When we first had to make a choice about secondary schools for our first child in 2001, we were concerned. There were local stories about bad behaviour, bullying low standards and poor teaching. We could have afforded to opt out and send him to a fee paying school. However we made a point of visiting the school and talked to staff and checked it out for our selves. The reality we found was totally different from the rumours that we heard. We made a decision to support the school and get involved - taking in interest in developments, working with the teachers and supporting our children. 10 years later, all our children have gone through the school ( the youngest is still there). The two who have now left excelled academically - one is just finishing at Oxford University and the other is hoping to include Oxbridge as one of his University choices. The school has improved beyond expectations. There is a new school building, the children get a well rounded education which includes the performing arts as well as more academic subjects. Results are above national average (starting from being in lowest quartile 10 years ago). And they have a made friends with pupils from all walks of life - it is 'comprehensive' in all aspects. The moral of the story is work with your local school, take an interest (I am now Chair of Governors) in your children's education and you too can help develop outstanding schools such as this. Opting out is the easy option. Everyone benefits from a good local school.