In that I shouldn't have to keep explaining our school choice

(37 Posts)
Loumar82 Sun 04-Sep-16 16:38:01

My dd turned 11 yesterday and so it's time to apply for her secondary school. She currently attends a brilliant CofE primary school around three miles away and this school feeds into an equally brilliant secondary school that is around the same distance but a little closer to home. I decided to opt for a primary further away as most of the schools in our area weren't good enough, and as she was baptised we had the option to choose other schools.

From her starting at primary i knew she'd probably end up going to the feeder secondary and as it turns out my daughter is adamant she wants to go and she will move up with the majority of her year. My problem is I've had a few people question me (rather intently) about our choice and why I would want my dd going to a school further out when there's a perfectly good secondary school on our doorstep.

Well yesterday I had a friend come over who's got a dd the same age as mine so she'll be moving to secondary as well. We got to chatting and she got on to the subject of choosing schools and well she grilled me! I told her that we wanted our dd to go to the CofE school as we felt it was better fit for her. I didn't go into too much detail at first but she carried on asking questions ie why the school down the road isn't good enough for my dd, what's wrong with the school, why don't I want my dd to have local friends etc. She got rather arsey with me actually and she just couldn't accept what I was saying.

You see I'm a sahm at the moment and if my dd wants a lift to school it won't be a problem as I'll be dropping her db off at primary anyway and both schools are two minutes apart. If she wants to get the bus home with friends, which she probably will do as a lot of kids round here go to the school (even though it's three miles out we are in one of the parishes) then that's no problem either as there's a direct bus route.

The secondary school down the road just isn't good enough. It has a horrible feel to it (I've visited twice) has shocking exam results and ofsted reports and in general has a bad reputation. My friend just couldn't understand why I would chose not to send my dd there but it's very obvious why. She doesn't feel it's fair my dd gets slightly more choices of school just because she's baptised but that's not my problem, I don't make the rules after all. I don't know what her problem is really as she's already said she's chosen the local school because she can't be bothered to get up early and drive her dd to school, but that doesn't bother me, and yes I know I'm a sahm but my dd is capable of getting the bus if I go back to work. My friend in my opinion is going for the easiest option and what is best for her, and that's fine, just admit it, and don't have a go at me for choosing differently.

kittymamma Sun 04-Sep-16 16:46:17

Are you asking if your friend was reasonable to ask you? Or if people in general were?

I would question a friend on their choice of school if my DD was moving up the same year. I would ask because I would want an honest opinion and want to know if they know something I don't and ask to ensure I make the correct choice for my family. I would only ask though if I had an open mind to the answer. That is reasonable and you may very well get questioned by your other mum friends for this reason.

Your friend though is using questioning you to complain about religious schools. To an extent, I get it, religious schools get money from the LEA and then get to pick and choose who they want, it isn't really fair imo. However, I say this as someone who went to a very good Catholic school because my older brother had been baptised and so I got priority admission (Just call me a hypocrite!). She is totally unreasonable to do this, it is the system that isn't fair, not you, you have to do what is best for your child.

Loumar82 Sun 04-Sep-16 16:51:07

Yeah I know what you're saying it isn't always fair. At the secondary school we are choosing though they have taken non baptised children over the years so mt friend could apply for her dd to go there too but she doesn't want to. I didn't mind her questioning me as such and making general comments but like I said she got all uppity because I wasn't prepared to chose the same as her and then felt the need to try and make me feel guilty saying my dd wouldn't have local friends and she'd have to travel etc.

FitbitAddict Sun 04-Sep-16 16:52:40

You're lucky if she can get in there just for being baptised. Round here you had to go to church at least three times a month for a minimum of two years AND be involved in the church through the PCC, Mothers Union, readings, tea rota etc. and have a reference from the vicar.

RunningLulu Sun 04-Sep-16 16:55:36

I think you're being unreasonable not to show some sympathy to her. Isn't Christianity about compassion?

