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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:18 pm 
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Selecting non-grammar secondary schools appears to be an ordeal. Clearly, it is important to select at least 1 local non grammar school as a safety net if the 11+ score does'nt qualify for grammar school entry.

There are variety of factors to consider when looking at school league tables: Progress 8, Attainment score 8, Grade 5 or above in English and Maths etc.

Which factors, in your opinion, are important? Do you look at local school league tables when making school selection?

Thank you for your advice.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:12 am 
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Location: london
I would look at Progress 8 and results for my DC's cohort. So, assuming DC is in the top of the top quartile (if they are applying for grammar school) and seeing how that group fares at the school. I would consider overall %s irrelevant as I would be interested in how my DC might do there, not everyone else. However, I would place a lot more emphasis on the feel of the school, leadership, travel time and anything I could find out about how effectively they have taught during Covid than any stats. Also, remember that 7 years is a long time, so what happened to DC who joined the school 6/8 years ago may well bear little resemblance to what might happen to next year's intake.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:45 am 
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I used to work in the education department of an LA. From that I decided not to look at the stats... essentially a lot of the stats are for children completely different to the individual child. If you can narrow it down to kids like yours, then that's great, but the data become less and less statistically significant with each criterion... socioeconomic status, education level of parents, ethnicity, gender, ability of child etc etc.
The text sections of official reports can give more information about how kids are supported if they're at the brighter end, or conversely those that struggle, or kids with disabilities etc. A school which has a strong reputation for music would be great for some kids, but not so good for those who are not interested in music.
For me, it's more about the engagement of the kids with school and the individual subjects, so when choosing a primary school it was all about the engagement that the parents showed... parents who value education are more likely I think to have kids who value education and to support them and the school. For secondary you don't get to see the parents at the school gate, so it's more about the kids, but I think the same principle applies.
Also, as Mad says... ability of the child to actually get to that school. If they are exhausted every day from the travel it doesn't matter how great the school is.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:02 am 
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Do keep in mind that popular non-selective schools can be heavily oversubscribed. So unless the schools is a dead cert you may still need to add your local catchment school. Sorry if that appears patronisingly obvious but the fact you get offered a choice is often an illusion.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:10 pm 
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Location: Essex
mitasol wrote:
Do keep in mind that popular non-selective schools can be heavily oversubscribed. So unless the schools is a dead cert you may still need to add your local catchment school. Sorry if that appears patronisingly obvious but the fact you get offered a choice is often an illusion.


Which is why, of course, what one has is the right to express a preference, not make a choice. The admissions authority must comply, but not if there are legal reasons not to. So state schools must have and publish an admissions policy which complies with the relevant legislation, and must use only that to rank applicants. (I know I'm teaching Granny to suck eggs, here, mitasol, but just doing my 'public information film' bit here and highlighting one of the nuggets of wisdom that get missed by those who just go straight to the 'list schools and press Submit' bit of the admissions process :lol:).

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:26 pm 
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mitasol wrote:
Do keep in mind that popular non-selective schools can be heavily oversubscribed. So unless the schools is a dead cert you may still need to add your local catchment school. Sorry if that appears patronisingly obvious but the fact you get offered a choice is often an illusion.


Regrettably, the more I look at good localish non-grammer school websites and their admission criteria the more I realise that DS has a remote chance of successful admission to these schools. Determining factor for most is distance to school and for one of the school is faith criteria.

ahhh........


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:22 am 
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Some of the stats reveal how rigid the school are on some aspects e.g triple science or ebacc(e.g must include a language) DD’s grammar doesn’t ‘chase’ these measures and allows the girls choice, some don’t.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:43 am 
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Do you know any parents at your child's current school who have older children too? Word of mouth can be very useful. We had a different non-selective insurance choice for #2 than for #1 because of hearing how the children in #1's year who went to those schools settled in.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:15 am 
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Sorrel wrote:
Do you know any parents at your child's current school who have older children too? Word of mouth can be very useful. We had a different non-selective insurance choice for #2 than for #1 because of hearing how the children in #1's year who went to those schools settled in.


Most of the children that I know of from local area attend 1of 2 local secondary. Of these 1 unfortunately has a very bad reputation and the other is OK. Another localish secondary that we are eyeing seems a very good choice but due to schools faith admission criteria we're at the bottom of the list.

I don't have direct experience with faith schools so not sure what to expect.

Sorry bit of lazy question but what do other parents think about faith schools in terms of atmosphere in the school, is it heavily religiously oriented and are other faith children accommodated well?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:59 am 
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Location: Reading
Faith schools can be very different, so you’ll need to check for yourself.

My DD went to a CoE primary and whilst they had assemblies in the church next door once a week and stuff, there were plenty of children of others faiths/religions and those of none, and these were recognised. The population in Reading is very diverse and the school reflected that. I don’t think any parents kept their children out of assemblies Etc. Otherwise why choose that school? There were others to pick from. DD had no issues when stating on some work that she didn’t believe in God. This was simply accepted. (Tbh if the school hadn’t been like this, I would have sent her elsewhere)

On the other hand my sister had no choice of primary school, living in a very rural area. The nearest primary is in the next village, the next nearest is even further anyway with no transport available. Both church schools and considerably less diverse too. DN was sometimes put upon to engage with prayers etc despite having no religion and some of the teachers wouldn’t even teach the theory of evolution and didn’t like DN bringing it up. (My sister is a science teacher so DN knew about this stuff) Obviously they are not allowed to teach creationism, but very much implied it. DN was discouraged from questioning it.


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