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I think I have sold my soul...

(22 Posts)
luckywinner Thu 10-Jul-08 21:56:32

Umm not sure if this should be in primary or here but I have a dilemma which is really bothering me and wondered what you all think. My ds has been offered a place in the nursery of at our local CofE school. When we went to the open afternoon, they told us that when it comes to allocating reception places, they offer them to their nursery children first provided they have continued fulfilling their criteria (which is pretty much going to church 3 out of 4 sundays). The hours of the nursery are 9-3 mon-fri. My ds will be 3 yrs 9 months when he goes. So that's the background my worries are he is so flipping young to be doing those hours. I am not 'allowed' to choose when I send him, although I am guessing there is certain limited ways around this, eg sick. I am C of E but the church we go to is not my cup of tea at all. Is really really high church and the fact that I have to go is beginning to get to me. I feel bullied into it (yes I know I am choosing to go) but I feel so hypocritical. It is so high church it may as well be a catholic service. And it all feels so wrong. He is so happy at a local nursery school where he goes 5 morning a week. But if he doesn't get into this school for reception then state is not an option as the one we would most likely get a place for is not a good school. We could possibly afford private but also have a dd so would mean no holidays, no emergency funds, no savings etc. We have a lot of equity in our flat and ideally I would like to move out of London but dh job is so london based he would have to commute. Anyway i guess what bothers me the most is I have sold my soul to get my son a place at a good school, yet I can't bear the idea of him having start school already iyswim.
Congrats if you've got this far, and a prize for whoever replies, you can have his place!
ps I might post this in primary too.

IHaveNameChangedForThisPost Thu 10-Jul-08 23:37:17

Sounds like you've made your bed - now lie in it! I suggest you start praying that you make the right choice grin.

dilemma456 Mon 14-Jul-08 21:06:26

Message withdrawn

ChippyMinton Thu 17-Jul-08 08:41:59

Ask the school for a copy of its admission criteria and see what that says about moving up from nursery, and church attendance. It may be that you can attend another local church providing the priest is willing to vouch for you?

Heifer Thu 17-Jul-08 09:38:45

When we moved here I had to find DD a preschool and school place for September.

One of the locals schools was CoE and its criteria was that if you attended (for the last 2 years etc) you were 3 on the list, if you attended a different CoE church then you were 4th, and any other domination ie United Reformed, Baptist etc then 6th.

As we had only just moved and were United Reformed I realised that I had no change of getting in so looked elsewhere.

Found a brilliant school (currently private, but will be changing to academy next year)

I enroled DD into the nursery for 2 x afternoons but soon found that all the other children went 5 days 8.30 - 3.00pm regardless if their parents worked or not, just seemed the norm, especially from 4yrs old. I didnt want DD to go that often as she has years ahead of her to be at school every day so comprimsed with 3 days. Found that about right for her, and she is now ready to start school full time in September.

Re your issues, although the school sounds right for you, it doesn't sound as though the other factors are.

I assume that once your DS starts school Sept 2009? then you could change church, but will you even be happy that he was at preschool every day before you felt he was ready?

What are your changes of getting into the school if he doesn't go to the nursery?

maretta Thu 17-Jul-08 09:55:59

I can only offer sympathy. It does sound bullying. It's a discraceful way to get people to attend church.

onwardandupward Sun 20-Jul-08 17:46:19

Follow your heart.

HonoriaGlossop Sun 20-Jul-08 19:05:50

If this were me I would keep my son where he was happy and doing sensible hours for a 3 yr old.

Don't be bullied - yes school is important but to be honest any place that puts church attendance above the needs of a child (which may well not be met by going to 'school' at 3) is not much of a place anyway

Let the future take care of itself a bit smile

luckywinner Sun 20-Jul-08 19:15:44

Do you know what Honoria, I am taking your message as a sign. I thought I had it all sorted and in the grand scheme yes short term they were hideous hours but at least he would be going to a good school. But this morning we went to church and it was long and boring and I felt absolutely no connection to the place. And I just felt incredbily hypocritical, as well as stinking of incense. I would like to risk it and turn the place down and hope and pray (if God hasn't read this post I should be alright) that my dh agrees to moving out of london by the time my ds is 5. This was our vague original plan but as always it hasn't panned out like that. So now I think yes, Onward I should follow my heart and Honoria, yep I am inclined to agree with you, his lovely current nursery does have sensible hours and he is so happy there, why am I even considering changing him. So thank you lovely mumsnetters smile you have made me feel less neurotic and more confident of my decision. Now I am off to concoct a plan to move out of London by 2010 wink

misspollysdolly Sun 20-Jul-08 22:12:49

Do you know, reading your post has stirred the same sort of issues up for me - am really wrangling with the same sort of dilemma (though thankfully without the dreadful sounding church bullying).

