We'd like to remind Forumites to please avoid political debate on the Forum. This is to keep it a safe and useful space for MoneySaving discussions. Threads that are - or become - political in nature may be removed in line with the Forum’s rules. Thank you for your understanding.

Pick Primary School based on Secondary?

Options
Summary
Do we pick a further away Primary which guarantees a place at a better secondary with attached Sixth Form?
 
Or do we think about the now, with the convenience of a Primary 30 seconds from home, as Secondary standards may change and they might end up at the better one in Y7 or Sixth Form anyway if we're lucky.

Full Detail

'Pathway A'
Primary A - State Primary, on our street, Good with Outstanding elements ofsted, liked when visiting. Feeds into...

Secondary A - Bang average state Secondary School, 10-min walk, Good ofsted; not too rough, not over-achieving just standard across the board. 

Secondary A does not have a Sixth Form. Therefore Pathway A finishes with School B anyway. We know five family/ friends who swapped up to a private Sixth Form after all A/A* GCSEs but struggled with the change and got average A-levels. 

'Pathway B'
School B - Academy 4-18, next village, Good ofsted, attached Sixth Form. 5-10 min drive, walk/cycle possible (unlikely to), can get tram almost door to door when older.

The school has unbelievable sport and extra-curricular and churns out results like a factory; 50% of A-level students went to Russell Group unis. 

What we don't like about School B is Christian elements like chapel, visiting priests etc.; house system that mixes 4yos with 18yos every Wednesday   morning; and some negative feedback on bullying in Primary. We feel by Y7 those would be of less concern, which is why Pathway C would be appealing...

'Pathway C'
Our ideal scenario would be Primary A then move to School B at Year 7. 

However, although School B has a distance preferential at Reception, at Year 7 they switch to a random allocation entry. Under 40% first choice get a place. We feel Pathway C is unlikely on data, and we would just worry for 7 years about them getting a place at School B.

«1

Comments

  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,207 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Options
    How sure are you that school A feeds into preferred Secondary. Most schools have a criteria. You could say my local Primary schools feeds into the local Secondary'. That's not quite true catchment area children are above that and siblings below. The very first category is 'looked after' children (eg foster children). I'd look at the exact criteria. What if your child doesn't want to do A levels, both mine and my sister's kids have gone to FE or sixth form colleges. Only one of them did A levels. They are now police apprentice with degree being  paid for by police, completed degree with 2:1 in forensic computers now working in first job at computer firm, studying biomedical science and at drama school.

    Also are you talking about a child just going to Primary school? Bare in mind that a LOT can change especially if the Head changes. Mine went to an Ofsted  Outstanding secondary, it still has that ranking 10 years on because it's never been re-inspected but the head it was gained under left within a year. The school and it's new policies made one of my kids very ill, still ill to this day and she's a few months off 20.

    I would actually look at pastoral care more.  
  • thegreenone
    thegreenone Posts: 1,053 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Options
    If School B is a faith school, are you eligible?
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 47,230 Ambassador
    Academoney Grad Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary
    Options
    Do what is right now, schools change over the years and what may be an outstanding sixth form college now maybe in special measures in 10 years time.

    We forged our own pathway between primary and secondary and didn’t follow the crowd. It worked out well in both cases.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,212 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Options
    Spendless said:
    How sure are you that school A feeds into preferred Secondary. Most schools have a criteria. You could say my local Primary schools feeds into the local Secondary'. That's not quite true catchment area children are above that and siblings below. The very first category is 'looked after' children (eg foster children). I'd look at the exact criteria. What if your child doesn't want to do A levels, both mine and my sister's kids have gone to FE or sixth form colleges. Only one of them did A levels. They are now police apprentice with degree being  paid for by police, completed degree with 2:1 in forensic computers now working in first job at computer firm, studying biomedical science and at drama school.

    Also are you talking about a child just going to Primary school? Bare in mind that a LOT can change especially if the Head changes. Mine went to an Ofsted  Outstanding secondary, it still has that ranking 10 years on because it's never been re-inspected but the head it was gained under left within a year. The school and it's new policies made one of my kids very ill, still ill to this day and she's a few months off 20.

