secondary school Yorkshire dad of 4

Secondary School – What A Difference

Readers of the blog may remember a post earlier this year where I discussed that we had moved our teenage girls to a new secondary school. As we approach the first break of the new school year I thought now would be a great time to talk about how it’s going.

Why we moved secondary school

You really should go and read We Moved Them To A New School to find out the full picture.

Basically, after two-and-a-half years of having a daughter in the old school, we realised not all was well. We didn’t like the feel of the school, the girls weren’t happy there, issues weren’t being dealt with to our satisfaction, and the school seemed to be heading in a direction opposite to our beliefs about education.

The good, good and good

We can’t say anything bad about their new school. Honestly, everything about this experience has been positive.

The biggest difference is the feel. I cannot describe, nor do justice to, just how different it feels when I go into their new school. It’s just so remarkably different. Yet, it’s just 13 miles from their old school, but the gulf is far wider.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two evening already this term where the head has spoken. Wow! He really is very different from the head at the old school. He leads a school faculty here that really do believe in every child that goes there. This is no more evident in the change in Grace’s attitude towards school and homework.

We firmly believe she was written off by her old school. A student who wouldn’t get the additional points on a league table, so why put any effort into her education. It may seem harsh, but that really is how the old school made us feel. The change in her within weeks of starting the new school mack in April was astounding. She’s engaging in subjects and getting on with homework. This can only be because of the way she is being taught.

Ofsted isn’t everything

Their old school has held an Ofsted Outstanding rating now since 2012. I thought they had received monitoring visit earlier this year but according to Ofsted’s website they haven’t.

ofted inspections secondary school

 

What this means is that there is a period of time where a child can pass through all five school years at this school and it is not re-inspected at all throughout that time. That can’t be right, can it?

But, I’m not here to lament the issues with Ofsted. What I do want to say is that simply measuring if a school is right for a child based on the Ofsted rating and school league tables is not right.

compare secondary school league tables
Source: gov.uk

Look at the above comparison between their old and new schools. On paper, it would appear their old school is better. But what these league tables don’t tell you is how well your child will do in that school. This is the critical point that we failed to consider when choosing a secondary school.

Where next

We are now approaching the time when we will be making secondary school choices for our younger two daughters. This time around we will go to the open evening offered by both secondary schools. In fact, the year 5 open evening was held at the new school just a couple of week ago and she loved it. We’re not making a final decision on which will be our first choice just yet, but we are heavily swayed towards ‘new school’.

Lydia is firmly into her GCSE course now and Grace will be taking her options later this school year. Scary and exciting times ahead, but I am now confident they in the school that will see them do their best.

Thanks for reading

Dave


 

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