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To choose a nearer but not as good school?

(25 Posts)
puglife15 Mon 09-Jan-17 19:45:51

Am probably BU and breaking some AIBU etiquette by posting about school applications in here but sod it...

We looked round 2 primary schools for our pfb, one is 15 mins walk away the other about 3 miles but a 20 min drive at rush hour. Both DH and I work but would like to do as many drop offs etc as possible.

We prefer the one further away (although neither is a bad school), and actually know more children who are likely to go to that school too but I'm not sure whether the commute will be super stressful (there's a chance we might not get into either as both have been oversubscribed in past years).

I'm struggling to decide which order to put them down in. We can't afford to move house at the moment.

Has anyone here chosen a school further away and regretted it? Or chosen one nearer which they didn't much like just because it's closer?

Ilovecaindingle Mon 09-Jan-17 19:50:07

Did you ask about schools recently?
We chose the school a drive away - 7 mins in the car but 3 miles to walk!! After school clubs we just make sure the same night is applicable for all 3 kids so only one trip and there has been no other real issues with the travel!

puglife15 Mon 09-Jan-17 19:55:51

No, not asked before. The school which is a drive away is on a road with bad traffic (and also not on the way to work), so could take 25-30 mins on a bad day. I'm envisaging some stressful mornings doing that every day for several years! If likely have to do 90% of drop off and pick ups.

GraceGrape Mon 09-Jan-17 19:58:41

I think there would need to be something very wrong with the nearer school to put yourselves through a 30 minute journey twice a day. Also, it's nice for children to have their school friends nearby.

TeenAndTween Mon 09-Jan-17 20:00:00

I loved the years of walking in all weathers with my DDs to and from school. Really lovely quality time. And no issue with every worrying about being late.

For me the further school would have to be significantly better to make the stress of driving for 7 years (or more if you have more than 1 DC) worth it.

puglife15 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:03:22

Nothing wrong with this one that I know of, I just much preferred the other in pretty much every way.

I agree waking to school would be nice - as would being closer to school friends.

It's so hard though deciding to send DC to a school I don't like as much knowing there's a better one a bit further away.

NancyDonahue Mon 09-Jan-17 20:03:45

I'd go for the local school unless it's truly dreadful. Nice for dc's to have local friends, play after school etc. I love our walks to school.

NancyDonahue Mon 09-Jan-17 20:05:03

Can you visit the closer school again? Maybe ask more questions if there's anything that particularly worries you.

smilingsarahb Mon 09-Jan-17 20:09:33

I'm pro close schools. I find the morning stressful enough without having to go the wrong direction in traffic, but then I can go to school 3 times in a day..drop off pick up child A from school, pick up child b from a club like football. If you are sharing journeys, only have 1 child then you might only need gp once a day. I also Fi d all the parties and play dates are nice sn local too. That said my local school is nice, I did prefer one that was further away but this one had lots going for it. Does one have a better reputation locally?

puglife15 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:09:45

Unfortunately it's too late to visit the nearer school again. It's just the ethos of the head and general classroom feel that jarred with me. Quite strict and results driven, less creative, but also not pushing/extending more talented pupils (although that may well not be relevant obviously). Not great extracurricular or wrap around care which given we both work is quite important.

Rattusn Mon 09-Jan-17 20:13:01

Are these two the only options? No other local schools?

There is a lot to be said for walking to school, which is why I turned down a place at a school 2 miles away. The nearer school we chose is actually amazing though. Once you start at the school you will most probably love it.

TeenAndTween Mon 09-Jan-17 20:16:15

As you said you may not get either school (you can check chances on your LA website by looking at info for last year) you are also putting a third 'banker' school on your form, aren't you?

superking Mon 09-Jan-17 20:19:20

We faced a similar dilemma and have decided to to for the school within walking distance. Mainly for reasons that other posters have mentioned already (stress of "commute" and parking, wanting to live in the same community as DS's school friends). But another major factor for us was that we would be pretty much guaranteed to get DS2 a place at the same school - if we had got a place at the one that was further away this would have been less likely and I would have spent the next three years worrying what I was going to do if DS2 didn't get in. You don't mention if you have/ plan to have more children, but it is something to bear in mind.

DesignedForLife Mon 09-Jan-17 20:24:33

Watching with interest as we have the same decision to make.

countingkids123 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:34:17

We have gone for one further away (12 mins drive) as that is the one DS1 goes to. We are out of catchment area for it and are only there because we needed to move mid year (due to bullying experienced at previous school) and it was the school with a space that we absolutely loved. Wish he had been there from the start but I very much doubt we would have got him in there being so far out of catchment and his cohort being exceptionally large. Catchment area school is dire and has been since DS1 was tiny. It is close to being closed down. Next nearest school took in 120 pupils the year DS1 started school; had them split into 4 classes in essentially a large hall with room dividers separating them. My gut instinct to that was no way, and when we looked at it again when we were looking to move, the noise and chaos was overwhelming. Children were squeezing between the dividers to visit their friends, children were throwing paper around, they were hitting each other and play wrestling, all while some frazzled teachers desperately tried to teach. This is a school where learning is passive, something that happens to you. By contrast, the school DS1 moved to ensures learning happens in conjunction between the child and the adults in the room. The teachers are facilitators and he's got an enthusiasm for learning that has astounded me. Both DH and I have only put this school down and are in agreement that if we don't get offered a place I will happily homeschool the DTs

Allthewaves Mon 09-Jan-17 20:38:57

We chose the one in walking distance and gladden tbh. Bad enough trying to get homework done and then activities without a longish car journey

messystressy Mon 09-Jan-17 20:39:54

We opted for the better school far away. We don't regret is but a) the kids are tired - it adds to their day and b) people aren't keen to come over for playdates as a faff (I.e. not two minute drive).

FourToTheFloor Mon 09-Jan-17 20:40:58

The one within walking distance and find a local cm to do after school.

Dh wanted to send dd1 to a school further away that was rated outstanding. She would have got in but I wanted to do some school runs and the outstanding one just felt too far imo.

TeenAndTween Mon 09-Jan-17 20:41:03

counting - happy to home-school for at least 3 years?

IHeartKingThistle Mon 09-Jan-17 20:42:34

It's lovely to walk to school and have local school friends. Don't underestimate the importance of that.

puglife15 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:54:57

you are also putting a third 'banker' school on your form, aren't you?

The only "bankers" anywhere near me are rough and in grim areas and still a drive away. We have another choice but might not get in there either. Live in a highly populated family area in a city.

BikeRunSki Mon 09-Jan-17 20:55:34

Never underestimate the benefit of being able to walk to school in a fairly short time. Really.

You really want your dc to potentially spend an hour a day commuting?

Ilovecaindingle Mon 09-Jan-17 20:56:37

We moved ours to the 7 min away school from the 35-40 min one! Was becoming a nightmare. .

puglife15 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:57:58

Ok - think I'm going to put nearest school first. If I feel it's the wrong choice when the time comes if we are allocated a place there or if DS doesn't get on there then I'll see if the other one has space I guess.

I feel sick!

RosaliesGinBottle Mon 09-Jan-17 21:19:03

DD has just transferred to the closer school in a similar set-up. We do miss the old school but up to 1.5hrs in the car everyday (including being parked up outside school early because of very little parking) was getting a little rough on a 5 and 3 yr old. And me!

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