Which Primary School? Am I crazy to consider one further away?(6 Posts)
We live quite rurally, and so any schools apart from catchment area school all require a drive. Our DS currently goes to a preschool whereby the primary school is classed as outstanding. He will be due to start school 2012. However, we dont live in the catchment area (it is 4 miles away) and as the school is oversubscribed we are unlikely to get in if we apply for there. It is a church school and we attend 1, sometimes 2 times a month. Our local school is not a church school and has been quite a bad school for many years - not only in it's Ofsted report, but actually if you visit as well. My eldest DS went there, that was many years ago and we moved him after a year. He went to a different church school 4 miles in the other direction to where current DS attends the preschool that has since closed due to its small size
BTW our catchment primary also feeds into our local comp, which is also a terrible school and has been for years - like it was bad when I left there 20 years ago and still is.
We are now considering other church primary schools in the area. Our possible 2 favoured ones are: One is 3 miles away from us, good Ofsted but would also link into the awful nearly comp when transfer time comes. The other is about 12 miles away - or 25 mins drive. Again good Ofsted, and links into a high school that is excellent. The closer one has a total of about 90 pupils in all, so mixed ages in some class groups. The one that is further away has about 180 pupils, so each class is of the same academic year rather than mixed and appears to have good facilities for after school and breakfast clubs (if they become required in the future) and other social clubs/activities that the children can join as they get older. Both schools I have heard only good things about from other parents.
So I am thinking of visiting both with a view to possibly putting them on our application form, depending upon the outcome of the visits.
But is it mad to consider a primary school so far away?
Don't know if it is unfair on our DC? Incidentally, there are 2 other outstanding schools about 4 miles and 8 miles away, again that we would probably get into but they are not church schools and I would really prefer a church school.
Not answering your main question - but the points you make about being 'linked' to high schools set some alarm bells ringing.
Admission arrangements for high schools vary. Some do still have 'linked feeder primaries' ie children who go to x,y and z primaries are given priority in admissions. However, others have admission arrangements that are distance based. Others still have faith-based elements in their admissions. Many will have distance as a 'decider' if there are too many children within one admissions category.
IF you manage to get a place in the far distant primary (and I would study their admissions arrangements very carefully, as it may be that you stand zero chance of getting in because you are so far away) and one of the reasons you favour it is because of the high school most children go on to - be aware that you may not stand a chance of getting into the high school if its admissions, in turn, have an element of distance in the criteria...
well there is no harm in looking. And it would also be worthwhile to find out your realistic chances of getting into the schools (find out how far away the furthest admitted child has been in the last few years), so as not to get your hopes up.
Personally I wouldn't consider a 25 minute drive (was this in rush hour - remember this could make it significantly longer?) to a primary school as I imagine it would be a total PITA, but you will have others telling you it is fine etc etc etc. As you are rural though it might be that other children at the schools also travel. Where are the other children at DS's preschool/children who live near you going? (thinking about him having friends locally).
I'd also not focus too much on secondary schools at this stage - by the time your DS is old enough to go, they could have drastically changed. Is the primary school attended considered as part of the secondary school admissions criteria? (It is round here, but I don't think this is necessarily the norm). Even it is, bear in mind this may change by the time your DS gets to secondary school age.
I honestly wouldn't send him that far to school (even assuming you'd get in). Consider the social side. It will be almost impossible to have his friends back to your house after school and he is less likely to be invited back to other peoples' houses if you don't have friends. Also he won't just be able to play with his school friends after school which I think is key to him fitting in and making good friendships.
I don't think you are crazy to consider the further away school, as long as there's a chance you could get in under the admissions criteria. If it is a rural area, which it sounds like it is, then children will probably come from a wide area anyway, and driving them to and from each others houses will just be the accepted norm. As others have said though, if the feeding into secondary is a consideration, then check your facts very carefully to see if you would still benefit living where you do.
Thanks for your ideas everyone.
FYI, the 25 min drive is max, it could be less but I went for worse case scenario.
The secondary schools do state those to be their feeder schools but I would have to check out if it applies if you are out of catchment or not? As the catchments are different for the primary and secondary as shown on the maps I thought there may be some link as some of the high schools for eg their catchment wouldn't include people who would be in the primary school catchment that they put in their prospectus to be the feeder schools.
Most of his preschool friends will go to the linked primary that we probably won't get into. We don't have any other children his age local to us buyt I would imagine most would probably go to local community school and we particularly want the church school. I am hoping that as regular attenders we should get into one of the church schools.
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