Is DH bu? Or am I guilty of reverse snobbery?

(97 Posts)
mollysmum82 Sun 09-Dec-12 14:39:00

Hi everyone. We're in the schools applications process and DH and I have very different ideas. I've got a young baby as well as DD and I think my pnd is making me more anxious than I need to be about all this sad

We have a good chance of getting into two schools (they're catholic and usually go into the 'baptised in other faiths' category)

School 1 is our 'catchment' catholic school. Its ofsted was outstanding, although dated (2007 and a new head has joined since then). It gets great results (94% level 4 and 34% level 5 at key stage 2). I looked round and I loved it, the staff seemed really friendly, the children seemed happy and engaged, the facilities were great, bright and cheerful, the Head seemed like she was a good leader but also made time to listen to our questions. Its linked to what's perceived to be the best secondary school in the area (and with it being catholic it actually guarantees entry to this secondary if you attend the primary). Its not too "pushy" on the catholic sense - it teaches all the morals but is very inclusive of the many children of other faiths who attend there. (Good for non-believer DH). We can walk to it too. So basically this would be my top choice, I love it. However (slightly snobby) DH is quite worried about the area its in. The houses around are all boarded up, there's loads of rubbish in the street and there are a couple of pubs next door with "unsavoury characters" (DHs words) hanging around outside during the day. Basically, DH would be a bit worried about us walking there. His other worry is it has high numbers of pupils with special needs and EAL - I personally see this as a positive as I have been enriched by friends of many cultures and walks of life myself (oh and my mum and sis in law would have been labeled as EAL) but DH worries a lot of time will be spent "bridging the gap" to help these pupils. The Head compounded his worries when she spoke passionately and at length about helping pupils with special needs and EAL (which is obviously wonderful) but when he asked her about gifted and talented pupils she just said "there is provision within lessons". Is he right to be worried, or do you think it is just snobbery/fear of the unknown?

School 2 is very different. It has an AMAZING reputation, everyone I know wants to get their kids in there. The ofsted parent opinion questionnaire was brilliant and the school have even paid for statistical surveys to show how happy the pupils are and how well they're doing academically. It gets the same great results as School 2...but its catchment is much more middle class and has less EAL and special needs pupils so I guess you would expect even higher results than school 1? I looked round twice, expecting to love it but I really didn't. None of the staff smiled at us and they seemed quite stressed out or even aloof. The Head teacher was supposed to take us round but he was too busy on both occasions. Other prospective parents have been let down by him not being there either in the past. He has a reputation of saying to parents "if you're not happy there's the door", but this could just be hearsay. Its just over 2 miles from our house, so not as easy to get to and it doesn't link to the best secondary. But it is in an area we spend a lot of time in (shopping, parks etc) and I do attend mass at the linked church so this would be a nice community feel for DCs. And like I say parents who's children go there seem to really love it. Whereas I don't know anyone who attends school 1.

I want to go for school 1 but am I right in going for a feeling rather than an established reputation/written and proven questionnaires etc? My local friends would think I was mad for considering school 1 over 2 because of the area its in. DH has left the decision up to me. Help!

cumfy Mon 22-Apr-13 22:18:05

Keep asking questions.

You'll get there.

mollysmum82 Mon 22-Apr-13 21:36:03

Thank you everyone. Unfortunately I don't know anyone at the school to talk to. I walked there the other day and its a lot further than I thought (40 minutes)

mynewpassion Mon 22-Apr-13 19:18:47

If all things mostly equal, then I look at safety. Boarded up houses, gang signs, and other unsavory things would make me choose school 2. I would still choose school 2 even if it had a little lower standards because of the safety issue.

Andro Mon 22-Apr-13 19:08:50

he Head compounded his worries when she spoke passionately and at length about helping pupils with special needs and EAL (which is obviously wonderful) but when he asked her about gifted and talented pupils she just said "there is provision within lessons".

