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should i consider driving 40 mins each way for a good school?

(30 Posts)
firestorm Tue 28-Jun-05 20:03:56

hi everyone my dilema is: we are in the process of trying to move house for better schools. i really wanted to be moved in time for the beginning of the school year. unfortunately this is looking highly unlikely now as weve just been let down by a couple who said they wanted to buy our house then changed their minds
i really dont want for the girls to have to move schools after only a few months, especially as my youngest is only starting school for the first time in september & may get confused by differing methods.
i always said that if we had exchanged contracts on a house before start of term then i would commute them to the new school even though its a long old trek & the youngest is only going to be part time until after christmas, which would mean hanging around with her for 2 hours before picking up my eldest every day. not ideal especially in bad weather. i do have an uncle in the area but i cant go there every day.
anyway im considering commuting them there anyway because their education is so important & the school has just had a fab ofsted report (all goods & outstandings) its a far cry from dd`s current barely bog standard school & i was very very lucky that the school had places for both my dd`s for september when they are quite often oversubscribed, & theres a real possibility we could lose the places if they dont start then.
anyway opinions please? what would you do? am i mad to consider doing this when it could be months & months before were actually living in the new area?

MrsGordonRamsay Tue 28-Jun-05 20:06:27

In a word NO

Short term aggravation, long term gain.

Xena Tue 28-Jun-05 20:07:24

If you are definalty going to move, then months and months of commuting is better than years and years in the wrong school.

gigglinggoblin Tue 28-Jun-05 20:14:20

i enrolled kids in a school about 40 min drive away and moved to area a few months after. was entirely worth it. if you move half way through the year and they are still at the old school you are either going to have to do the commute in reverse or swap them mid year (i asked my school if this was a better idea and they said absolutely not). so i would say get them in now.

one thing i found was that traffic was a huge factor in the amount of time it took to get to school. if we took them to breakfast club we had to set of 10 mins earlier but drive was 20 mins shorter and they had a fab time at the club. after school club also helped us to avoid rush hour. if there is anything like that, take advantage of it. and make sure you do regular visits to the library so you have an ever changing supply of books and tapes for the journey

annh Tue 28-Jun-05 20:16:39

But will they actually let you take up places in September if you are still at your current address? Would you not be miles outside their catchment area? Also, if you have to drive 40 mins to get there, will there be time for you to even get home before turning round to pick up your younger dd? Assuming she will finish at lunchtime for the first term, you then have to feed her somewhere every day and hang around for the afternoon for your older one? Will you not spend your whole life either driving or waiting in your car?

firestorm Tue 28-Jun-05 20:38:19

thanks for the replies so far very interesting.
in response to annh: i dont think it would be a problem with the school accepting the children, they dont work on catchment areas as such, & as long as theres a place they will accept you. but if there were more children than places it would come down to nearness to school (hence the need to accept places now rather than risk losing them to somebody else who may move closer to the school & have priority)
i wouldnt actually bother to go home at all, its really not worth it. & would cost a fortune in petrol. i thought that i would volunteer to help out in the school to take up the mornings & i would enquire as to whether under the circumstances & if i stayed to help out my younger dd could possibly stay all day. if not then we would have a couple of hours to kill every day. not ideal i know.
anymore opinions?

Polgara2 Tue 28-Jun-05 20:58:33

Go for it - definitely worth while putting up with the hassle. If you are moving anyway its not going to be forever is it and in my opinion, a good education/school for your children is worth it. Especially as your little one is just starting, she needs to get settled into the school you intend her to stay in, make friends, learn the routines etc. Starting school is traumatic enough at that age without having to worry about doing it twice!!!

michellefromlakeland Tue 28-Jun-05 20:59:25

make sure oyu dont have many points on your licence though

wangle99 Tue 28-Jun-05 21:50:46

I would do it! We have recently moved DD to a new school as the current school was not doing very well. I have a 30 min drive each way twice a day and although it seemed hassle in the beginning, the change in DD has been worth it.

We have no intention of moving closer either!

tallulah Wed 29-Jun-05 18:14:15

We did it too. We moved DS3 from a school 10 mins drive away to one over 1/2 hour away. The difference in him after the move was incredible.

firestorm Wed 29-Jun-05 19:25:23

thanks everyone for your replies i think that i will probably go for it, i just dont relish the idea of that journey
heres hoping we get somebody interested in buying our house soon & i dont have to do it.

sylvm Thu 30-Jun-05 09:50:12

Hello Firestorm - fancy seeing you here! I have the reverse dilemma. One of the reasons we want to move is to be where we want to be before dd2 goes to secondary (she's currently about to go into Year 4 so there's no rush but given the state of the property market heh heh). She has special needs and is fairly well supported at her primary school. My problem is do I move her to a new primary or commute back to where we live now until she leaves. It is about a 20 minute drive each way which I know is not that far but personally I hate driving. It's alright just round town (to the supermarket) etc but the thought of doing the journey 4 times a day fills me with horror. If we don't move before we need to apply for her secondary place she will have to go to secondary here though. I guess I'll have to visit some primaries and see how they seem when the time comes.

