Ex & I just can't agree on school choices

(102 Posts)
UnbridledPositivity Wed 26-Dec-12 19:55:48

What do we do to solve this? We agree on our third choice, but he wants school A as first choice, school B as second choice, and I want it the other way round.

Help! (To give the whole picture: all schools are more or less fine. I will be doing school runs without a car, school B is on my way to work, school A is opposite direction. This doesn't affect my choice really, it's more that I didn't like several aspects and the general feel of school A.

Ex is adamant he didn't like the feel of school B as it reminds him of schools he went to. I've heard many positive things about school B, some negative about A. Ex's boss is a governor at school A.

UnbridledPositivity Wed 26-Dec-12 19:57:08

Oh yes, some teachers at other schools have taken against school A, but Ex thinks they're just being silly/dismissive/don't like change.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 26-Dec-12 20:14:01

Which are you most likely to get into? Surely if A is a long shot it would be better to put B first.

learnandsay Wed 26-Dec-12 20:42:58

I think the local authorities publish rules on which parent decides in the case where the two no longer live together.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Dec-12 16:27:51

Ultimately if you can't decide it will be a court who decides if you take it this far. I have been advised this by my solicitor.

naturalbaby Thu 27-Dec-12 16:31:25

ask your child!
Is there anything in the Ofstead reports that stand out - for and against? What about extra curricular provision? Forget about what you and your ex like - you aren't the ones going there. Look at which one stands out in areas your dc is interested in e.g my boys are really into sport so we chose a very sporty school.

prh47bridge Thu 27-Dec-12 16:39:09

I'm afraid Learnandsay is wrong. It is not up to the LA to decide which parent gets to choose.

If you and your ex both have PR you must agree the choice between you. If you are unable to do so it is open to either of you to take the matter to court where the judge will decide for you. You really want to avoid that.

Think about how likely you are to get in to these schools. If school A is a long shot you might as well put it as first choice as you are likely to end up with school B anyway. Putting school A first will not harm your chances of getting in to school B. It will simply mean that, if both schools have places for your child, you will be offered school A.

UnbridledPositivity Thu 27-Dec-12 16:41:06

Hmm. School A is too new to have had an Ofsted report - it's a free school. They get 'experts' in for sport & music extra-curriculars. School B seems pretty average, ie just normal. Some after school clubs etc. Good Ofsted report.

Our council's rules say if parents can't agree, they'll have to wait until after appeals are done, and then a place will be allocated at the closest school which still has one available. So that will not be an option. DD is too young to ask really (3), she says she wants to go to school B as she sees it every day on the way to nursery. Her dad has been trying to influence her towards school A, saying things like 'it looks just like my office', and trying to make it sound exciting. hmm

AnneElliott Thu 27-Dec-12 16:42:57

Surely if you are doing the drop offs you should get final say if both schools are similar? Unless he's offering to do them? My friend had this issue and I found it surprising that her ex had such an opinion without visiting either or knowing anything about it! I think in the end she applied on line as child lives with her. He wasn't aware which school she had put first and they got 3rd choice anyway which they did agree on.

GateGipsy Thu 27-Dec-12 20:46:09

what would happen if you put the application through anyway? My friend and her ex disagreed. He wanted school A, lovely and very middle class, but no after school, while she wanted school B, lovely but more diverse and with an after school. She had to work and there was no way she could do it without after school (and he wasn't about to give up work to do the school run) so she just put the application through herself for school B. I reckon he really wants School A to curry favour with the boss.

naturalbaby Thu 27-Dec-12 21:01:23

Have you actually been for a look round the schools?

I know they are too young to ask, it was a bit tongue in cheek but the point is it's down to which school suits your child. If you're really stuck then write down the pros and cons on paper and see if that helps.

prh47bridge Thu 27-Dec-12 23:58:05

Does your ex have PR? If he does you need to come to an agreement with him.

What are your chances of getting into these schools? If you are uncertain, PM me some details on the schools involved and I will try to advise.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 00:54:41

He has PR, and that is why, if I do the application online without telling him, he will go ABSOLUTELY mental. He would go mental even if he didn't bring this up again of his own accord until the day after the deadline and I had applied on the last possible day. He is absolutely solid in his opinion, I am slightly less solid, but quite certain about what I want. It's also annoying that his rigidness is preventing any really meaningful discussion of (dis-)advantages of each school.

School A seemed to be keen to produce lots of children who think they're better than others - this is really not how I want to bring up my DD. Ex visited the school in his suit and probably made a good impression, whereas I went in my normal mums uniform of boots, skirt & coat, and felt really not welcome. I know I won't go to school there, but rather my DD, but I don't want her to have daily interaction with people who seem to decide who is worthy of their effort and attention.

We have both looked at both schools on the same day but separately, but got completely different impressions. I have no idea about the chances of getting into either of these two schools - how would I find out? One doesn't have a catchment area as such, the other isn't our catchment school and is ca. 0.7 miles as the crow flies.