This would concern me! We ended up moving DS from a school where the head had a similar attitude; 'the provision in class' for gifted an talented was limited, the teacher never had time TO implement what provision there was because the focus was on the SEN children to the detriment of the others. A school needs a balanced focus imo, not to (inadvertently or otherwise) sideline certain pupils.

kitsmummy Mon 22-Apr-13 18:48:40

In an area like that, I'd avoid school 1 like the plague - gang shootings on that street, I wouldn't care how good the school was, my DC would not be going there

I think at this stage you have to talk to some of the parents if current pupils and see what they thinknof the recent event.

it would be such a shame
but it's not like your dc will be walling to and from school aline.

mollysmum82 Mon 22-Apr-13 18:09:06

*school 1 I mean

mollysmum82 Mon 22-Apr-13 18:08:40

I'm having a bit of a wobble. Yesterday I found out that the lady who lives next door to this school deliberately set fire to her house, and the primary school fence caught alight. Luckily everyone was ok but it's made me worry again about the area. It's strange because the free school meal number (22%) doesn't indicate an area of deprivation but this might be because the school is catholic so takes from a wider area? And I also found out the trainers on top of the telegraph pole aren't the result of drunk students messing about, their colour relate to which gang controls the street and there are shootings from different gangs. Now I feel mad to send dd there. But the ofsted, results and teachers remain great. Wwyd?

MakeItALarge Wed 19-Dec-12 17:08:44

Wrt the gifted and talented thing - my son is brilliant at one subject. After a few weeks in reception we got called in and asked about this. He started getting extra work.

In yr1 we again got called in to be told arrangements had been made for him to study that subject with yr4.
By yr2 the school provided his own private tutor for the subject.

I did ask about the gifted and talented thing at one point, and the ht explained that as a school they downplayed this as much as possible to avoid competitiveness between parents and to stop children being singled out. The emphasis is on supporting rather than labelling the child.

So I would say just because they didnt explain this does not mean they wont offer any help, ime its so they dont have parents banging on the door asking if their child is classed as g&t yet! And from what you have said, school 1, just because it sounds like a happier environment

CheeseToasty Wed 19-Dec-12 14:41:58

Difficult decision! A lot sound great about school 1. If its doing so well and in an area of deprivation it's doing well. From my knowledge of our local so called middle classed school the parents are doing a lot at home eg tutoring. Ds goes to a more mixed school but ds started when we were living closes to it. We now live closer to so called mc school but haven't moved there. If you live close to school to school 1 are you not living in an area of deprivation? Where do you think you and your child would fit in better? I would ask again about bulling policy as perhaps secretary was not informed well. I think it is really important and our school is very proactive.

mollysmum82 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:14:58

I just wanted to thank everyone so much for all your posts. You've made me feel a lot less crazy for loving school 1...but ask some important questions too.

Maybe I'll have to bring in a school 3 just to placate DH smile

mollysmum82 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:48:45

policy. So it may have just been a silly comment?

mollysmum82 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:48:11

Ps I looked at school 2's website and they do indeed have a bullying p

mollysmum82 Wed 12-Dec-12 20:07:48

I posted on another local patents board about the area school 1 is in and the response I got was 'avoid'. (They didn't know about the school, just the area)

mollysmum82 Wed 12-Dec-12 20:06:22

In reality a lot of children from school 2 end up going to the good secondary, as many from the other feeder schools aren't catholic. So if I'm being balanced I shouldn't give this as an advantage to school 1. It would just be nice to have the guarantee that attending school 1 gives.

mollysmum82 Wed 12-Dec-12 20:03:51

Thanks lots shew. Yeah I totally agree about the attached secondary being a huge advantage to school 1. The only thing I worry is it may well change in 7 years and i only know its good on paper, like school 2 was supposed to be!

Yes the equality comment was worrying, surely equality is about helping all children reach their potential? I'll have to find out more on that one.

Good idea about seeing how the children are in lessons. All the key stage 2 children were away when I looked at school 1. I took it at face value but maybe this should make me suspicious? The children at school 2 did all seem on task.

So hard!

shewhowines Wed 12-Dec-12 10:39:23

I think secondary is far more important than primary. If going to school 1 guarantees the better secondary then that would be enough for me.

I would visit both again and look particularly at behaviour. Which is the better learning environment? Look at the older kids involvement in lessons. Quieter isn't necessarily better but are they all on task if they are noisy, or are they messing around? See if you can spend a little longer in several lessons throughout the years.

No bullying comment may just be ignorant remark from administrator. Somehow arrange a chat (over telephone if necessary) and get HT opinion. Revisit G&T provision in school one. Ask again about reaching full potential rather than the equality thing. That is as disturbing to me as the no bullying comment.

