choosing the primary school

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Mesmerist, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    so help me how do you go about selecting the right school for a child starting next september? Locality? Offsted? Size?
  2. Di

    Di Active Member

    At primary age, I'd say locally.
    • They're going to be at this school for 6 years, so easily accessible would be good.
    • They're going to make friends at school and they're going to want to mix and socialise after school. Going to a school in a different area would not only mean lots of extra journeys to accommodation this, but would also segregate them from the children in their own village.
    Of course, this is from a purely parental point of view. Maybe some teachers could answer from their point of view?
  3. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    I don't work in primary, but I wouldn't just go by ofsted. What ofsted often see is a well-rehearsed act/interesting use of data! I would ask for a visit and take a look around. Any school that has good quality teaching and learning going on will have no problem in this. Also ask to visit a place they don't offer to show you or else you could be shown all the best behaved classes etc. This will give you a proper idea of the ethos of the school. Other idea is to take a walk past the playground at break/lunchtime/start/end of the day. You will then see the behaviour of the children and attitude of staff. See things with your own eyes. Best of luck.
  4. brassed_off

    brassed_off Member

    Do look at the OFSTED report as a school in cause for concern or special measures is not a place you really want to put your child. There is usually an underlying problem that causes them to fail, could be management or teaching quality related. But don't go by this alone. As Sparkling says, go and look with your own eyes. I'm a teacher and you can't beat seeing the school. I love going to visit other schools. Best time is about 9.30 as the children will have just settled down and you'll see how it really works. Good luck and trust your gut feeling.
  5. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Going on OFSTED and SATS results gives a false perspective. As a secondary teacher I agree primarily with what Di said, as I have generally found that the difference between 'high achieving' primaries and 'low achieving' primaries is not how well the pupils have been educated, but how well they have been taught to the KS2 tests, which means nothing when it actually comes to qualifications a few years down the line. Obviously there are good and bad primaries but a lot more can be gained from going to your local school than the 'best' in the area in my opinion.

    Went on primary placements at local primaries to both the schools I did secondary placements at on my PGCE, in vastly different catchments, and the difference was a lot less than at the corresponding secondary schools. Much better off sending your kids to the local primary, as at both primary and secondary, parental educational keeness is as important as the school

    The only advantage of sending kids to the 'best' school in the area is that it increases their chances of being in top sets when they get to secondary school, which is a false mockery as the teachers will clearly spot the real levels of the different pupils and people who are falsely in sets above their ability will just become demotivated.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007
  6. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I would have to agree that looking at the school is the best posisble way of deciding if it's right for you and your child. It wont take long for you to work out if it feels right! I'm about to start my 3rd year teaching practice next week so went to look at my school today, it's tiny! But i've already got a good feeling about the school!

    One thing that you may want to considder is the extra curric- I'm sure the school itself will try to sell that to you, but you may want to think about what activites are available for you child, lets take for instance Music (come on people we all love it!) does the school offer any music groups etc or any other activity you think your child might be interested in.

    I know it's a long way off but you may want to consider a school thats in the catchment area of a decent secondary school?!

    Can i ask where abouts in the south west you are?
  7. Might be stating the obvious here, but take your child with you. See how the guide interacts with your child and how your child feels about the school. Again, take all factors into account.
    (This may not be relevant to you but if you have concerns over whether your child will need extra help at all, check out how this will be dealt with - especially if you mention dyslexia, look for initial reaction from the head).
  8. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I tend to agree with Di and Pythagoras here. The importance of getting into "the best" school is less of an issue when the child is so young.
    There is a presumption in this discussion that there is actually a choice to be made. If "the best" school is already fully subscribed with children from its own catchment area then the choice to go there for others does not exist. This is when people have to resort to underhand methods like registering their children from a relatives house in the catchment area or going to appeal on flimsy, cock-and-bull stories about being victims of bullying etc.
  9. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    And the appeals are almost always granted.
  10. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Can i ask where abouts in the south west you are?[/quote]

    We are hoping to move to Warsash this month in Hampshire and there are about 6 schools to choose from. Our nearest school by 0.2miles is Hook with Warsash which is very popular because of good reports then Locks Heath which is sporty and musical but large and then 4 others which I don`t really know about.

    Can I just thank everybody for your suggestions which have been most helpful (as I knew you would be!) and I will be following up your advice and visiting with child and thinking about everything that has been said.
  11. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    When I initially chose my daughter's primary school the decision was based on religion so she went to the local Catholic primary school which just happened to be a private school. It was not a deliberate "public over state" decision - it was just that there is not a Catholic state primary school within 25 miles. The school had very small classes (12 - 15 in each class) and a separate class for each age group - something that I believe is very important as i don't believe that a class which has mixed year groups is in the children's best interests.

    The small class sizes and very small school was ideal to start off with as she attended the school from Nursery (aged 2 and a bit) through to the end of Y2(age 7). The downside to the small classes was that it was quite limiting. Its hard to break off into small groups and do different activities when there are only 12 of you to start with. Also, with it being such a small school the facilities were quite limited - no playing field, no opportunity for proper science lessons or cookery, IT a bit non-exsistant, musical opportunities sparce etc. So at the end of Y2 when moving from infants to juniors she changed schools to a bigger school which she can stay at, if she passes the entrance tests and wants to, until she is 18. She is SO happy at this school and simply loves being with the older girls (its an all girls school - boys can only do A Levels at the school)

    I guess what I am saying is that your, and your child's needs may change as you/they grow so the school that you do choose now need not be the school that they stay at until they are 11. It's okay to move on if you need to.

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