How do you choose a school?

I wrote back in July  about some of the issues surrounding choosing a primary school and should I even get involved in it or just go with the nearest school.

After some further investigation I found out that at least one other school nearby (but not our catchment school) has places.  So on Friday I went to visit that school to see if it was ‘the one’

When I was looking at potential nurseries I found it easy to compile a list of questions, but I realised this was completely different.  People shared that it is usually just down to a feeling when you walk in of knowing it is right.

When I arrived on Friday I was shown around by the deputy head and we chatted as we went around.  There were a few things that really surprised me when seeing the classrooms for the different ages.  All of them had these amazing interactive whiteboards, and not a blackboard and piece of chalk in sight.  I hadn’t really though before I went but I don’t think I have been in a classroom environment since I was at school (lots of years ago *ahem*)

My next shock was that the reception classes were organised chaos, children were playing and having fun, mixing between indoors and outside at their choice.  There was stuff on the floor, obviously the sitting at desks in rows is long gone (I am not THAT old, honest)

The deputy head explained that it is really just play and getting used to the school environment for the first year, it didn’t seem that much different from pre-school, but just more children in uniforms I guess.

I asked what they would like children to be able to do when they start – and the reply was not what I was expecting, it was a simple

  • be able to put on their coats
  • be able to put on their own shoes
  • take themselves to the toilet
  • use a knife and fork

No mention of writing or phonics, which I have heard before but also read so much about how many children fail to start school being able to write their own name that you (I) worry.

So I think I liked the school, but the truth is I have no bloody idea if I did or not as it was O.K, nice, lovely, suitable – nope I have no idea!

I am going to see the catchment school this week so I guess I will be able to compare, it is in a different type of area so it will be interesting to see if there is any difference.

One thing I do plan to do is make a list of things to do before school so I don’t get to August and go into meltdown.  I saw a post by Pippa D where she listed things she wanted to do with her son before he starting school next year, I think it is a great idea and a mixture of practical and fun.

So at the top of our list will be the coat putting on thing I think…anyone got any tips on this and also how do you teach them to take a t shirt off, I am baffled by that one too?

What would be on your list?


  1. 14 November , 2011 / 9:55 pm

    I’ve been looking at schools 3 so far. All very different – 2 we have not a chance of getting into, 1 that is touch and go.
    The advice given to me by the Dep Head at one was see a few and get a feel for them.
    You don’t have to apply to your catchment school but depending on the popularity and local birth rate you may be able to get into another school.
    I’m being led by my son in terms of his interest in reading and writing, at the moment he has some interest in writing prompted by nursery, I’m being positive but not pushing.
    Nationally boys don’t do as well as girls at school – ask the school what they do to address the under achievement of boys, or to encourage boys. What are their strategies for engaging boys.
    Good luck. X

    • 2 Stars and a Swirl
      16 November , 2011 / 2:50 pm

      Good point – I will ask that this week, thanks for that 🙂

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