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Chosing primary school - feel like i haven't taken this seriously

(21 Posts)
whoneedssleepanyway Fri 26-Nov-10 14:07:22

I am sat here almost in tears feeling really bad about this.

There are two potential primary schools that DD1 will get into, all the others we live too far away from (you have to be ridiculously close where we live, our nearest school, the furthest distance they took anyone from this year was just under 300m). Anyway been so busy with work and haven't managed to go and look at either school. Just rang and can go and look at the nearest one on 8th Dec but the other one have told me they won't show anymore people around they have had 10 opportunities apparently and that is it.

Feel really sh!t like I have let DD down, I am sure both schools are fine but would have been nice to have seen both to see which would be our first choice. Am I massively over analysing this, I am just thinking I should have made this more of a priority now and feel very guilty.

whoneedssleepanyway Fri 26-Nov-10 14:09:05

and now can't even spell choosing properly...

Cyb Fri 26-Nov-10 14:09:26

I didnt go and see first choice for my dd's school either.

We lived opposite! I think the onus is on parent as 'client' now, but as you said, your dd will be fine wherever she is. She wont know you didnt go and visit. Half the time they tell you a load of bumpf anyway.

WowOoo Fri 26-Nov-10 14:19:57

I didn't go and see ds' school either. But had visited it a few years back so thought that would suffice.

Do either of the schools have websites you could look at?

Maybe it's telling you that the first one is a bit more friendly and open than the other one.

RiverOfSleep Fri 26-Nov-10 14:20:54

I bet they have a school Christmas fair - you might have to pay 50p entrance or something but you can have a nosy AND see what the children and parents are like.

MaudOHara Fri 26-Nov-10 14:23:20

I can understand them being reluctant to let you look round if they've already had 10 open days as it is very disruptive to the DCs to see people wandering round the school.

That said I didn't see DS school before we accepted a place as we got allocated a place by the LEA - it was all fine

whoneedssleepanyway Fri 26-Nov-10 14:29:32

Thanks, have looked at both the websites, there is a christmas fair at the church the second school is attached to so that is a good idea. It is totally my fault to have left this so late and i can kind of see their reasoning if they have had 10 tours...nice to know i am not the only person though who hasn't been organised about this.

Yamba Fri 26-Nov-10 15:43:02

Try to talk to a few parents of children at each school too if you can as this will give you a good idea. Does your child go to a local pre-school? If so talk to the teachers there and get some info from them, they will have had various contact with the local schools & might be able to give you some guidance.
I have been looking at schools for my DD and it might help you to know that the one I really didnt like when I looked around, is actually the one that parents keep raving about! Sure, looking around will give you a 'feel' for the school, but you couldnt just go on those impressions!!

Talkinpeace Fri 26-Nov-10 16:29:24

I am very surprised to hear of a school with catchment boundaries as small as 300m.
Did you submit the form to your catchment school before the deadline?
If you live within the catchment under the standard admission criteria you should get in.

pooka Fri 26-Nov-10 16:37:41

My nearest school has not gone further than about 320m for the last 5 years.

mrsscoob Fri 26-Nov-10 16:48:17

I don't think you have left it too late at all it is only November, I only looked round the schools just a few weeks back. Bit underhand possibly but if it were me I would ring back up and say I've just moved into the area and would like to look around! However they don't sound very nice if they won't let you look around so maybe just leave it and go for the first one, after all it is your nearest and probablyl the one you would choose anyway.

whoneedssleepanyway Fri 26-Nov-10 16:50:24

We live in south west london, it isn't a catchment boundary but it is the furthest distance that anyone got into that school in Sept 2010 on the distance criteria because 22 of the 30 places were taken up by Siblings. Form isn't due in till 15 Jan.

I am really hoping the one we can look round will be lovely and I will just be happy to put that as first choice.

MonkeySee Fri 26-Nov-10 16:52:32

Name schools whoneedssleep!

Lougle Fri 26-Nov-10 16:55:12

If they wouldn't show a parent around on request, I'm afraid that would answer every question I had. They are inflexible, not willing to treat parents as individuals, and so content with their admission numbers that they really don't need to worry about offending one or two. They wouldn't be getting my child, for sure.

Talkinpeace Fri 26-Nov-10 17:56:59

Glad I live in the sticks in Hampshire!!

letsblowthistacostand Fri 26-Nov-10 18:07:45

Yes which schools? If you're in SW London chances are someone here has a child at all of them!

ragged Fri 26-Nov-10 19:22:50

Yeah, I think you might be overthinking it, but perhaps there are circumstances I don't understand.

We didn't know where we would be living until May just before DS1 was due to start school. I had already signed him up to attend schools in the 2 different towns where we lived in the previous 6 months.

In the end we also had a choice of just 2 schools, DH went to visit them (I didn't have a chance). DH couldn't tell the difference so we plumped for the one with better Ofsted report.

It's not hard to switch between them around here, anyway.

sims2fan Sun 28-Nov-10 04:02:01

If I wasn't welcomed with open arms to see the place my child might be spending at least 7 years of his/her life then I wouldn't think that was the school for us. It would totally put me off if they wouldn't allow me to visit. Sounds like they've got the attitude that the parents should do all the running, because they're a marvellous school, etc, etc, whereas schools should be the ones trying to convince parents to choose them. That would not be the school for me, so hopefully the one that is allowing you to visit will be lovely!

IndigoBell Sun 28-Nov-10 09:19:23

I'm honestly not sure how much you can tell from looking round a school anyway. Very easy to get distracted by nice buildings or a charasmatic HT, but those aren't the important things....

You can't tell anything important. You don't even know anything about your child yet. Will DC need extra support because they're struggling / gifted / shy / bullied / sporty / ?????

And schools change vastly very quickly with a change of HT as well.

I think MN makes everything seem so important, but in RL it isn't. You will start DC at either school, and hopefully you'll be pleased with it. If they can't educate and nurture your child you'll have to consider your options....

I've sent my DCs to 2 schools. First to the local one which had an excellent local reputation, then to the 'worse' school when the 'excellent' school failed them. I didn't look round schools before sending them. But if I had - I still would have made the wrong choice, based on what I would have seen on an open day.

LadyLapsang Sun 28-Nov-10 10:00:50

I don't think it's a very good sign when they won't let you visit although it does sound like there have been lots of opportunities.

If you have a DH / DP what about getting him to give the school a call? Lots of people seem to have lower expectations in terms of dads and organisation so they may be more willing to make an appointment with him (not fair but sometimes true) and they'll probably take it as a positive sign that he is actively involved in your child's education.

Talkinpeace Sun 28-Nov-10 15:44:01

DD was in a nursery feeder for our catchment school.
We had her 4th birthday with who would be her cohort.
Had a bottle of bubbly.
Started looking at schools the next morning - Mid June ; applications had closed months before
Got her into a school I was so happy with I became PTA treasurer and a governor.
DS joined the school and within a year the head started to go off the boil.
DD is now up at the excellent non catchment comp.
DS joins in September (fingers crossed)
I have little or nothing to do with the primary
catchment school is an academy - dont get me started

MN seems to think you can sort things out in advance.
Are you not listening to the mess Helen is making on the Archers?
Flexibility and compromise is the answer to happiness. Make the best of what you have. Regret what you have done, not what you have not (Mark Twain)
Stop trying to keep up with the Jones's especially when they get divorced

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