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FIND A SCHOOL: How to choose a primary school

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How to choose a primary school when moving to Rutland

If you’re moving to Rutland with a family a new school is going to be a priority. But how do you pick the best school for your child?

Whether you are choosing a public or private school you will be looking for somewhere that will give your child the best educational experience.

You know your son or daughter better than anyone and although you can look at OFSTED reports there may be lots of other needs to consider.

Some children work better in a more structured environment, others prefer a more relaxed setting. Your child may have special learning needs or need more individual attention. Your child may need more challenging work or an environment that fosters creativity.

Our guide to choosing a school can help you with your decision.

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A great choice in and around Oakham

Oakham has a number of state primary schools, with five of them rated Good by Ofsted. Brooke Hill Academy & Pre-school is a larger than average primary school with Forest School status. It proclaims that ‘learning is fun’ and has a commitment to outdoor learning using the local environment including Rutland Water as much as possible to enrich teaching and learning throughout the school.

For those wanting a religious education Langham CofE Primary School, in the village of Langham, and Oakham CofE Primary School both offer a caring atmosphere with Christian values. The English Martyrs Catholic Voluntary Academy is a small Voluntary Aided Catholic Academy with 135 children aged between 4-11 years on its roll. It welcomes children of any faith, or none, to join its friendly school.

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Catmose Primary School is a 210-place Academy which is the feeder school for Catmose College rated Outstanding by Ofsted. The school motto is ‘Success Achieved Together’ which underpins all strategies in place at the school.

Brooke Priory is an independent co-educational preparatory school in the heart of Oakham which takes children from 2-11. It is a fee-paying school and has a specifically tailored curriculum which offers broad and varied opportunities which place activity, exploration and investigation at their core.

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How to make that important decision… 

All of the schools offer a virtual tour at the time of writing but if you can visit in person it’s worth looking around during the day when classes are in progress and getting a feel of the school. 

Think about your child’s learning style. Do they learn best by seeing how things work? By listening? Or reading? Is your child musical or artistic? Do they love physical activity?  

Make notes to take with you to school and list the important things you need to consider and discuss with the Head teacher or member of staff who shows you round. 

Find out about the school’s ethos and values. Does it have many Pupil Premium students and adequate support? Does it have many children with English as a second language and is there  effective provision in place for them? 

If your child has special learning needs that will of course be your priority, and you will need to find out if the school has the necessary support to accommodate his or her requirements. 

Note if the school is clean and tidy. If the staff are friendly and helpful, and if the students seem well behaved and happy. Have a look at work on display in corridors and classrooms and find out about school meals – see the food if your visit overlaps into lunchtime. 

Is walking to school important? Or would other factors conclude in you being happy for your child to be driven, cycle, or take the bus to school every day? 

At primary school level you may also need to take into consideration extra-curricular activities and after-school care if you need to leave your child for the full working day. 

Find out about the school 

Before you visit do your homework and find out as much as you can about the school. Read through their website, look at their social media pages and see if there are reviews anywhere online. Some sites such as Gov.uk will provide you with lots of information. Others show reviews, but beware, some ask you to pay. Local newspapers’ digital websites are a good way to read articles about the school. 

Rutland has a wealth of schools offering many different opportunities for children to develop academic, social, sporting, and creative skills, not just those mentioned. Don’t be completely guided by OFSTED results. Some may have not been examined for a few years and may have greatly improved. 

Your child may be suited to a small village school on the banks of Rutland Water, or in a large primary school in the heart of town. Lots of research and at least one visit can help you make that choice. 

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