CountessDracula Thu 30-Jun-05 09:59:33

I can remember a time when I was at school 30 mins east of our house and my brother 45 mins west! My poor mum must have spent her whole time ferrying us around I think. It never seemed to bother her. I would do it if you are definitely going to move to the area though or you may end up doing it the other way for a lot longer!

QueenOfQuotes Thu 30-Jun-05 10:06:31

I'd do it too - before we even planned to buy our current house I'd put DS1's name down at the nursery local to where we now live. Anyhow at the time it would have been a 45minute-1hr walk to get him to nursery (and then the same time back again), but I was prepared to do that in order for him to get the 'better' start.

As it happens we decided to move house and ended up buying just a 7 minute walk away

goldenoldie Thu 30-Jun-05 10:19:10

All depends how important your kids education is to you?

Have to say I'd jump at the chance. All the good school I know won't even consider applications unless you are in the catchment area at the time of application. Anyone who say's they are 'moving into the area' is told to apply when they do, and application from outside of catchment area goes straight to the bommomof the pile.

I'd do it, but I'd try to get to know some of the other parents and see if there is any way your youngest can go home with a friend a couple of times a week, so you don't have to hang around. Or get a local childminder to collect and look after her for a couple of hours a day.

firestorm Thu 30-Jun-05 19:35:01

thanks everyone, hi sylvm i feel the same way about driving as you do. the whole idea of driving so far every day fills me with dread if im honest but the childrens education is so important to me (& the whole reason for the move) that im going to have to get used to it.

in your situation i would probably leave your dd where she is & commute back (unless there is better provision for her in the new area & you feel she could cope with the move) its a tricky one i know. have you spoken to her current school about your plans & asked how they think she would cope with a new school? & have you visited any primaries in the new area to gauge how good their provision is for special needs?
i really wanted to move house before dd1 even started school. but it didnt happen unfortunately, so starting a new one at the start of the new school year with her sister is the next best thing. both possible new schools are also tiny compared with dd`s current huge one, which i think will help with her being so shy & sensitive.
CountessDracular, your poor mum must of been permanently exhausted

sylvm Fri 01-Jul-05 09:36:02

Hi Firestorm. I haven't visited any primaries in our new area yet because there doesn't seem much point until we have at least agreed to buy something. I have all the prospectuses and have read all the ofsteds. As soon as things start to move I will visit and see what I find. I think I may have to commute back but a lot will depend on how things go with new teacher at current school in September. I'm a little concerned about her having a male teacher new to the school but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

firestorm Fri 01-Jul-05 12:09:26

i hope it works out ok for you & you sell soon no more viewings booked for us yet this weekend but were in the paper so hopefully will hear something today.

firestorm Wed 06-Jul-05 18:59:00

did a trial run yesterday of the route at the approximate time we would have to leave. i was right, it is exactly 40 minutes drive away, but not a bad journey. & great news! they say that my youngest can attend full time from september (here she would be part time) that will make my life so much easier. so i have decided to go for it & book the girls places at the new school for september.
heres hoping that our house sells quickly & i dont have to do it for too long.

PrincessPeaHead Wed 06-Jul-05 19:07:47

firestorm remember you may well find someone living in your direction who you can do a school run with - even if they are 20 mins closer to the school than you it would mean that x times per week your run would be cut in half. Worth a thought. THe school may be willing to tell you who lives in your direction in advance so you can sort something out in the summer.

I do half an hour each direction and tbh it is long, but not so bad if you are sharing. I rarely do it twice a day for a whole week. Also you will become a radio 4 addict

firestorm Wed 06-Jul-05 20:25:55

hi PrincessPeaHead (great name) the headteacher said that there are teachers at the school that come from my area, i wonder if they would mind a couple of passengers? probably not though because of insurance.
thats definitely something ill ask about though, great idea i doubt if ill go home very often after taking them to school. will probably do some voluntary work or help out in school or something.

PrincessPeaHead Wed 06-Jul-05 20:42:36

I know a teacher at our school brings in a couple of little girls every day, don't see why insurance should be an issue? all the other children are very jealous because they all LOVE Miss Penny and would love to do the same!
Good luck

Tessiebear Wed 06-Jul-05 20:45:03

If you are definately moving there - then YES. I did a 1 hour round trip commute for 4 years, changed schools for other reasons other than the journey and am now 5 mins up the road. Just think how much you will appreciate the short journey when you have moved.

firestorm Thu 07-Jul-05 19:55:45

i might ask one of the teachers once the girls are settled & would be happy to go with somebody else. it would be great for me
Tessiebear (another great name) poor you having to do that for 4 years. did you get used to it after a while or were you permanently tired?

firestorm Mon 11-Jul-05 20:43:26

well ive done it. ive made the decision that the girls will be attending school in the new area as of september tomorrow im taking the girls there to meet their new teachers. fingers crossed it goes ok.

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