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To disagree with friends over school choice

(71 Posts)
Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:02:32

My eldest child is 10 almost 11 and will go to secondary school this September. She goes to a faith school that is around two and a half miles from our home due to the fact all of the closer schools were dire at the time. The feeder secondary school I want dd to go to is the only outstanding secondary school in the borough and in my opinion is a fantastic school. It's also around the same distance from our house as her primary just in a slightly different direction.

So, I have two friends/neighbours in my street who I've known since we moved her (4 years ago). They both have daughters who are in year six like my dd so will start secondary school at the same time. Well today whilst having coffee at one of their houses I was barraged with a ton of questions as to why I'm choosing to send my dd to a secondary school so far away. I explained that i chose that school because it is a great school and my dd will almost certainly move up with 90% of her class which surely can only be a positive thing.

They then went on to tell me that I must be mad choosing a school so far away when there is a perfectly reasonable secondary school on our doorstep, oh and that it's not fair that my dd has a higher chance of getting into a better school just because she is baptised. So I reminded them that their own children are baptised so they too could opt for this particular school if they really wanted to and that i didn't think the local secondary school was suitable for my dd, to which I'm treated with looks of astonishment.

They just didn't let up and continued to ask me why did I feel the school was crappy and not good enough for my dd (I did not use those particular words) and that maybe I was getting above my station, by which time I made my excuses and left as I was enraged. I know in the grand scheme of things it's not exactly important but how dare they speak to me like this and grill me for making choices that best fit my dd and my family, then it dawned on me. They both chose the local primary (that is just as bad, if not worse than the local secondary) because it was besting easier for them not neccesarily their child. The primary and secondary are both less than five minutes walking distance, and whilst I can understand the benefits of choosing a local school, I would rather send my children a little bit further away if it ensured that they would get a better education. I really don't get what their problem is, all I do know is that they've severely ticked me off, so tell me Aibu here?

LIZS Fri 15-Jan-16 18:10:43

Yabu as are they. Equally judgemental. What they prioritise is no less and no more important than your choice, just different.

Grilledaubergines Fri 15-Jan-16 18:16:06

Oh the year 6 school change thing can be a nightmare. I avoided everyone in the playground during 6 as much as I could. People think it's ok to openly slate others' choices. You choose a school based on a number of factors, and ultimately it's about what you think is the best for your child. For you, it's important your child goes to high school with current classmates. For me, that didn't occur. It's safest to shut down conversation on the subject. Keep your cards close to your chest and a week or so after the high school letters come out, it's old news anyway!

Pancakeflipper Fri 15-Jan-16 18:18:01

The word choice in your title sums it up.
Though in my experience there's little 'choice' around here it's catchment based. The highly subscribed secondary faith school rejected 41 pupils in catchment last year and many in catchment. So I'd not be knocking any school because you never know what may happen.

Hopefully there was not the baby boom or new houses for families in your area that have fucked up our school places for the last few years.

Happyrouter Fri 15-Jan-16 18:20:00

There are a lot of advantages to the child to a local school, not just the parents and it's not clear to my why you think local schools are so crap.

Point of my comments above is to show that you appear to be doing exactly what you accuse them of. Best not discuss the issue in future.

kippersyllabub Fri 15-Jan-16 18:20:04

Yabu. It's fine to say x school suits my child best or we think y school is the best fit got my child. But saying x school isn't suitable for my child or we think y school wouldn't be right will get people's backs up. It's not rocket science to consider things from other people's points of view.

Ackvavit Fri 15-Jan-16 18:37:46

Moved DD year 5 to school she was staying at for high school was sick of all the "where are you sending her nonsense" best thing I ever did.

Runningupthathill82 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:38:14

YABU and judgmental. So are they, from the sounds of it.
You could've also made a big mistake in saying that the local secondary school isn't suitable for your daughter - surely there's a chance she will end up going there if the outstanding faith school is oversubscribed?
It won't do her or her relationships with the neighbours' children any good if she does have to go to a school her mother has openly been criticising.

DoomGloomAndKaboom Fri 15-Jan-16 18:40:26

"I don't think the local secondary is suitable for my dd" might sound grandiose and snooty, and suggestive that by 'suitable' you mean 'good enough' thus insinuating that it's a crap school for crap kids, ie theirs.

Just saying, sometimes we have no idea how we come across and whilst you meant in no way to sound judgemental, to your neighbours' ears that exactly how you might have sounded.

Or, they are sniffy women who have decided you're a snob when you aren't.

But I think school choice is from now on a subject best avoided!

Lurkedforever1 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:42:28

All as bad as each other.

Dd is at an independent so I've been in a similar position. When questioned my explanation is 'it seemed to suit her best'. Avoids any conflict or offence, and if anyone objects then it leaves them in the wrong, not me.

Honestly saying 'well, couldn't Pope fuck my way into school a, couldn't buy my way into b, c is a shithole and d is only good for mid to low achievers' isn't the way I would answer in real life.

Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:46:17

I didn't mean to sound snooty believe me. If I'd have said what I really thought of the school, that being that it's in special measures, It is known for teachers leaving on a regular basis and has had the police called in almost weekly to deal with troublesome pupils, THEN I'd have sounded snooty.

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Fri 15-Jan-16 18:46:57

YANBU. Even if you did say that she thinks the school she is trying to send her dd to is better, why does that mean you deserve a grilling from two mums who have chosen differently? They sound bonkers to me. What else could you have said? "I'm choosing that school because it's further away and not as good/suitable as the schools nearer our house"? That would be crazy! Ffs. People need to mind their own business.

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Fri 15-Jan-16 18:48:33

Sorry - Even if you did say that you think

user7755 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:49:48

Its hard OP, we have sent ours to a school about 8 miles away, the local one is dire - lots of social problems / bullying.

We never discussed it with anyone but ds was questioned by his peers as to why he was going there. DS didn't want to slate the school that others were going to. He (on our advice) blamed us for sending him there, even though his choice was the further school. He is so pleased now that he is at the school we chose. -its a pain in the arse to transport him back and forth, but as he's quite a vulnerable kid, it's worth it.

Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:50:39

I'm not being judgemental. To be honest i hadn't given it a second thought previously as to why my friends had chosen to send their kids to the local failing primary/secondary (despite being baptised catholic so practically guaranteed to get into a better school). It's only after he and age of questions and sly inclinations I received that I took a moment to think of maybe why they were being so cold towards me and to be honest the conclusion I came to seems quite fitting. They could have got their children into a better performing and friendlier school but they chose a more local school for their own convenience. Now that's their choice, and it's all well and good but they should at least admit it when they're attempting to look down on me for making a chocolate different to their own.

Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:51:18

Excuse the typos. Typing to fast.

AnnaMarlowe Fri 15-Jan-16 18:52:24

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the subject so glad I live in Scotland it is just rude to:

a) unrelentingly grill a guest
b) gang up on a guest.

So on that point YANBU.

BaronessBomburst Fri 15-Jan-16 18:54:04

Wait until DD decides she doesn't want to make the longer journey everyday, catch the bus, walk further in the rain etc and starts playing truant.
That'll affect her grades too.

Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:54:43

Well yes, I think it's rather rude, that's why I just upped and left in the end, I didn't feel comfortable, and this was with two people I've know for over four years and who I thought i knew well.

Sunbeam1112 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:55:53

Surely you go to a faith school because of your faith? Also other state schools actually get more funding that catholic. So maybe your DD is sightly at an disadvantage. Your best bet for the best education is picking the best primary (this is where the basics are learnt) if the ability isn't already there regardless of how good the secondary school is its not suddenly going to appear, it's dependant on the capabilities of the individual. You coming across quite smug and snobby to be honest which is why your friends got abit defensive basically saying their choices are crap. Their child could be more academic than yours or not its all down to individuals ability to learn. Not that its a competition.

user7755 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:59:09

Baroness - What?

Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:59:57

She'll never need to catch the bus though. Her younger sister is in year one at the primary school that she's currently at, and as both schools are less than five minutes apart I'll drop her off and then my youngest. Although the school is only 2 miles away and if she really wanted to catch the bus there's one that literally would drop her outside of the school gates.

tiggytape Fri 15-Jan-16 19:02:54

Nobody knows for certain which school they'll get allocated (aside from those with a statement naming the school) and most parents therefore list 4-6 preferences on their form - depending on where they live. And most parents include the local less-desirable ones as a back-up and make sure they don't talk them down just in case their child ends up there.

Therefore, given the uncertainty, the best thing is to be as airy and non-committal about which school you might want or get as possible.

They were rude to quiz you over your preferences (not choice) but equally it isn't a good idea to say anything negative about another school that you might be allocated or that friends may be allocated. And saying a school 2 miles away is great and justifies the extra travel does rather imply that the local one isn't great.

Jennifer1234 Fri 15-Jan-16 19:08:56

I'm not smug nor snobby I assure you, I'm extremely down to earth. Yes, I chose my dd's school first and foremost based on our faith and whilst catholic schools do get less funding from the government that doesn't neccesarily mean that the students who attend there are at a disadvantage, if that were true then both the primary and secondary wouldn't be so oversubscribed and have parents fighting to get their kids into them.

The school asks all the parents for voluntary donations each year which is to be expected, yet they don't get arsey with parents who refuse to donate or can't for whatever reason, it's a really friendly school and as I got that same feeling from the secondary I felt it best suited to my dd, it's a personal choice surely.

Soooosie Fri 15-Jan-16 19:09:41

YANBU. It's called parental choice and you can put any school you want as first choice! Which ever ones best for your DD regardless of distance.

I know people who have put the closest school as first choice despite no visits. They haven't been inside the school and it seems pot luck!

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