The Wrong Reasons To Choose A School

The Wrong Reasons To Choose A School

Like, it seems, everyone I have a little one due to start school next September. All the emotion. As is every other parent I am doing the school rounds to ask the appropriate questions and look at the environment my daughter will be spending the next 7 years. However it feels a pointless exercise as I know the school I want to send her to. I know my top choice, my only choice really that I *may* have concluded upon using the wrong reasons. You decide. Here they are in increasing order of importance.

5. The rep
 Controversial? Maybe but don’t tell me you haven’t disregarded certain schools because of their reputation. Equally I am sure you have considered or applied for schools based upon a glowing reputation. Now I had a friend, who incidentally is one of the smartest people to grace this here earth. She could pass an exam without even being there. She went to a very well regarded, not to mention expensive, prestigious private school in Bristol, 2 in fact. On full scholarship, she was that smart. After spending some time at not 1 but 2 of Bristol finest educational establishments she jumped both ships and slummed it with us thicko’s at the local comp, which had an onsite police officer. Make of that what you will.

4. The Ofsted
I am told this is a big player. The internet can give you all sorts of wonderful statistics about your school of choice. Whether it is performing as it should be, above national average, examination pass rate – an essential for 7  year olds like. Thing is though, I went to a school that was in the bottom 3 of the league table for Bristol and there were some pretty ropey schools in Bristol at the time. Yet, I got all the As and then A-levels and then a first class law degree. I don’t mean to bragg but you get my point right? Ofsted schmofsted.

3. The facilities
Does it have a music lab? Gym? Computer room? Library? Outdoor area? Swimming pool? It’s own pet unicorn? Journey back with me to my school, if you will. We had some unused, abandon tennis courts that pupils would frequent to meet up with the resident cigarette dealer, also a pupil. 5 for £1, bargain. That was until someone shouted ‘GREGOR’ and everyone legged it because a 6 foot teacher would come bounding over with his walkie talkie disbanding the masses. That said, whilst facilities were pretty thin on the ground we were spoilt with a new shiny ‘City learning Centre’. This was basically a swanky shed that housed all the very latest Macs, video, music, editing soft and hardware and some other technology I did not understand. Whilst it was probably wasted on a lot of people, myself included, it certainly paid off for another dear friend of mine. She uncovered a passion in this techno hub and is now an incredibly hardworking and successful post production professional who is in charge of a lot people and responsibilities bringing actual TV to your tellybox. I am pretty sure this got demolished along with my actual school a few years after our departure, which really is a bit of shame not to mention colossal waste of money. Facilities, I definitely don’t think they are the be all and end all, fancy technology aside my school had zero facilities (other than PC Phil) that benefited me and the other 90% of the school yet I don’t recall it being to my detriment.

No I can't believe I am sharing this either

2. The child
 Ok so we may be on to something here. I do believe there are some children that will do well whatever school they go to and then there are some who would get on a little better at certain schools. There were probably a fair few people who would have come out of my school a lot ‘better’ for want of a better word in a different environment. Also see point 5 above and 3 for that matter, some facilities may suit certain children better than others.  Academically it is too early to tell for my children and their first school choice. I can however make some form of decision on the type of person they are and whether it would be compatible with certain school. So yes I accept this is a criteria worth bearing in mind.

1. The location
 Aha the golden ticket and the winning criteria for me. Our first choice of school is completely predominantly  based on yep you guessed it, it’s location. We can walk there and it is in our catchment. I mean it helps it’s in a nice area, with a good rep, has some useful facilities and is ‘good’ on that all illusive ofsted. I won’t lie to you though, this is all an incidental bonus. In the words of Phil and Kirsty it’s all about location location location.  I don’t have to drive across town, sit in morning traffic, struggle to park or leave the house at stupid o’clock. Nope we can kick ourselves out the house meander down the road and be there in 10 minutes, toddler pace. For one last time I will take you back to my school days. All of my schools were in walking distance, I could literally see my senior school from my bedroom window. I was always late, go figure. That’s beside the point though, I met people at my infant and reception schools all of whom lived within a 5 minute walk from my house. We stayed at school together until we left at 16 at which point we went to the same college. We saw each other in and out of school everyday and it was because we all met at our local school we could do this. Going to your local school hopefully means you will meet people local to you. People, more specifically, friends are a huge part of our lives, my friends helped shaped the person I am. Cheesy but true people, I’m not sorry.  I loved having good friends and a good school on my doorstep. So yes there is an inherently selfish element to my top tier (only) criteria but it is my hope it pays off for my children more so. Good friends and a good school on your doorstep…I’m in…I just hope daughter get’s in too.


So what about you? What are your criteria for choosing your little ones school? Do you have any? I’d love to hear from you.

 The wrong reasons to choose a school


  1. Your reason(s) to choose that particular school for your children makes perfect sense to me. There is so much more to life than school, and you are living proof of that. Regardless of the league tables, facilities, etc. the school you choose has to sit right with you. Fingers crossed you’ll get the school you want for your children!

    • Tammymum
      December 5, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Ah thank you for your lovely comment x

  2. December 4, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Love this post – as someone who moved to a house opposite a primary school (which happened to be in special measures at the time – pah to ofsted!) so we could just walk to school (unfortunately the gate is on the other side of the school so we have to actually walk round the corner – oh the cheek of it!!) I am with you about location. And we will stay here as long as poss due to being able to walk round the corner to the school even if the house becomes a bit of a squash and a squeeze. As a teacher I look beyond the ofsted. I read the school’s report and could tell there had just been a glitch which woud immediately be sorted after ofsted had picked up on it. Lo and behold when eldest started at the school 2 years later it had become an ‘outstanding’ school according to ofsted (oh how ridiculous!) and so everyone wants to go there again. I just loved it as it’s a good (yes I think it was good when it was in special measures and good now it’s supposedly outstanding) diverse community school. In terms of secondary schools I really like your story about your friend….. there’s a lot to be said for slumming it in a local comp :-). Great post xx #familyfunlinky xx

  3. December 4, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    I love your reasons so in that respect, they are right as they are right for you! I understand you wanting to be able to walk to school; who wants to sit in traffic each day? And you are right….Ofsted means diddly crap when most schools are doing fine and the ones that aren’t get loads of money and therefore, will be better. Community is what I would look for plus happy kids and a great and realistic head teacher who isn’t trying to sell the school; it should sell itself. Lovely post. #familyfun

  4. December 4, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    I love walking to school…it would have a huge impact on all our lives if we had to commute in any major way ..I really mean that. Five mins walk and it’s ideal. Crumbs you’re at this juncture already!! Exciting times x

  5. December 5, 2017 / 11:46 am

    This is such a difficult decision for many UK parents and then there is the lottery of if you actually get your choice. We are lucky, there is one school on our island and we and the children love it #familyfunlinky

  6. December 5, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    My mummy chose my school because it was within walking distance from our house and cuts out any reason to go near school traffic in the mornings. Its just an added bonus that is seems like the better school in our catchment based on what we’ve heard from other parents regarding facilities. #FamilyFunLinky

  7. December 9, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Location was definitely the deciding factor for me. Plus they have an attached nursery and preschool so if they go there it makes sense for them to carry in to the same school so they stay with the same group of friends. We’re lucky to have three primary schools all within walking distance and the one I chose is maybe closer by a minute but it is the only one with the attached nursery etc so made the most sense. My son is in year 4 there now so it also makes sense that my daughter goes there in September. I’ll be honest, I did zero research before choosing it. It was our closest and that was it, but we are quite rural and I imagine things change when you move to bigger towns and cities x