Researching Our Options with School Reviewer

School ReviewerI’ve written here before about the potential conundrum with our school situation and with Sausage about to go into year 4, it’s becoming ever more pressing. When we moved to our little village, we gave Sausage three options. She could either quit school and be home educated, change schools to one more local to where we’re living, or stay where she is but have a bit of a commute each day. Ultimately, she decided to stay where she was and we weren’t unhappy about that as her current school is very good and was our only choice of Primary for her.

The conundrum happens when we start to factor in BB starting school in 2018, Sausage’s final year of primary. Do we send her to the same school as Sausage and tie ourselves into another 7 years of commuting a fair distance, send her to a primary closer to home and deal with very awkward school runs for a year (with both of them needing to be in different schools at the same times in the morning) or maybe even home educate BB for reception year until we know where Sausage will be going for secondary.

We recently happened upon School Reviewer, which really is a one-stop-shop for everything school related and it’s been an absolutely invaluable resource for us while we mull over this decision. They say:

School Reviewer is so much more than just a review site

  • It’s the only site with unique video walkthroughs to show how to score a 100% on Maths GCSE and SATs papers.
  • The only site with a unique Buy and Sell section specific to individual schools.
  • A site with a unique catchment area heat map for every state school in the UK.
  • A site that has discussion forums for parents on a local and national basis. A site that is recruiting tutors for free to create the biggest and most trusted tutor site for parents in the UK.
  • A site where you can read or write reviews about your child’s school to help other parents.
  • In fact, it’s the perfect choice for you and your child’s educational journey.

As well as allowing us to get a really comprehensive overview of all of the schools in our area, it’s also a fab resource for tutors, something we’re considering in the run up to the 11+. However, if a tutor is not within budget, School Reviewer also sells practice exam papers for SATs and GCSEs, with 11+ papers to be added to the site really soon. I really like the idea of being able to test Sausage at home and having access to official papers will make this so much easier.School Reviewer Buy and Sell

I think my favourite feature, however, is the buy and sell section, which School Reviewer have recently made completely free to use. You can buy and sell things which are specific to your school, allowing you to grab bargains like nearly-new school uniform, text books and other stuff for a fraction of the price. The back to school period can be ridiculously expensive so giving parents a way to save money is really positive, as well as allowing you to make a few quid off of anything that you no longer need.

All in all, I think the people behind School Reviewer are absolute geniuses. I’m not aware of any other sites which offer such a thorough overview of all things school related and I’ll be recommending it to basically anyone who will listen! Head over to the site to take a look yourself.


Education · Family · Life

Which GCSE’s Would You Take Now?

With all the talk of exam results this week, I got to thinking about what GSCE subjects I’d have chosen if I could choose them now. I always think that 14 is such a young age to make the decision, especially as we had it drummed into us that we needed to make the right choices so that we could study what we wanted at A-Level and then Degree level, which is effectively asking a person who’s barely out of puberty to decide what they still want to be doing, 5 days out of seven, until they’re almost 70.

I know that plenty of people retrain or their careers develop into something different, but with education now more expensive than ever, I imagine that kids from families who aren’t wealthy are feeling the pressure to make the right decision as this may be their one opportunity at education. Anyway, I digress.

When I took my options, I struggled. The subjects that I liked the most were English, Maths and Science, which were all compulsory anyway, so choosing the others was an arduous task. I ended up taking English Literature, English Language, Maths, Triple Award Science (which I eventually ended up cutting down to Double Award), IT, Drama, RE and History. We also got a grade for English Speaking and Listening, for which I got an A, so I still put that one on my CV! So what would I take now?

1. Home Economics

I’m pretty sure that the only reason I didn’t do Home Ec was because it was scheduled at the same time as something else I wanted to take, but if I had the chance again, I’d definitely opt for this subject. Maybe it’s the beauty of hindsight, but as an adult I adore sewing and cooking (although can’t claim to be hugely brilliant at either…) and I would have loved to carry on with it past the age of 14.

2. French

I had absolute nightmares with languages at school and wasn’t very good and either French or German, although I still think that this is because of the way we’re taught languages. When you have a baby, that baby learns to speak first then once they’ve been speaking for a while they learn to read and write. This seems like a natural, organic way to learn a language, but at school we were drilled on tenses and whether things were masculine and feminine and it just didn’t soak into my brain. However, if I’d known how hard it was going to be to try and learn as an adult, I might have tried a bit flippin’ harder!

3. Art

When I was younger, I had it drummed into me that Art was a cop-out subject; I wasn’t going to be an artist, so why take art? However, as an adult I find silly things like doodling and colouring really theraputic but don’t have any confidence so I don’t do anything bigger like painting, despite the fact that I think I’d love it…I just don’t know where to start.

4. Philosophy and Ethics

Now, maybe I’m only making this choice because I’m a adult, I suspect that philosophy may have blown my tiny mind when I was 14, but if there’s one thing that most kids could do with, it’s a bit of introspection! Had I the opportunity now, I think I’d find Philosophy absolutely fascinating and the skills you gain from writing essays which simply postulate a theory would actually be quite useful in life (as opposed to vectors in GCSE maths, which I don’t thing I’ve ever used, bloody ever), even if just for the ability to communicate a thought or idea.

So, if you had your chance all over again, what would you choose? Would you do exactly the same and follow the same life path and career that you have now, or would you go for something entirely different? I’d love to know.