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terrible dilemma and need to make a decision by tomorrow!

(58 Posts)
jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:25:38

ok - this is my post from a few months ago;

'We live close to three excellent state schools (5 min walk). Ds got into none of these but was offered a school 2 miles away in special measures despite every neighbour in our street and surrounding streets being offered one. After being on the waiting list for all three all summer and appealing he still had no place.

My parents pay for him now to go to a private school. Ds is doing very well academically and is very happy, his class has 15 pupils. I am pleased about this BUT want him to go to a local school where he would know the children in the area. We live in a very community based area and it was/is very important to me but not to the extent of sending him to a failing school.

I have reapplied for next year but still looks unlikely as there have been alot of new builds in the area in the last year.

Know this is off topic but just now have a difficult choice if he ever gets a place. Do I move him from where he is happy and doing well (he is the youngest in the school as well) or keep him where long term I feel he would be happier knowing and mixing with local children?

I am a single working parent and he is an only child. To me, friendships and playing with children locally are part of childhood, very much a part of mine and one I very much want him to enjoy.

What would you do????'

The dilemma is that one of the schools (my 2nd choice) now has a place and I have to accept it or refuse it by tomorrow and he would have to start after half term. He is really happy and settled where he is and I feel it would be disasterous in the short term. However, in the long term I feel it would be better for both of us. His private school is very small and insular and I don't fit in with most of the other mothers. Because it is so small, I don't see how he could go from there to a comprehensive. So it would be better to move him sooner rather than later.

My instinct is to wait and keep him where he is until a place comes up at the 1st choice because that is where he went to nursery and I knew what it was like. However, that might be never...

Please, if anyone can advice me I would be really grateful

pamplemousse Mon 20-Oct-08 21:29:17

Please don't spring a huge decision like that on him over half term, particularly as its your 2nd choice for him. It would turn his world upside down wouldn't it?

wonderstuff Mon 20-Oct-08 21:30:25

What a difficult one, how does your ds feel about it all? What year is he in now? Moving in years 7 and 8 is much easier than moving later on. Don't think there is a right answer here really?

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:31:28

thankyou, but I have waited over a year for a place at one of these schools. If I turn it down, the place will be gone, I can't hold onto it unfortunately. I wish I could. There has only been 1 pupil who has left either school in all this time...

thisisyesterday Mon 20-Oct-08 21:31:41

i think you need to talk to him.
you can't make this decision by yourself, and I agree with pamplemousse that it would be awful to spring this one on him, so would def turn it down
unless he says he'd like to go

saadia Mon 20-Oct-08 21:31:55

I think if he is happy there and money is not an issue then let him stay where he is.

thisisyesterday Mon 20-Oct-08 21:33:02

if he is very happoy and doing well I can't undersatnd why you wouldn't keep him there.

this isn't about what you think is best or what you would prefer or what your childhood was like.

this is about HIM ad his education and his happiness.

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:33:05

wonderstuff - he is only in year 1. He likes his school, I don't think he understands the concept of moving to another school but I feel it would be a big shock and as I said not good in the short term but I think benefical in the long term

Dottoressa Mon 20-Oct-08 21:34:03

Could he stay at his private school and still mix and be friends with local children via Beavers/playdates/local activities? I spent 13 years at a private school 5 miles from home, and had no shortage of local friends!

My DCs go to a private school, and I'm actively encouraging them to maintain their friendships with local children (whom they've known since babyhood). It takes a bit of effort, but it is possible!

wheresthehamster Mon 20-Oct-08 21:38:00

I think I'd wait until a place came up at your 1st choice THEN make a decision.

Say you change schools now and in few months time your 1st choice had a place available, would you feel you had made the right decision? You probably wouldn't feel right moving him again. I'd leave him for now

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:39:10

the thing is thisisyesterday that when you are a single parent and have an only child as we are, it is very easy to get isolated - for both of us. His private school is small and the parents come from all over, therefore it is not in any way social. When he went to the nursery of the state school, he and I developed friends, some of who we are still friends with now.

I feel it is really important to have local friends and people to do things with outside school.

I know this a bit from experience because I went to an exclusive private primary school and didn't really get to know the local children apart from by chance (I was best friends with my neighbours and was really lucky). I always wished I went to the same school as my neighbours as a child and I don't want that childhood for him.

We have to drive to the school he goes to at the moment, whereas all the children round here all walk up together to the local schools. I feel he will miss all that.

