Help available for Bedford parents trying to pick the right school for their children

But the council won't recommend one school over another

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:54 pm
The council’s chief officer for education advised parents to get a feel for schools when trying to pick the right one for their children

Help is available for parents in Bedford borough trying to pick the right school for their children - and make sense of information published by Ofsted.

But the borough council said that recommending one school over another would put it in a 'really difficult position'.

At yesterday’s (Monday, November 1) Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Bedford Borough councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant (Conservative, Great Barford Ward) asked what help is available for parents to choose the right school for their child.

She said: “We all know how important it is to get children the best education that we can, and how much it really affects their life and their prospects.

“What guidance is provided annually by the council to help parents choose the best school for their child and particularly going into reception?

"And what support is given to parents to understand all of the data that is provided by the Department for Education regarding the different results and the subsets of data that lies beneath it?

“It's something that we've been looking into as a family and as someone who is a layperson to all this, there's a lot to understand."

Ben Pearson the council’s chief officer for education, SEND and school infrastructure, replied: "We publish admissions guidance on the council website, which we have to publish.

"What that doesn't do is go into qualitative information school by school. We are not required to do that."

He added that recommending one school above another school would put the council in a "really difficult position".

The committee was told that schools have the responsibility to publish information about their offer to all children, and particularly about their offer to more vulnerable children on their website.

This has to follow very specific criteria set by the Department for Education.

Mr Pearson added: "What I would say to any prospective parent is the only person that knows your child the way that you do, is you.

"Go and speak to the headteacher, go and speak to the teachers, go and speak to other parents, speak to other children that are accessing a school.

"The school that is the best fit for your family might not be for the next family and vice versa.

"It really is a personal preference, and I really do strongly believe that.

"Get a feel for the school, and then if there are more questions, there are people within the council who'll talk people through either the process or what some of that data might mean, and what some of the Ofsted information might mean."