Tip #1 - (I'm not even sure if there will be Tip #2, but here's today's tip for this conversation):
When I say "Oh last week we went and had a look at X school, I really liked it and my child seemed happy with the idea of going there" please don't reply with, "Really? I've heard terrible things about that school, Mary Jo from down the road (you know her Jenny don't you?) told me that her neighbour's cousin's child has gone there and got in with the wrong crowd and it has been a TOTAL disaster for their family. It will need to improve A LOT before I ever send my child there".
Just doesn't help.