As the time comes when year 6 pupils and parents across the land are preparing to choose their senior school our principal Miss Alison Mobbs answers some of the frequently asked questions.

How to choose a secondary school

The move from primary to secondary school is an exciting, but potentially nerve-wracking time for pupils and parents alike. Our Principal Alison Mobbs has gone through the admissions process herself as a parent, and guided hundreds of parents through the process in her years as a school leader and here she answers some of the most frequently asked questions, to help make the decision-making process that bit easier.

Do we really have a choice?

Yes you do. It really is worth taking the time to make an informed decision. Go and visit the schools you are considering, see how it works, get a feel for their ethos and think about whether it is a good fit for your child. You do have a choice, so use it wisely.

Here at Lynn Grove Academy we are holding an open evening on 17 September and there is also the opportunity to visit throughout a school day, just get in touch to arrange it.

Aren’t all schools pretty much the same?

No. Every good school is ambitious for its pupils, but how they realise their ambitions varies massively from school to school.

At Lynn Grove Academy, we work hard to ensure that every young person has the academic foundations they need to be successful in school, and in life. We are proud that our pupils have achieved excellent GCSE results over a sustained period of years. However, we know that a school is much more than exam results. We want young people to have the opportunity to discover what they are good at – in the classroom and out of it. We have a broad curriculum to ensure that children can follow their dreams and develop into artists, musicians, sportspeople, poets, etc.

The size of a school is also an important difference. At Lynn Grove our motto is “small enough to know every child, big enough to be exciting.” Because of our size we organise the school carefully so our staff know all their pupils well – they know how they learn, what motivates them and how to encourage them to do their best. However, as a fairly large school we can also offer an unusually wide range of subjects and enrichment – so that every child try a wide range of different things and so can discover what they are good at.

What should I look out for when we visit schools on their open evenings?

Open Evenings are really busy but do try to talk to the pupils – they can be relied on to give you a fair account of school life. Are the teachers engaging – can you imagine them inspiring your son or daughter? Have a good look at the displays around the school – do they reflect a rich and varied school life.

Great schools have fantastic libraries which inspire a love of reading so make sure you check in with the librarian. Try to find out about the PE provision in the school do – do they encourage a good balance of ‘elite’ playing and sport for general enjoyment and health – this is a good indicator of the ethos of the school.

My child is determined to go to the same school as his best friend but I am not sure this is a great idea?

Pupils in junior schools tend to forget that in secondary schools they will have lessons in a variety of classes so might not spend so much time in lessons with their special friends. At Lynn Grove Academy some lessons will be taught in form groups and other subjects will have different groupings so you get to meet lots of people. Most children quickly make plenty of new friends when they arrive in secondary school.

At Lynn Grove we work very closely with the local (and not so local) junior schools and we offer plenty of opportunities through year 5 & 6 to get to know us. Do watch out for our great holiday clubs too. One of the good things about going to a big school like Lynn Grove Academy is that young people are very likely to find like-minded people to make friends with.

Is there anything else I should look out for?

I think it’s worth remembering when you visit schools that one of their core purposes should be to prepare their pupils for the next stage. How will the school really help your son or daughter on their way? At Lynn Grove Academy, for example, we place a lot of emphasis on developing social skills and building confidence and we do this by offering lots of leadership opportunities. Another thing to think about is the exam results. Do the pupils make good progress whatever their starting point? At Lynn Grove our pupils have achieved improving results year on year for several years across a wide range of subjects. Those good grades along with good social skills prepare our pupils well for their next stage.

Will I be sure to get a place at my first choice of school?

All school have “Admissions Arrangements” and are required by law to publish them in detail on their website (See our Policies page). If a school has more children apply than it has places available, the local authority, in the case of Lynn Grove Academy – Norfolk Admissions -, will use the ‘admissions criteria’ to decide who gets a place. At Lynn Grove Academy our feeder primary schools are Hillside, Homefield, Moorlands, Woodlands and Wroughton. Our catchment area is wide and traditionally children join us from a great variety of primary schools. At Lynn Grove Academy we are allowed to offer 10% of our places to pupils with potential in the Design Technology subjects so if your child likes designing and making this could be an interesting option for them. Although we were oversubscribed last year we will do everything we can to assure places for all children who would like to come to Lynn Grove Academy.