Argh! Some of you might remember me, but most probably not as not an unusual story... We moved to an area of London last July mostly due to DS1 starting primary school this year and we chose the area because of its numerous 'good' primary schools in the area, the year before last, we would have gotten in at least 2 of the local schools but thanks to baby boom, we got allocated none of the 5 local primaries in the area, and got sent to one almost 2 miles away. After a lot of panic and soul searching (and going to look at the school), we made the decision to put DS1 in a small prep school 3 miles away. He started 4 weeks ago, loved it and we have no complaints about the school. In the meantime, I've been calling up the local council about our position on the wait list for local state schools, we were anything from 7th to 30-something. There was also a small C of E school 5-10 minutes walk away, because it's C of E (we don't go to church) and small (only one form of entry) and rated outstanding, we didn't expect to get in there. We were 6th on their wait list, stayed there the whole summer and just when school started, we were 3rd.
Today, I got a phone call completely out of the blue from the headmaster of the C of E school, 'informally' offering us a place! Essentially, a mum has just informed him she will be taking her DC out of reception to home-school, she has yet to inform the local council but that would be her next step. The headteacher thought time was imperative and called us to let us know so we could arrange to meet him and see the school before a place is offered formally. I was in shock! In all reality, I expected we would be offered a place in one of the local schools but not before Christmas. DH is away on a work so but I've managed quick chat with him to tell him we now have an appointment to see the HT and see the school on Tuesday morning.
I know we have to wait till we meet the HT and see the school before we make the decision. But it's going to be difficult isn't it? We went to the school's summer fete to have a nose and DH remarked what a nice little school it felt like. We don't know anyone having kids in there being new to the area but all the 3rd hand reviews and experiences of the school have been very positive. But it's never going to compare to the prep school DS1 goes to, for one, he is in a class of 14 (as opposed to 30 in the state primary) and in their 4th week, they are already 'reading' some key words. On the other hand, it would be nice not to have to drive 15 minutes every morning to school, leaving even earlier as there could be traffic. The state primary is a 5-10 minute walk away. DS1 is very confident and has adjusted really well from his preschool to this prep school, so there is nothing to make me think he won't do it in the new school. Financially, it would be SO liberating not to think of having 2 set of private school fees to pay for the next 7 years (have DS2 who is 2 years younger so he will get a sibling place in the local state primary sparing us all the anguish we went through this year), we got a huge mortgage to pay for our current home and I think 1 set of fees is ok but 2 will be a stretch. My head is spinning going through all the for and against arguments. Just want to get it out and see if anyone has been in our position and moved their DC from private to state so early on and what happens? Thanks!
For all who are interested, we are going to go for the local state school. Met the HT who took us around the school and it is very lovely. We also met the reception class teacher and TA and the reception kids and they all seem very, very sweet. Nice space both indoor and outdoor. The HT has been a teacher there for 7 years and now head for 18 months and he's very happy with the team he has got, lives locally and looks set to stay. They've also been rated Outstanding across the board in their latest assessment so they are on track for an Outstanding Ofsted. I am picking DS1 up from school and bringing him to the new school after school today so he can meet his new teacher and HT and see his new school. They want him to start tomorrow as it's midweek and it won't be a long week for him. He has the option to do half a day tomorrow if he is unsettled so we shall see. It's such a lovely, little school we will be silly not to take the place seeing as we moved to the area for the schools in the first place before the school place fiasco! Thanks all for the support. Am glad the decision has been made.
Fingers crossed. I still have my heart in my mouth praying this is indeed the correct decision but had a lovely chat with my immediate neighbour who stressed what a great reputation the school has and how important it is that DS1 has local friends etc and I know she is right. Thanks all.
I am sure you are making the right decision. I know lots of kids who go from good State schools to very selective Private secondaries, and at least one where the Head privately prefers them to those from his own linked Prep. Key words sounds a very old fashioned way of teaching reading, even for the highly selective privates near me.
Having local friends and less petrol for the car, sound like other invaluable advantages. You will also have more money for extra curricula activities.
Angel - my friend just moved her DS from one school to another in reception last week (due to waiting list issues). The little boy has taken it completely in his stride. Much better to move now than after Christmas when he is fully settled. Good luck! Treat yourself to a lovely half term holiday with some of the money now saved.
DS1 has had a really lovely day. The HT called after lunch to say he has had a lovely morning and not to worry. When I went to pick DS1 up, the HT said he's fitting right in and it's like he's been here for years and that he loves the chickens the reception class has in their garden. The mums have obviously heard of our 'arrival' (small school and C of E so the mums do seem like they have known one another for years!) and the HT introduced to the 'class reps' who are collecting details of parents so we have one another's details. There's also talk of drinks at the local pub one evening for the parents. Very friendly bunch. DH has just come home and DS1 is talking his ear off about his day at school! I am so, so pleased.