Have just accepted a pre-school (but frankly it's a 'full-time by the end of the year'-school place) for my *3 year and 6 days old* DS1, purely because it is the school I want him to attend. Don't get me wrong it's probably a fine nursery, but he's been going to an outstanding playgroup for the past two terms and is really happy - with helpers who have come to know him really well (this feels really important to me).

I've been telling myself that he won't know amy different and it's a means to an end, and I probably overreacting etc tec but (and sorry if this is UBER melodramatic!!) but I kind of feel like I'm taking out of the safe little nest and throwing him into the big wide world - a pit of lions!! Do I take him out the happiy playgroup and send to the unknown nursery class, all for the sake of a school place that - hey! - he might get anyway??!! I know some people will think I'm a mad woman saying that, but that's what is in my gut - just don't know if it's my own worry/insecurity or a real worry IYSWIM.

We are Christians too, and I frankly DO NOT know what to do!! I just know I feel really sad that he won;t be at playgroup next year and my heart wants him there. I know I'll look back at this situation is a year or so's time nd wonder what all the fuss and worry was about but right now it's on my mind the WHOLE time! Nightmare!

Hope you iron your worries out soon and that your DS will be fine whatever the outcome...

luckywinner Mon 21-Jul-08 09:45:05

Misspollydolly, I know exactly what you mean about the pit of lions. My ds's nursery seems so lovely and sheltered from the real world and its really bothering me. I feel like I am putting him on 'the treadmill of life', now that's uberdramatic! He has his whole life to do a 9-5 (I know the hours are only till 3 but they may as well be till 5 the way I am feeling.)

Misspollydolly, when does your ds start the nursery?

HonoriaGlossop Mon 21-Jul-08 10:07:30

Good luck Luckywinner smile

Sounds like you have a plan formulating anyway; maybe you should write a life-plan - I've done this. I've put down where we want to be in five years, and then broken down the steps we need to take to get there, and when we need to take them. It makes things clearer and it's easier to stick to the plan because it's there in black and white. Life is so hectic sometimes it's easy to lose our aims unless they are more 'solid'.

I'm sure all will be fine though; you're giving it so much thought for your ds and are clearly so committed to doing what's right for him, that I don't think you can go wrong smile

misspollysdolly Mon 21-Jul-08 10:51:17

So glad to find I'm not alone in feeling this way, luckywinner. He's due to start either one again in September. I thought I was being so over-dramatic, I hadn't mentioned how I was feeling to DH or anyone. We chatted last night after I posted on here. We think we might keep him at his playgroup and as for the reception place...well, come what may...

Think I need to listen to my heart instead of being all head-led...!

How are you feeling today?

luckywinner Mon 21-Jul-08 10:57:24

will post more later as ds and dd are currently fighting under a blanket home made tent smile
am feeling a little better but really like the idea of a life plan. the key to it all is my dh who works in the city (london) and has a v london-based job. I can't face him commuting such a long way each day and I do love London but I am just not happy with bringing up the dc here. I am going to formulate a life plan and will post later when ds is --watching tv-- resting and dd is asleep.

posieflump Mon 21-Jul-08 12:07:36

presumaly you have to pay for the 9-3 place then?
is it vey different to where I live then? The council decides where everyone goes to school based on location, the church schools don't get to pick and choose as far as I know

luckywinner Mon 21-Jul-08 13:56:28

no, the 9-3 at the school is free. The one he is at now we pay but our council contributes a certain amount once they are 3. The church school gets to pick who goes there according to who meets the requirements. They work their way down a list of priorities. The first one is for children in care, then the next is those children who attend mass with their parents/carers at the church, then its children who attend other churches that don't have a school, then its other faiths and a few more but I can't remember what they are. To be honest, I don't think they ever get down to number 4 as the places are all allocated by then. And the same happens all again for reception, but the school have made it clear that they prioritise the reception places for the children in the nursery providing they still meet the criteria, ie still go to church.

This is the reason why I feel like I don't have much choice. I mean of course I have a choice but it would be severely unlikely that they would then offer me a place in reception as they made it clear at the visit that if you had a child you took out of their school for private education and then you applied for a place for a sibling you get put to the bottom of the pile.