Loumar82 Sun 04-Sep-16 16:55:42

We do go to church but probably only once a month. There's no stipulation at all to go to church just to be baptised and living in the parish.

RunningLulu Sun 04-Sep-16 16:56:17

Agreed fitbit. Same here. Same where I'm originally from too.

Discobabe Sun 04-Sep-16 16:56:52

Asking why the school isn't good enough just reeks of her own insecurity about her decision. I once had a colleague make sarcastic comments about how the nursery her kids went to obviously wasn't good enough for mine (her nursery was in the same town we worked in, the one I used was out of my way in the next town along). I didn't even look at 'her' nursery due to hearing all her complaints about it. So no, it wasn't good enough for us grin

wizzywig Sun 04-Sep-16 16:57:05

yep. I've had this same situation where people question why i hire a tutor for my kids. they know my kids have sen, thats why i hire a tutor. yet I'm made to feel as though I'm some kind of pushy mum because I'm not just sending them to school plus doing homework. i don't tell anyone bar teachers that i also take them to museums etc etc. we live in a village where the local schools are all outstanding and achieve amazing results. its apparently ok to push kids with sports and/ or music but nothing academic. sod them all, i know my kids best. hope your daughter enjoys her new school.

Loumar82 Sun 04-Sep-16 16:58:16

Of course it is. But let me just say I may be baptised, and go to church here and there but I'm not a devout heavily practicing Christian. There's nothing to be compassionate about though here I don't think. She's got a decent chance of getting her dd into the school but she doesn't want that. I however want this for my own child so why get on at me for it.

thecraftyfox Sun 04-Sep-16 17:04:05

Just make absolutely sure of the admission criteria and if you are adamant she isn't going to the local school look at other schools too. We have hundrds of parents every year going through the process who end up bitterly disappointed because the one school they wanted they didn't get and they have no contingency plan.

Scarydinosaurs Sun 04-Sep-16 17:05:06

This is EXACTLY the compassion that you should be showing. If a CofE school is good enough for your DD, then this value (that she will be encouraged to embrace at school) is the one you should be showing to your friend.

She is your friend, she has made her choice, she asked you questions about yours- be generous in your thoughts that she was just worried about your DD, and at worst is projecting guilt onto you. So what if she was. These are HER issues. Let it go, and focus on the other more pleasant sides of your friendship.

MaryField Sun 04-Sep-16 17:05:53

She may have a decent chance of getting the current child in but younger siblings will rank under baptised children in a bumper baptised year so could possibly not get in. Maybe she doesn't want this so as far as she's concerned she doesn't have a choice. State religious schools create an unfair advantage that should be abolished, just try and understand that you have benefitted from it so a little compassion wouldn't go amiss. Just nod amiably.

smokeybandit Sun 04-Sep-16 17:07:06

She probably feels a bit put out that you don't feel the school her dd is going to is good enough for yours? I would wonder too if I was her but it would be one or two questions then that's it, if I wanted to know more I'd look at the school for myself.

My dc's both went to catholic primary school and both had single sex secondaries attached to them that most of the kids go to. Mine decided they didn't want to carry on with faith based education (I didn't like either of the schools myself) so they've gotten into what we feel (and have proven so far) to be better "community" schools. Got some questioning about it at first, but I explained our reasons and left it at that. Each to their own at the end of the day.

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 04-Sep-16 17:09:17

People are weird about secondary school choices. They just are. Round here there are two main choices and they don't half split opinion. But generally, people just keep their heads down and make the right choice for your child. So yes, your friend is being a bit over the top and you may need to just practice being a broken record about how it's the right choice for your child.

christinarossetti Sun 04-Sep-16 17:16:46

Schools do drive parents crazy. It seems as though some making different choices is somehow criticising your choice, and people often defend their choices by criticising schools they know nothing about . I've lost count of the number of people who have told me that my children's school is 'terrible' over the years, having not set foot inside it.

