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How do you determine whether one secondary school is 'better' than another?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by geek84, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. geek84

    geek84 New commenter

    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

    </font>Can someone please be kind enough to tell me what criteria a
    parent can use in order to determine whether one secondary school is 'better'
    than another.</font>
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

    </font>For example. would you look at past exam results, OFSTED
    report, school website, or get some other information, in order to determine one
    being 'better' than the other.</font>
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

  2. FSharp

    FSharp New commenter

    if you can talk to parents of students who already attend the school that would give you a good idea. But I would also suggest checking the Ofsted report, keep an eye out for behaviour issues and lack of organisation.
  3. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Other key indicators are staff turnover and also if staff send their children to the school.
  4. Staff turn over is for me a big one, as you will see if continuity is present!!!
  5. staxis

    staxis New commenter

    All of the above!
  6. CVA. I would look not at the exam results, but at the level of improvement students have made.
    Children who arrive with top grades and leave with top grades are often from well-educated, supportive families and would have got top grades if they'd been stuck in a cardboard box for five years. Children who arrive with low grades and progress to average grades is much, much more impressive and will show loads about the teaching and ethos within the school.
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I sometimes wonder whether an interesting set of statistics would be percentages of lessons taught by supply, cover supervisors, people teaching outside the subjects for which they trained (although this is harder to define), unqualified teachers. I'm not saying any of those is necessarily bad in itself, but the overall diet does vary rather between schools, and might be indicative of staffing difficulties.
  8. This is where I think the current system of inspection is letting parents and teachers down. Relying on Ofsted to tell you whether a school is good or not is evidently not enough, and I agree with that. Ofsted's view is too narrow and focused on current educational initiatives, not necessarily in line with parents.
    I would LOVE to see schools producing an A4 page document each year with the following on it, to help parents and prospective teachers to form opinions before applying there. Schools could 'comment' on each statistic to justify a bad one.
    • Raw results - how many of each grade for each subject for its Y11s/sixth formers.
    • CVA measure to complement the raw results.
    • % staff turnover for the last 5 years.
    • % of lessons not taught by the class's normal teacher for the last 3 years.
    • 3 plus points and 3 areas for improvement highlighted by Ofsted.
    • A statement by the Head sharing the ethos of the school.
    The thing I think it would be hard to put on there objectively is a measure of how good behaviour is. You could put the number of exclusions down but a high rate of exclusions may mean behaviour is tackled with high expectations, so wouldn't necessarily indicate very poor behaviour. So talking to parents of current students is important.
  9. casper

    casper New commenter

    If you can go along and have a look at the school that would be good. Be there at the end of the day. Pop in to the local paper shop and have a chat with staff in there,
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    A London parent once told me that everyone sent their kids to the next school along - nobody liked the look of what they saw coming out of the nearest one, whichever it was!
  11. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    CVA, Ofsted report, visit the school
  12. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Talk to the Staff, not just the Head, find out what links they have with local industry/commerce, do they work in partnership with other institutions/businesses to provide better or more realistic education for their students.
    The educational ethos can usually be observed at finishing time and in the morning.
    If you think it is important then OfSTED too!
    Its not rocket science, just common sense really.
  13. The league tables in Scotland have been abolished making very difficult to get any objective information about a school without a lot of work! There are HMIE reports but they areby nature periodic. Also, how do you find out about staff turn-over?

    Asking parents who send their kids to the school is a bit hit and miss; you are not likely to get negative reply from most parents who already send their kids to a school. Exam results are often the only method that can be relied upon. A school that performs consistently well will, have a critical mass of motivated, well taught and responsive students. Also importantly, it will have parents who care about what school is for and about. These schools will also have less need to focus on behavior issues and the piffle surrounding the teaching of pupils with multi-factoral problems.
  14. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Or they might be better at cheating.
  15. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    How about talking to kids who go there?
    Talking to parents - noooooo. Talk to the head - really?
    Visit the school and see what goes on inside the building
    Go to an open evening and trust your own and your child's judgement
  16. The best in the past was to talk to supply teachers that have worked in local schools as they were an independent view but now they have been replaced with any cheap and/or nasty replacement possible so that is no longer an option.

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