23 Sep '14

News Choosing a secondary school: a teacher's guide for parents

Ignore the Ofsted reports and glossy brochures, instead check out the darkened classroom they don't want you to seeChoosing a secondary is something of an illusion. In much of the country, there aren't a huge number within a convenient distance of our homes, and when the various religious schools for whom your child is an inadmissible heretic are stripped out, there may be only one candidate left anyway. Even in urban areas, where there are more schools to choose from, that choice is not all it seems. Nearly all schools use proximity in their admissions policy, so whether you get the school you want rather depends on how many other people with children of the same age live between you and its front gates. Nevertheless, parents can certainly worry about the order in which to place their preferences when the dreaded form lands on the mat.Ironically, the arrival of an education "marketplace" has done little to clarify choices, and much to obscure them. Schools have become adept at marketing, with glossy brochures, websites and adverts in local papers. The relationship between promotional material and reality is not always close. More than one teacher has found themselves gazing on the angelic hard-working children (often wearing safety glasses, a lab coat and a studious look) pictured on an advert for their own school before realising that one of the children in the picture has so far been responsible for a hundred disrupted classes, two flooded toilet blocks and an early retirement. Continue reading...

Read the full story in Guardian Education
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