Secondary school open days...?

Anyone going to school open days at the moment? Our eldest daughter starts in two years, although the decision has to be made in just over a year...

We recently looked around the local comp (technology specialist), and though the general 'fabric' was slightly tired, I was actually quite impressed with the staff, including the HeadT, and minor things like - all pupils are required to wear blazer and tie. So was quite surprised really. Our daughter said she liked it.

I suppose one of the main things that bothers me is the 'disruptive' element, and how schools deal with this... my impression is that in the state sector there is less that can be done.

About 5 (state) schools to go. At any rate Ind schools around here are about £7.5K - 10K basic fee minimum pa., so doing the maths for two children ~ ~£17.5-25K pa...xx(



Started young, and still going.
School open days are normally a bit of a scrum and are well put together in respect of almost being choreographed. To find out what a school is really like make an appointment to see the head during school time for a tour around the school. This way you can guage how well behaved the pupils are and how much in control the staff are.

rich p

ridiculous old lush
You must have more influence than me ,Andy.

We did the rounds of the local schools and then my kids told me which one they were going to go to anyway!

It all worked out in the end though.

slow down

New Member
Going through it at the moment - suspect it will all be waste of time and the local council will make the decision regardless of my choice(s).


Its a difficult and worrying time,We were lucky enough to know which school we wanted our son to go too.Open day was good,but run like a military operation,hearding us all round to places for specific times.The biggest worry was the council making the decision we didnt want,ie a different school.We had to put three choices on the letter,the idea being,if our first choice was unavailable,they go to the second.There was no other school we wanted for him,so we put the same school three times.It didnt always work though,some still didnt get it.The disruptive element is always going to rear its ugly head ,but because of it being so public,all schools have something in place to help deal with this,and the schools all have their own ways,but i think its something that we cant always get away from nowadays,mores the pity.
Good luck with your hunt,i hope you get where you want.

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Kirton, Devon.
Hi Andy
We've pretty much sorted our children school-wise now They are all following eldest child and I have to say it's not an easy decision. I/we would be happy to have a chat (over a beer xx() regarding our views/experiences of local schools.

Regarding the disruptive element, schools that stream early can be a benefit, top groups tend to be less disruptive but you have to hope that your children get into those top groups. Secondly, try and find as much "anecdotal" evidence as you can...but treat it as such. Finally, I think you have to talk to the Heads and teachers about their discipline policy.
It also helps to have a tour outside of the "Open Day" season and you can always observe the general behaviour of the pupils from outside as well.

As you are probably aware, the local schools are in a state of positive change which is good, but also widen your net to look out-of-catchment, there are still possibilities depending on the population fluctuations each year.

Cheers, FF.


nothing in moderation
ofsted mate, read the reports and make a decision.
that said, we're going through the same. interesting scenario as there are 3 schools, ranked excellent, good and satisfactory by ofsted. the good one and satisfactory one have been visited, with the good one preferred by us and jr, in spite of the other school having a new state-of-the-art building. has at least put mind at rest that the satisfactory school is still a good bet (behaviour has apparently improved with the move to the new, renamed school.)
will be visiting the excellent one next month.
also worth checking the schools' admission criteria. some have catchment areas, some feeder schools or a mixture of the two. and where i am (macclesfield), falling rolls mean that the chances of bagging the school you want are good.


Thanks all.

FF, YHM:smile:

richp - it's an interesting one that isn't it... how you play it. We'll have to take into account where friends are going - unfortunately her best friend may well go 'independent'... We'll have our say though, I think - or at least we intend to xx(


New Member
As alec says - falling roles nationally mean more chance to get into the schools you want - although the LA should be managing admissions to lower the intake across all schools rather than allowing one to remain large ans oversubscribed and the others struggling. remember role numbers = budget share so falling numbers in one is a deadly spiral!

look at ofsted - they are the national body who review schools and report on their policy and ability to control bullying, disruptive behavious etc.

also look at the league table to see who is performing well. This does matter - even if your kids are genius level as putting them in a classroom where the general expectancy is that 1 gcse and grade 'e' is a good result will bring down their aspirations accordingly.

admissions policy has changed nationally btw and parental choice is now the last factor that is taken into account - distance being the first.

pm me if you want to discuss further


New Member
My son is in year 8 so we did the rounds a couple of years ago and looked at schools from his point of view. My youngest though has special needs and we'll be looking a the same schools but from a different view point. I can't tell whether it'll be more of a battle to get a place at the "right" school or less. Our local comp despite being brand new is somewhere I wouldn't wish any child to go to but from my daughters point of view a 10 min walk to school and a 2.30 finish would probably be perfect for her. My son is at a pushy "science college" but it wouldn't suit my daughter. So what I'm trying to say is a school for one child might not be suitable for another. My son is at the school he wanted to go to but it wasn't my obvious first choice.


Cycling in the sun
I'm doing it for the second time YUK... last time we went out of area cos our local was awful... and since then Bristol in their wisdom have created a 'posh' state school where most parents have to be very wealthy to live in the catchment area. And then they were suprised when loads of parents moved into the area and pushed the price of houses and not everyone in the catchement got in. But the knock on effect of the new school was to take away the better pupils at our local school so it is even worse.
Look around the year before you have to, talk to parents with children at those schools - but bear in mind one report doesn't mean its all bad. Look at the Ofsted report, and see how you feel on the evening, go past at lunchtime or during school hours ... are their kids roaming the streets when they shouldn't be.
Interesting classification at the local school of behaviour:- they had 6 levels of behavoir and one of the middle ones was: "You will cause low level disruption and be off task in a range of lessos. Some serious behaviour incidents (2/3 term). You are not always responsive to normal sactions." and it went down from that....
Good Luck - I hate this process.


New Member
Actually, I've just remembered that we went to look at a school that's supposed to be one of the better ones in the area.Within 5 minutes I took a dislike to it. I asked my son what he thought and he said he didn't like it so we left and didn't bother applying.
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