When Emmy first started school I asked around local friends for advice on the local Pre-Schools. We went to look around the one we’d heard the best reports of and which happened to be within walking distance. We really liked it so put her name down without looking at the others. Our decision was easy – I had to walk her to school so it needed to be within walking distance, which narrowed down the selection as I didn’t like the one in the next road to us. I then began to think about her primary school.
Again, I asked around local parents for their advice on which was the best of the two local school’s and it was unanimous, that helped our decision. Emmy went to the Pre-school we had looked at which was then a feeder to the primary school everyone recommended. We only looked at the one primary school – all her friends from pre-school were going there, they all went to the same pre-school and it was rather an easy decision.
In hindsight, I do wish we had looked at other schools, it most likely wouldn’t have changed our decision in the slightest but we hardly made an informed choice.
A brand new website schoolreviewer.co.uk has launched and is set to help empower parents with the knowledge that they are doing all they can to ensure their child’s educational journey is as happy, fulfilling and rewarding as they can make it. This new site is the only one of its kind in the UK which not only gives parents the invaluable stats and knowledge about every UK school at all levels, but also helps to show parents which catchment areas their homes fall into.
When it was time to sent Emmy to school, I found the whole process lacked advice and help, I was sent a letter saying she could attend pre-school sessions (at the time she was entitled to free funding) and that was about it. I called the local pre-school to ask their availability and we attended a parents meeting and signed her up that evening. When it came time to choose her primary school it was almost assumed she would go to the attached school, we just had to sign the form for Nursery and chose her days. It was the same with Harry, he went to the same pre-school as it was what we knew. He, by the knew the building and the teachers and was comfortable there, he then went to the same Nursery Emmy had attended – this is attached to Emmy’s primary school.
We’ve been lucky in that the kids have loved these settings and are thriving but it could have been different.
There have been issues in the school however, in that the Junior school was separate and under a different head teacher, sadly over the past few years it was failing and the Ofstead reports not great (requires improvement), last year the Infants and Juniors merged into one school and we now have a new Head Teacher starting next January. I am hoping that by the time Emmy moves to Juniors (year 3) next September it will have improved and she will continue to thrive.
Of course, this isn’t something I had thought about, nor had I looked into and I do wish I had thought that far ahead and at the very least looked at Ofstead reports for the school as a whole.
School Reviewer, through forums allows parents to talk to other parents as both individual schools or nationally. The site also has walk through question by question downloadable videos for GCSE maths, SATS and 11+ papers.
It also has a section for parents to sell outgrown and no longer needed school items, from school uniform to school books etc. This is a free of charge service, so you’ll have no fees to pay but is a great way of connecting you with the parents who will be looking for these items.
You’ll also be able to find tutors on this website should you be looking to hire one locally for your child.
I have been having a look at this site over the past few weeks and I wish it were available to me when I first needed help looking into schools for the children, it won’t be enough to make me change their schools – as we are in the middle of 2 catchment schools and both Juniors have the Ofstead report grade of ‘Needs Improvement’ but it will be something I will use to sell on the kids outgrown school uniform and will be taking a closer look at when it comes time to choose secondary schools in a few years time. When it comes to that time in the children’s lives I will definitely be looking closely at the different school and visiting them all with an open mind.
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