Just smile, do the best for your child and ignore the nonsense.

debfro Sun 04-Sep-16 17:20:01

Hi don't bother to defend your choices to anyone. I had a lot of stick from people when I sent my children to two different schools both 40 minutes from home in the opposite directions. My daughter goes to a private school my son to a good academy with an autistic unit attached. Both kids were different and I picked the school to suit them rather than the one that was closest. Just do whats best for your daughter. My kids don't play out with local kids which is a bonus tbh.

itsmine Sun 04-Sep-16 17:21:42

Education is emotive, it's all very unbalanced with faith schools and grammars available to a select few.

Mine have attended faith and non faith, just depending on what's local.

The same choice should be available to everyone though. Until that is changed people of course are going to send their dc to faith or grammar schools if they can.

All you can do is accept it isn't a fair system, people will clearly feel disgruntled about it and avoid the subject grin

Loumar82 Sun 04-Sep-16 17:25:34

But why should she wonder why the school she's chosen isn't good enough for my dd? I honestly don't care were people, including close friends of mine chose to send their DC. It's not of my business and as long as they're happy with their choice that's all that matters surely.

Loumar82 Sun 04-Sep-16 17:30:20

It isn't a fair system I admit it but why should people who are eligible to apply for faith or grammar schools not take advantage of it? After all we all want a good education for our kids and if we can get it then why not. I have a couple of friends who pay thousands every year to send their kids to private school and I don't get crazy over it. I can't afford to send my own kids even though I would if I could. It's just one of those things.

Benedikte2 Sun 04-Sep-16 17:32:46

Maybe your friend was hoping you could help each other out with picking up children or being home for them after school, attend school events together? Whatever her motives it seems to be rather self centred. You can fib and tell her you've nothing against the local school but the system she's currently in suits your daughter and she wants to remain with her classmates, which is true. Your family, your decision.
Good luck

Hoppinggreen Sun 04-Sep-16 17:33:07

Try watching your so called friends faces when you turn down a place at your local ( well regarded) secondary that half of them failed to get a place in AND you turned down a pace at the selective Grammar that most of the other half didn't get a place at!!!
You don't need to justify yourself OP

QueenofLouisiana Sun 04-Sep-16 17:37:25

DS starts secondary school tomorrow. I am so glad to have Yr6 over with, it's just not true! Parents worry about the choices, they worry they won't make the right choices, they worry that the children would rather make a different choice or hate the choice that their children express. It's just messy all round.

Then there's all the friendship shuffles according to who ends up going to which school. The rows over who's is "best". I wish I could say this was just amongst the children it isn't.

DS isn't going to the same school as a close friend, who's mum I work with. His mum was a bit funny about it and questioned the choice a lot. Ultimately we chose the school which was the best fit for DS, we were fortunate to have no other constraints. Other families had other priorities to take into account.

What I did learn from it all is how I need to be more patient with the families of my Yr6 class this year. I now totally understand the stress in a way I didn't a year ago.

itsmine Sun 04-Sep-16 17:40:46

' have a couple of friends who pay thousands every year to send their kids to private school and I don't get crazy over it. I can't afford to send my own kids even though I would if I could. It's just one of those things.'

I know and I agree with you. Life isn't fair, private health care, private education, grammars etc etc but faith schools seem to make a lot of people furious.

I couldn't imagine, for example, taking advantage of a grammar school system but then spit feathers over those that use faith schools, but plenty on mn do believe me. They'll be along any minute to bollock you I imagine.

I once had a friend who could hardly look me in the eye because my parents provided child care <their choice> when dc were pre school. She had to use a nursery and was just seething. She even introduced me as 'itsmine, she doesn't pay for childcare ' she is of course, an ex friend now. Perhaps yours needs to be too?grin

EllyMayClampett Sun 04-Sep-16 17:49:30

Your friend was being unreasonable. You don't control the system. Your friend should be protesting through the ballot box and getting politically active, not meaning at you which won't help at all.

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