacher - thought the sun shone out of her arse, and the child loved this teacher too!

What's right for one person's child isn't necessarily right for somebody else's; likewise, one child of yours might be really happy in one school, while another one of yours could be utterly miserable.

PlonkerTeatowelOnTheirHeads · 12/12/2008 00:08

Hmmm toughie

I'm a huuuuuuuuge believer in gut instinct and ordinarily would definitely go with that, however, I have to say that the secondary school thing would be a big consideration too ...

Helpful aren't I? lol. Good luck.

walkingprimrose · 12/12/2008 00:29

Thanks all. Time for bed for me. I'll delay sumbitting the application til tomorrow. maybe I'll have some sort of epiphany during the night.

OP posts:
anniemac · 12/12/2008 11:44

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

walkingprimrose · 12/12/2008 12:32

After a sleepless night I have concluded that the reason I didn't have such a good feeling about the catholic school was because of the building - an old victorian place in an urban area, whereas the other school with the good feeling is brand new in amoungst fields an trees etc. The catholic one had an good ofted just this october too, whereas the other one had a satisfactory one with many improvements outlined.

I am a fool to be swayed by the building aren't I???!!!!

Help 2 hours 58 minutes to go before I have to sumbit this application on line !!

OP posts:
walkingprimrose · 12/12/2008 12:32

After a sleepless night I have concluded that the reason I didn't have such a good feeling about the catholic school was because of the building - an old victorian place in an urban area, whereas the other school with the good feeling is brand new in amoungst fields an trees etc. The catholic one had an good ofted just this october too, whereas the other one had a satisfactory one with many improvements outlined.

I am a fool to be swayed by the building aren't I???!!!!

Help 2 hours 58 minutes to go before I have to sumbit this application on line !!

OP posts:
anniemac · 12/12/2008 12:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

savoycabbage · 12/12/2008 12:41

I think Goblin is right when she says that you are worried about going against the grain.

The school my dd started at in September had a bad reputation in our area. It even went into special measures. They got a new head and she had turned it around totally. I loved it when I looked at it. I nearly caved in and sent her to the other school that everyone else thought was great. I am so glad that I didn't now. Especially when I am at swimming and I hear the parents of the other children bitching about that other school .

You know which one you have to choose. If you were happy about the other school you would have done your application by now.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.