So the ridiculous thing is that DD might not get into either of these schools.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 28-Dec-12 07:11:24

The local authority publishes data about which categories of children got into the school and how far away the children came from this should help you find out how likely you are to get in .

Xenia Fri 28-Dec-12 07:27:31

No contest - the posher new free school. Why do you not want to advantage your child? How weird. Also why would you not want the child somewhere where it's father then has something in common with his boss? It will help him keep his job, bond him in at work and ultimately financially be in theinterests of you and your child surely?

Obviously academic selective private schools are better at this age than state schools anyway but if you have to go second best and into the state system go for the new free school.

BranchingOut Fri 28-Dec-12 07:38:52

Would the free school A come with higher expectations of parental involvement?

Is your ex prepared to play his part in this?

Is he going to do anything to support school run arrangements?

I must admit, I would avoid school A myself for the simple reason that new schools, until they settle down, can be rather hit-and-miss. I have taught in two schools that were less than ten years old and they were both affected by a lack of organisation (the wheel having to be reinvented at every school event) and atypical ways of doing things. Both schools had been founded by individual HTs with very dominant personalities and an apparent desire to carve out the school in their own image, which led to some unhealthy management practices.

I suspect that parents tended to be quite happy while the school was small and their children tended to get lots of individual attention, but once the schools grew and the odd ways of doing things were no longer workable, parents then found these HT very difficult to approach.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 09:06:34

Yeah, thanks for calling me weird, Xenia.

School A would come with expectations of parental involvement, and that's what I like about it. Ex works very set hours whereas my job is very flexible at the moment, so school runs will fall to me. Otherwise DD would be in breakfast/after school club for the sake of him taking her.

He says he's keen to be involved, but going by how he's been about nursery, I do all organisational and social things, he goes to the occasional birthday party and nursery event, but I have to remind him of the time, organise presents, costume etc. Which is fine because I enjoy it, but I wish he would stop pretending he's majorly involved. Eg, I looked up open days and told him about them. He might eventually have looked them up, but I'm pretty certain he wouldn't have told me about them.

I don't think his relationship with his boss is a valid reason to choose a school. Of course I want DD to go to the best possible school. I wanted to look into a private school as we might potentially have been eligible for a bursary, making it the same fee as nursery, but he refused to even seriously discuss this as an option. Yes, it's great that DD would be likely to get lots of individual attention at school A, but I have heard a similar opinion about the role of the headmaster before, and this particular headmaster doesn't convince me.

Several of DD's nursery friends could potentially end up at school B. I don't think that's the most important reason - friendships change all the time, but surely that's a bit more important than her dad's boss. confused

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 09:09:07

Headmaster definitely in the process of carving the school in his own image!

Will see if I can find some statistics about children's distance from schools.

CecilyP Fri 28-Dec-12 11:31:36

What a strange world you inhabit, Xenia. Surely if ex keeping and progressing his job depends on attending school A, his boss would be acting wholly unprofessionally.

School A will not be any posher until the 'posh' children arrive. Maybe that's why the Head was so welcoming of suited and booted ex while not being so friendly to OP - perhaps by seeing her in her civvies, he perceived her as common! There are no obvious advantages in school A, nothing that is tried and tested, it is all just talk at present.

I don't really know what to suggest if your ex is reluctant to discuss. Perhaps you could both first produce a written table for the schools with pros and cons of each, then take it from there. I would definitely approach it from the angle of getting into whichever school you put as first choice.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 28-Dec-12 11:35:34

Have you considered mediation? This has been suggested to me for resolving my own different school disagreement.

lidlqueen Fri 28-Dec-12 11:38:18

if you are doing the school run then school B obviously.

I would not go for the free school. I pulled dd out of one run by a business person with no teaching experience in which the staff were not supported.

Two of the four teachers were unqualified including the head who taught full time.

Dd spent a year being taught by an unqualified head teacher who wasn't experienced enough to do both at same time so dd spent her time helping the younger ones. it was a shambles.

We looked round a free secondary here and I liked the look of it but seven of the forty children have now left since September which worries me.

Xenia Fri 28-Dec-12 12:31:05

Sorry, I didn't mean the original poster is weird. Just the reasoning. It just sounded like the free school is the better one. Keeping in with your boss is never a bad idea at work. If people think that doesn't help you at work they need to go on a human psychology course.

I certainly agree that new schools can sometimes be a risk. We picked schools which had had good exam results for 30 years as a pretty good marker.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 13:30:48

Generations of people have been taught at school B, and so far I've not heard a single bad word said about it, that includes a former governor.

The head of school A has previously been a headteacher, but was signed off with stress before starting this school.

Is the school run a valid reason for which school to choose?

MotherOfTheBritishEmpire Fri 28-Dec-12 13:42:39

Is the school run a valid reason for which school to choose?

Of course, especially if you would need before school childcare or breakfast club to enable you to get to school A and then to work on time.

But friends living nearby is also v important, IME.

Do you have a good chance of getting a place at either school?

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