Help! Need to choose primary school today - can't decide!

(13 Posts)
WeBuiltThePyramids Fri 15-Jan-16 10:11:41

So the deadline is looming in 14 hours, and I still can't decide between two schools for DC3 to start reception in September!

We're choosing between School A and School B, both faith schools within the same parish. For background, DC1 spent his first two years at School A some years ago, but had to leave after DC2 couldn't get a place. DC1 and 2 ended up at School C, 2.5 miles away. DC1 is now at secondary and DC2 in year 5, and whilst I really like School C, I'm utterly fed up with having to drive and battle traffic, problems with being "out of area" for friends and clubs, so it's not an option for DC3.

School A is about 15 mins walk, probably the closest school that we can get a place at (out of all schools), nice school with very good reputation and KS2 results etc, usually very popular (partly school snobbery I think - in a very MC area). Friends will live locally, DC3 will probably also know some children from her (local) preschool starting there. On the downside - the Head has changed since DC1 was there and I didn't particularly warm to her on the open day but she seemed OK. Lots of homework.

School B is 1.5 miles away, we could walk it at a push but it would take 30 mins+ so won't happen regularly. In a much more socially mixed area, this doesn't matter in itself, but prob explains why it's not been as oversubscribed historically. Loved the school at the open day, headteacher seemed great and very approachable. KS2 results etc v good. Downside is driving every day and having friends who will live over the other side of the parish, which can be problematic with traffic etc.

Both schools are good and both are named feeders into DC1's secondary school. I'm torn because DH and I preferred School B at the open day, as against a dread of repeating the last 5 years of having to drive and having friends and activities all based out of our area at difficult times of day and evening while I'm juggling three DCs (heart vs head). An added complication is that DC2 has been on the in-year waiting list for School A (various reasons) for a while, and a place has now become available - although the school won't tell us whether she is top of the waiting list or not, and we won't know by tonight (whole other thread there!). I don't know if this should affect our decision or if we should very the two DCs entirely separately!!

Sorry for essay - thanks for reading smile

treesarebrown Fri 15-Jan-16 10:38:23

How new is the new head? It might be worth ringing some of preschool friends' parents who have older children at school A and doing some digging about how the new head is really doing.

Where we live we also have 2 schools in one local area and it does not seem to be that most children go to the local one (schools have very different ethos) so it might well be that your child could still end up with friends living further away even at school A. In year 6 DC2 could probably walk home from school A while you collect DC3 from school B so less of an issue if you go for school B. However might DC2 feel bad if has moved to school A and you don't feel school A is good enough for DC3?

FishWithABicycle Fri 15-Jan-16 10:46:16

I would go for school A in these circumstances.

But none of us have actually seen the schools so it's got to be your choice.

How to know what you really think when you aren't sure: Toss a coin for it - Heads=A and Tails=B - whichever way it comes down, if you feel a moment of happiness when you see the result, then that was the right choice. If you feel a stab of disappointment, then the right choice is the other one.

WeBuiltThePyramids Fri 15-Jan-16 10:48:49

She's not brand new, just new since we left, so she's been there about 5 years. Friends with DC there say she's fine.

Re the local friends, I think the reality is with these particular schools that because school A is traditionally so much more popular more people will put it first, so places will generally go to local children. It does also have the advantage of being within our local community whilst school B - although not far away and same LEA - comes under a different local district for community events etc.

I know what you mean about dc2 - I think this is a big worry for me. She struggles at school compared to her siblings and I don't want her thinking we'll send her somewhere but not dc3. I know she would love them to be at the same school.

The flip side is that I have asked dc2 about moving to school B but she won't as she doesn't know anyone there but has good friends at school A. So it's not clear cut!

Ginmummy1 Fri 15-Jan-16 11:22:50

I'd also be inclined towards school A in these circumstances, but agree with FishWithABicycle that it can only be your choice.

treesarebrown Fri 15-Jan-16 11:39:03

I think I would lean towards school A if the head is established and there is a possibility dc2 might get a place there as it sounds like she will need support and school might be more supportive of her if your other child is there and it will be easier for you if you are dealing with one school. Some children leave at the end of year 5, particularly from middle class good schools, to go private so there is a chance that another place might come up from this sort of school.

But I like the flip a coin idea

starry0ne Fri 15-Jan-16 11:45:33

School A sounds the better choice to me too..Is this because of what you have wrote..

I always wanted a local school for my DS....

One thing I have also learned is it doesn't really matter what my opinion is on a teacher DS learns far better when he likes his teacher..

99percentchocolate Fri 15-Jan-16 12:26:45

Definitely school A, especially if it's your catchment. Do you only get one choice in your area then? I'm feeling very spoilt with 4!

WeBuiltThePyramids Fri 15-Jan-16 12:55:25

we get 3 choices 99percentchocolate but because of the faith-based admissions criteria we're likely to get offered whichever school we put first smile I know, we're lucky. The other school will go second.

For our third choice we're weighing up our very closest school which last year only made offers to children within 0.25 miles (we're not) or a brand new school. We might actually end up tossing a coin on that one blush

teeththief Fri 15-Jan-16 18:42:14

I'd go with A too and keep everything crossed for DC2. The LEA should know if the place at school A is going to be offered to your DC2 surely? It's not up to the school decide is it?

Good luck!

MarthaMonkeynuts Fri 15-Jan-16 18:45:19

school A

Inkymess Fri 15-Jan-16 21:13:11

A as we have 10 min walk to school and would not change that ever. Get DC3 in then appeal to get DC2 in

WeBuiltThePyramids Fri 15-Jan-16 23:04:41

I've gone with A. Application submitted, big sigh of relief.

I still love School B but when there's a perfectly good school less than half a mile away it's a no-brainer really. I have hated having to drive every day for the last five years.

Admissions committee are meeting this week about the place in DC2's year. She is one of two waiting, so keep your fingers crossed smile

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