    I would actually look at pastoral care more.  
    All of this, plus
    silvercar said:
    Do what is right now, schools change over the years and what may be an outstanding sixth form college now maybe in special measures in 10 years time.

    We forged our own pathway between primary and secondary and didn’t follow the crowd. It worked out well in both cases.
    An 'outstanding' school may be completely dreadful very quickly. 

    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • JReacher1
    JReacher1 Posts: 4,652 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post I've been Money Tipped!
    Options
    I think you should always plan your primary school place dependent on where you want them to go to secondary school. Think secondary is more important and if you can get your child into a decent primary school that is a feeder school for a great secondary school I would do that. 


  • Shelldean
    Shelldean Posts: 2,398 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Options
    Do what works now!

    My story is about a primary but could easily be secondary school.

    Eldest started and it was wonderful. 2nd started three years later and final.child three years later.

    When eldest left I was devastated. End of era.E
    When 2nd left I was ok time to move on.
    The final.child left I was was counting down the days, couldn't wait for them to leave.

    The reason? A change of head master and leadership team.
    Head left same time at eldest.to
    School just dropped like stone, slowly at first but gathering speed.
    Awful head arrived and totally changed the whole school. School declined.
    They finally left before they was removed.
    Temp head who was actually lovely, but unfortunately temporary.
    Final head, was also not a good fit. And the school declined
     further
    These changes were all within six years. 

    So go with what works for now, the good high school my not be so good in a few years
  • JReacher1
    JReacher1 Posts: 4,652 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post I've been Money Tipped!
    Options
    I think you’re actually better sometimes with a poorly rated primary school. Parents don’t want to send their kids there so you get class sizes of between 15-20 kids. Means they get more focused teaching
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,381 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary
    Options
    You don't mention your child's character.  What environment do you think will suit them - will 'churning out results like a factory'?
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • TripleH
    TripleH Posts: 3,019 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Options
    Check the admissions criteria published by LEA.
    Many years ago when I clerked school appeals, parents would come arguing that school x was a feeder school to school y only for LEA to argue it wasn't.
    My secondary school was the best in my town by some way when I joined. It still was when I left buy the gap was narrow. The change was due to a new headmaster.
    The day he announced he was finishing that summer, apparently a number of teachers withdrew their resignations.
    May you find your sister soon Helli.
    Sleep well.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,212 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Options
    JReacher1 said:
    I think you should always plan your primary school place dependent on where you want them to go to secondary school. Think secondary is more important and if you can get your child into a decent primary school that is a feeder school for a great secondary school I would do that. 
    It's a good plan on paper, but over a period of 6-7 years, secondary schools might change their admission criteria, PANs may change, catchment areas may be altered. And that's before you consider that a different head might make all the difference, either reducing an Outstanding school to one 'requiring improvement' or vice versa. 

    And you may think that living close to a secondary school might make you 'safe', but I've seen some very interesting shapes in my time! Where we lived when this was first relevant to me, there were two secondary schools in walking distance, one well regarded and the other not so much. The catchment area for the 'better' school was pretty much a big fat V shape, excluding the nearby areas of council housing, but taking in the more affluent areas further away. Another not too far away school had a similar odd shape. 

    Then we moved away: the local secondary school with the worst GCSE results had a long thin catchment, which we fell into - mostly working class areas of high deprivation on the local authority scale. Move a mile to the east, and you were in catchment for a school which was further away but regarded as 'better'. This long thin area included one patch of less deprivation, and the parents there generally sent their children to secondary school in a neighbouring county, or went private. But there were plans to build a new secondary school nearby, it being recognised that there were not enough secondary places to meet demand in area. Parents were hugely supportive of this development, the new school was built, but ... the catchment area excluded at least one area where parents had been banking on being able to send their children to that school. They were not happy ... 

    You have to think about what will suit each child as well. Some secondary schools now have 'specialist' status: I know they have to cover the whole curriculum, but surely if you've got that choice you'd choose what would help the child thrive? Which might be different for each child ... 
    Signature removed for peace of mind
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 344.2K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.4K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 236.4K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.6K Life & Family
  • 249K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards