Education Quandary: 'We are moving in the new year. How can we choose a primary school with no league tables?'
Thursday 16 October 2008
This year's catastrophe over national tests is education's own version of the credit crunch – the collapse of an over-extended testing system that has been insufficiently capitalised by good managers or markers. So you are in a school-choice recession. This will mean living by your wits and returning to old-fashioned, simple methods of operating, like going and looking.
First, check out last year's league tables. They are unlikely to have changed very much in such a short period of time.
Then, ask around among your husband's new colleagues for the lowdown on the schools in the area where you are thinking of settling.
Once you have refined your search as much as you can, go and pay the schools a visit. Look hard at what you see on the playground and in the classroom. Do the children look engaged and happy? Are the teachers relaxed and purposeful? Is the building bright and welcoming? Does the school cater for all children, both the bright and the struggling?
And finally, trust your instincts. They are there for a reason.
Tables tell you which primaries have the greatest middle-class intakes, not necessarily which have the best teaching. Ofsted's website allows you to read schools' inspection reports.
Then look at the local education authority's guides to admissions. Many of these list the greatest distance from which pupils were offered a place at each school (though not usually church schools) in the past year or two – a good guide to the schools' popularity.
Beth Noakes, London NW3
In our experience (three moves) good areas breed good schools. Go for the area.
Dana Murphy, Plymouth
Next Week's Quandary
Can caning ever be a good punishment and deterrent? If one in five teachers want it, they must have reasons.
Send your replies, or any quandaries you would like to have addressed, to email@example.com. Please include your postal address. Readers whose replies are printed will receive a Collins Paperback English Dictionary 5th Edition. Previous quandaries are online at www.hilarywilce.com where they can be searched by topic.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Randstad Education are looking fo...
£100 - £160 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: BTEC and...
£60 - £80 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: We are loo...
£100 - £150 per day + Flexible with benefits: Randstad Education Group: Key St...