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What were the deciding factors in choosing a school.
League table results 24%  24%  [ 10 ]
Entry requirements 2%  2%  [ 1 ]
Atmosphere 54%  54%  [ 22 ]
Area - travelling 20%  20%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 41
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:09 am
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There has been a lot of talk lately on this section about super-selective schools, and it got me thinking.

What do people look at when they choose a school? I thought I would run a poll to get some answers.

This isn't to discuss rights and wrongs or peoples attitudes, as I would like people to be honest and not feel that they will be criticised for it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:52 pm 
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Hmm, that's a bit tricky because actually I'd say it was a combination of all of them :D . And also from talking to friends whose children are at various schools to get insight on the things you can't actually see when you view.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:43 pm
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Location: Twells
When choosing the schools for my children, I didn't look at the league tables at all, I chose them on how we felt when we went to see them and how my children reacted to them, that is, their mood and feedback following the visit. I can't put my finger on why they felt right I think its just a gut reaction as to where your child will fit in best. I doubt that its foolproof but it has worked for me so far (touching wood as I type because I have still one to go!). Both my older children are really happy at their respective secondary schools! :D :D

(I don't really trust ofsted reports either as I know from working in a school and from friends who work in secondary schools that they can be a snapshot of what the school wanted the inspectors to see!)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:22 pm 
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Location: East Kent
we went by feel after visiting the schools ( in the days when we had to decide before we got kent test results)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Sunny Tunny
I am choosing a secondary school for the first time this year for next year.
A few months ago, I felt it was all about OFSTED reports and league tables. Now, having viewed the schools with my daughter, I realise that, for us, it is about atmosphere and where she will be happy and thrive.
I am realising that a child will learn where they are happy, which will not neccesarily be the school with the best exam results !!!

In March, I will have to appeal to a GS and a Comp, I think she will do well at the GS but will be happier in a Comp....at the moment, I am going down the comp road, but it is a very long one.....


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Location: Bexley
Never league table results or ofsted reports - though I know people who do base their decisions on these. My main criteria are:

Feel/atmosphere/ethos
What other parents say
Travel


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:15 pm
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Location: Kent
One of the biggest factors for us were the current pupils and what they had to say about the school. Observing the pupils and how they interacted with each other and the teachers. Talking to the teachers to get a feel for whether we would like our children to be taught by them and whether they were passionate about their subjects. Looking through pupils books to see how they are marked and what feed back was given. The school's approach to the curriculum and the various ways it would be delivered. How the school managed the more able and the less able children in both academic and sport related subjects.

It was important that the children would be challanged to reach their full potential but not pushed to the extent that they would be unhappy or become disenchanted with learning.

We looked at individual school exam results but not league tables, we also read/skimmed ofsted reports.

Living in a town we are fortunate that all the schools we are interested in are within 4 miles so travel was not a deciding factor.

Tying to pick a school is one of the hardest things we have ever had to do and I feel for all those going through it and who have yet to go through it.


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 Post subject: Comparing schools
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:09 am
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Here are my priorities -

Talking to current students of the school (dd's friends) - looking for children who are happy to go to school, have made solid friendships, feel respect for their teachers and loyal towards their school.

Travel - dd must be able to get there easily by herself, remembering that we are planning for the next 7 years not just the next couple.

The work must be suitably challenging - I looked at league tables, listened to Head's talks and looked at work on open evenings to gauge this.

I am looking for schools where the children are allowed to be kids rather than made to grow up too quickly, and where they are treated as valued individuals - it's a bit hard to judge this though, so really only guessing.

I have found visiting schools is interesting, but think it is sometimes unreliable as I have got different experiences at the same school on different occasions - so I use Ofsted reports to corroborate my gut feelings.

I have been guilty of forming negative feelings about a school without visiting it. I am going to resolve this by going to see the school with an open mind.

I think it is important to make up your own mind, (listening of course to dd's opinions) and not use any one source of information on its own to form your decisions (especially if that one source is playground gossip!).

Best of luck to you all and I hope you get your first choices in March!


Last edited by a lurker no more on Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:35 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:09 am
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Thank you everyone, it pretty much goes along with what I thought.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:05 pm
Posts: 515
Where is the did not have any choice option.


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