Gather as much info as possible then go by your gut instinct. A "show" school isn't necessarily better.

mollysmum82 Wed 12-Dec-12 10:06:26

Haha I'll tell him that wewilson!

Yeah that's true marigold (although I had to smile as dh bought me a Boden scarf last Christmas...he must be trying to turn the whole family ;) )

The light - yeah, I went along one day to school 1 at kicking out time. It seemed chaotic, but happy chaos, not dodgy. I felt awful standing there being judgemental though!

WeWilsonAMerryChristmas Tue 11-Dec-12 23:26:59

He does know unsavoury isn't contagious, doesn't he? grin

I think I said upthread, we went to a very similar school as school 1. It's actually quite easy to manipulate play dates and stuff in school - for example, we all used to decamp to the park in the summer. And while it isn't particularly pleasant pushing through 'rough' parents at the school gate, your kid isn't at school with the parents and kids are just kids, at the end of the day.

MerryMarigold Tue 11-Dec-12 21:50:40

IME "nice" middle class kids are more likely to bully...

...also a lot of "nice" middle class parents are hideously competitive. I met a few parents like this the other day (kids go to different schools) and I suddenly felt VERY grateful for the parents at my school (which is very mixed). There's a couple of 'yummy mummies' (only 2 I can think of in the whole school ie. wear lovely clothes and shoes on the school run!), and there's tons of just very normal people and probably only 1 mum who is the 'my kid started piano aged 2, and gymnastics, and football and swimming, and is top of the class..." etc. Check out the mums at the school gate, but you do want to avoid mums who are like your dh (trust me! no offence dh, but judgemental and competitive, not fun to be around when it comes to kids).

TheLightPassenger Tue 11-Dec-12 21:29:57

visit school one around school run o clock, get a feel for whether it seems at all dodgy to you. I still think school 2 sounds awful, and like it's not learnt from the publicised bullying incident. IME "nice" middle class kids are just as likely to bully as any others tbh.

mollysmum82 Tue 11-Dec-12 21:27:13

*two office ladies not 'too'!!

StinkyWicket Tue 11-Dec-12 21:24:38

I would go for school one as well. The school I have applied for my children to go to next year (they are in the pre-school this year) was under-subbed last year. Good OFSTED, but I have always been of the opinion that so long as the teachers seem nice, and they seem to be progressing (obviously something could change as they age) then I am happy with a 'Good'.

When I visited the school, the teachers were just lovely, the school so friendly - and having attended a couple of assemblies, the children are happy. Also it is convenient to get to!

For me anyway, the feel of the school was so so important.

mollysmum82 Tue 11-Dec-12 21:20:50

deXavia, that's an interesting question. I've just asked DH (bearing in mind he hasn't read ofsted/league tables etc and hasn't visited school 2)

School 1 his pros - same as some of mine - friendy, nice facilities, great feeding secondary school. His cons (his exact words so please don't think I'm saying this) - rough area, broken glass, rubbish on street, unsavoury characters hanging around so wouldn't want us walking there, area has known drug problem so possibly parents may too (and therefore wouldn't want DD there for playdates), he feels many people on benefits=low aspirations for themselves and therefore kids, therefore more bullying/behavioural problems in the school. High number of EAL/SEN would make DD fall behind as more attention would be given to these pupils.

School 2 his pros - nice area, he would be happy with us driving there. He thinks DD would have a bigger "bank" of friends to choose from as more children are like her (in other words he would approve more of their parents and therefore allow more playdates) His cons - more religious than school 1 (he's a non believer and school 2 takes all catholics/baptised in other christian faiths)

Blu Tue 11-Dec-12 21:19:21

School 1.

A school pays lots of money for a survey as a marketing tool, not for genuine consultation. And especially not in a school where the Head is even thought capable of saying anything like 'there's the door'. It sounds as if the school is trying to create a mc competitive frenzy and thus massage his intake.

The EAL thing is a complete red herring unless a large majority of the children all speak the same home language and use it amongst themselves in school. And IMO and IME you can tell a lot about a school and it's attitude to ALL children from it's support for children with SEN.

Being close to a school is a huge benefit.

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