So that is the reason for feeling torn. If the private school was round the corner from me I would feel differently (but obv cant afford to move)

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:40:57

yes wheresthehamster I think this is the only answer plus trying beavers etc. However a place may never come up at 1st choice. There are loads of new builds coming up in our area, and 1st choice is unbelievably oversubscribed

Ohforfoxsake Mon 20-Oct-08 21:41:08

I agree, wait for your first choice. If places are coming up in your second choice, then chances are they will for your first choice. Are you moving up the waiting list?

wonderstuff Mon 20-Oct-08 21:44:06

I would be tempted to leave him and investigate other sources of local friends like dottoressa said. But having said that I can see your dilema. I put an ad up on (whispers) netmums because I didn't know anyone locally who had children, I got a couple of replies and am good friends with one mum, I have also met a couple of mums from the mumsnet local forum, could you reach out to others in the community like this? I know its not the same as walking to school with your friends..

smellyeli Mon 20-Oct-08 21:44:10

It's always really difficult to move your children from environments where they are happy. But I think you are right to think of the long term. I totally understand what you mean about being part of the local community, having local friends etc. (I presume there is also a financial aspect to this and by moving him to state school your parents would be able to help out in other ways - treats, trips etc.)

I have moved my son from his nursery for work, and we will move both our children next year when I move jobs so that my husband doesn't have to commute for 3 hours every day. You have to look at what is right for your whole family, and children are pretty adaptable - there is always more than one place they can be happy. Go for it.

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:44:38

its so frustrating re the 1st choice...In the Summer the LEA rang me to say 2 places were coming up for the first choice and he was 2nd on the list. Then 2 people moved closer and he didn't get one. Now he is third on the list (as other people have also moved closer)

harpomarx Mon 20-Oct-08 21:45:50

jnmum - what do you mean when you say he doesn't understand the concept of moving school. Have you discussed it? Has he expressed his opinion?

I totally understand where you're coming from, btw - am a single parent of an only child myself. I know how important it is to feel part of your community.

Dottoressa Mon 20-Oct-08 21:46:35

Jnmum - it might also be an idea to see the advantages to your DS's position, rather than feeling sad that his childhood won't replicate your own. He's at a lovely school, by the sounds of it, where he'll get a great education and will make friends (who might not be local, but who might match his personality really, really well...). If my parents were prepared to pay our school fees, I would be jumping for joy!!

I saw having 'home' friends (as opposed to just school friends) as a positive advantage. I felt that I saw enough of the children at school, and I really enjoyed coming home to my other friends (who all went to school together). I met them through Brownies and just through playing out (difficult now, I admit!)

If you keep him where he is, try to feel that it's a positive choice. He will suss you if you give off vibes of "oh no, I wish things were all different"!

Ohforfoxsake Mon 20-Oct-08 21:49:14

At some point the list will probably be handed over to the school, would it be worth writing a letter to say "we're waiting to get a place and would hope to hear soon, as we have been very close and disappointed on a number of occasions". All this will do is make your introduction and they might recognise your name in the future. It might be a bit of a silly, pointless exercise, but worth a stab? I'd do it, but then I was a complete nightmare when trying to get a place at my first choice grin

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:49:59

thankyou all for your opinions and not getting into the state vs private debate which is not what this is about. I would have done anything rather than send him to a private school at the time - was trying to move etc...I know it sounds hard to understand but isolation is such a factor when you have one child/are a single parent.

The money isn't an issue because my parents can afford to send him there and could continue for secondary if necessary but that is not what it is about.

mazzystartled Mon 20-Oct-08 21:52:25

I would take the place.

I understand you prefering another school but if you didn't get in in the first place, it maybe because your circumstances don't make you a priority, and like you say your first choice may never come up]

Why do you think it would be disastrous in the short term? I think children are very adaptable, and that the new school will be able to support you to make the transition a smooth one. And half a term in, he will not be as attached to the school as he will in say a year? two? three?

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:53:28

when I say he can't understand the concept of moving school - what I mean is that as he is only 5, he can't really envisage what it would be like to change. I have mentioned it him in the past - when passing the school, have said 'one day you may go to this school' and he just says ok.

jnmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:55:26

mazzystartled I completely agree in principle. Its just so difficult to do when he is happy and settled and the school he has been offered is an unknown (the 1st choice he went to nursery at so will have memories of).

wohmum Mon 20-Oct-08 21:57:24

I'd move him to the new school as long as you will be happy with it. tak him off the waitign list fior teh first choice as you won't want to know if a place comes up.

we moved our ds after 1 term in reception (i know its not quite the same) and now are in a very local school wth friends who can help out, he can walk to and from school with - and i would as a single parent , having close by support coudl be eally valuable.

don't leave it up to him, but Do discuss it withhim - and give him as much notce as poss to get used to it, so if you accept the place tell him straight away. they really do adapt well and in teh long term I think it sounds by far teh best move

good luck!

harpomarx Mon 20-Oct-08 21:59:21

oh, so sorry, jnmum - didn't read your op properly. For some reason I thought you were referring to secondary schools. Doh!

In that case - is your second choice very much less appealing to you? I found with local primary schools that - whilst I had a favourite - they all seemed to have positive points. If the local side is very important to you then I would go with your instinct and accept the place.

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