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Looking for a new school

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Fee_B77 | 20:57 Mon 26th Feb 2007 | Parenting
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I will be moving in the next few months to a completely new area I have little or no local knowledge of. I'm looking at the OFSTED website for information on the local schools in our new town but they're all almost 4 years old. One particular inspection was dated 2002! I do intend to go and visit the schools in person but I'm limited with work and home commitments as to how much time I can spend there before we move. Is there anywhere else reputable I can look for an idea on the reputation and achievements in any particular school. Apologies for repeating this question in two sections. It's getting desperate and OFSTED aren't much help.

Many thanks in advance.

Fee x

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If you look on www.upmystreet.com and type in the postcode of the area you are moving to, it does give performance data for the local schools. Not sure how often its updated though! Good luck.
I do sympathise as I had this problem a few years ago. I had however collected every school league table since they came out, so I could go through those and see how schools averaged out, every school can have a particularly good or bad year, so if you can find a few years worth of the league tables I would recommend doing this. Yes, I did also check the OFSTED reports but I also 'googled' each school and area to see what came up. I narrowed it down to four schools, choosing ones which were consistently good in the league tables, but not necessarily top fivers as I think that those schools can concentrate too much on getting good SATs results and there is much more to school than just those. I then made appointments at each school (I only had two days to do this in) and found that that really made my mind up. One school I was very impressed with, the others all had things which I wasn't too sure about, but just to put my mind at ease I went back to the school I was pretty sure I wanted my children to attend at home time and just watched the mothers waiting for their children to assure myself that they (and the children) seemed happy and normal (I didn't want a 'chav' school nor a really posh one). I am satisfied that I made the right choice. Only gut instict can really help. Good luck.
Fee, sadly OFSTED will only inspect a school when its their time to be inspected. The gaps between inspections can be anything from 2 - 4 years for some places.

Contact the schools your interested in and ask for the contact details for the PTA. Have a chat with them. The parental cohort will give you the run down on the school and may be able to put you in touch with other parents who may be able to answer your questions.

Have a look for forums in the new area your moving too - such as Up my street etc and leave messages for advice and comments about the schools. Look on the schools websites , they may have a forum or contact details.

Good luck

Flower xx

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