HonoriaGlossop Mon 21-Jul-08 14:09:43

Also I meant to add, I know you feel you have no choice, but have you actually visited the other state option which is seen as 'not a good school'?

i just noted this, as my primary school would have been seen in that way and was in the most deprived area of an inner city, BUT it was fabulous, warm and nurturing smile

Is there any chance that there is some scope in the other local state school?

MrsMattie Mon 21-Jul-08 14:21:27

I sympathise but I think if you're feeling this ambivalent about things now, at such an early stage in your child's education, then perhaps you shouldn't be going down this route...?

FWIW, I was also very tempted to go down this route. My husband is a Catholic and we had our son baptised in keeping with his family's traditions and wishes. I wasn't against it at the time - i think I didn't really understand what it was all about to be honest. And I was pretty happy about the fact that all the Catholic schools near us are fantastic, too, I won't lie! But then the reality kicked in. Having to go to church every Sunday for a one hour service which not only did I not believe in, I actively disagreed with on many counts. Having to smile sweetly at the hideous old Priest and basically kiss his arse for years to come to ensure that my son got a reference to get into a Catholic school. Having to live and act as a Catholic at least in public for the resat of my son's school life - or live with my feelings of complete hypocrisy, guilt and resentment. It was all too much.

In the end I started looking at some of the local schools in our area, rather than just reading the Ofsteds and obssessing about SAT results, and what I foudn surprised me. The ones I liked best - where the teachers seemed to really care and the children seemed really happy - weren't always the ones that performed impeccably on paper.
I truly believe that - at least with primary school education - what matter sis that your child is happy, well cared for, made to feel like they count and preferably that they attend a local school, within their own community, with local friends. All the rest is just window dressing.

I also think it's best to not to lie about what you believe - to your children or to anyone.

luckywinner Mon 21-Jul-08 14:28:55

When we moved here I promised myself I would properly look at the 'not so good school'. It has always had a bit of a rep as a rubbish school but some people have said its getting better etc. I went to look at the school and it was ok-ish. But it is a big school - 500 pupils I think and there is a very high turnover of staff, even very recently since it has been 'improving' (ofsted's words not mine). These are things that I wouldn't have minded if I had got a good feeling from the school but I didn't. It felt a little despondent. And I just can't bear the idea of sending my little boy there.

I am seriously considering going back to work to give the option of private ed, although I know this is not always the answer and around here if you haven't had them down since birth they laugh in your face, which is, imo, a reason to not go to that type of school. But he is down for a really lovely private one that has that warm nurturing feeling that I was looking for. That just seems so much more important than academic achievements.

Sorry if I seem to be moaning, I'm not, I am very lucky to have a place at the church school, I am just doubting whether it is the right thing for my ds.

Do you think if when I went to mass next week God would tell me what to do if I asked really nicely and promised to up my contributions to the collection pot? wink

madamez Mon 21-Jul-08 14:32:23

If the school makes that big a deal out of church attendance, then it may not be a very good school at all. OK it might turn out obedient, stifled, nice-uniform-wearing middle-class zombies, but if the emphasis is going to be on religious instruction then remember that faith-indoctrination is the opposite of education because religion is all about shutting down your options, knowing your place and not asking awkward questions.

whatironing Mon 21-Jul-08 15:23:28

I have a similar dilemma. The nearest primary to me is a very good school, very oversubscribed and its cofe. The second nearest is catholic. TBH the admission policy for both just results in selection of white middle class families and it really annoys me.

I don't mind going to church (went every day for 18 years), but I am an athiest and I do strongly disagree with state schools being able to select in this way. So DS will probably end up at a less good school miles away, shame

onwardandupward Mon 21-Jul-08 17:39:43

Misspollysdolly yay! I'm glad your heart got a word in!

And luckywinner it sounds as if you are a SAHM at the moment and, if so, that immediately widens your educational choices - because you could always HE until a place came up at your preferred school, or until you were able to move out of London to somewhere with better schools than you've got on offer where you are. Whatever, your child doesn't legally have to be in full time education (in school or at home) till the term after they are 5, so you have LOADS of time yet!

I've got friends who've done the move out to Sevenoaks - into London Bridge in half an hour on the fast trains. Others who moved out to Reading where it's something like 25 mins into Paddington? I suppose the side of London you'd think about would depend on which mainline station was the convenient one to get yourself to.

(Mind you, I'm very prejudiced against London living, having done my stint in the unsexy SE part and being delighted to get out to the provinces... )

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