National Offer Day is when children in the UK discover what secondary school they have been allocated for September. The headlines seen so far in some of the national dailies has been daunting. If the sensational headlines are to be believed, it would appear that about 30% of children have not secured their first choice of school. Parents obviously are tense at a period like this.
A good number of parents will be preparing appeal letters and making numerous calls to councils and schools seeking a way out.
What are my thoughts?
Do your level best to get the school you want but where it fails, all is not lost. Truthfully the end justifies the means and what you are seeking are strong GCSE results. This is in fact the crux of the matter. While we all seek the best schools in the country for our children, the child that will excel will do with the right amount of support regardless of the school.
There are stories of parents whose children are in top private school via scholarships and bursaries that face some sort of discrimination which leads them on a downward spiral. At the end the glorious expectations are not achieved. There are also children who were doing well in their primary school but made a down turn due to the pressures in a grammar school. Based on first-hand experience, I can confirm that some average state secondary schools have produced top GCSE results.
Parents must remember that for every school, the careers of teachers are very much dependent on pupil performance a majority of the time. It is therefore in the teacher’s interest in whatever school that grades remain tops. If your child is a mid-achiever at the point of entry to secondary school, it is expected that they retain that level at worst. There will be extraneous factors in every school that could impact on your child’s performance in whatever school and it is up to you as the parent to keep the child focused.
Ofsted reports is a major determinant of our perception of good schools. It is worthy to note that the “requiring improvement” school is monitored at least yearly to ensure that they make changes. Such schools are constantly working hard to improve ratings. I know of such a school that has even affiliated itself with some top schools hence allowing their best pupils attend these private schools for free. These are the benefits of being a big fish in a small ocean! The schools rated good or outstanding are not inspected for years and can sometimes turn out weaker when they are finally inspected after 5 years.
Finally if you follow GCSE results you will notice that most of the mid-range schools (requiring improvement schools) still have results exceeding 50% A* – C including Maths and English. Your child, if they have been performing well at primary will still snag those A*’s which will eventually take them to the right university or vocation.
Wishing everyone the best in their decision making process! Lets hear your comments.
Photo Credit: Rmarmion | Dreamstime.com