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Honest opinions needed- two schools to choose from, think my reasoning may be up the creek.

(18 Posts)
Riggs Sun 28-Oct-12 07:44:25

We will shortly be applying for a primary school place for dd for next September. We live very rurally with schools spaced far apart and none in walking distance. We live in a tiny hamlet with just a very few houses. We have narrowed down to two schools that we like, but not sure if our reasoning for one of them is particularly sound. Both schools are a similar set-up and size with good results. We also got a good feeling from visiting both.

School 1 is in the village nearest to us- still need to travel to it by car though. We don't really feel part of this village as we don't know anyone or socialise there, but appreciate this would change if dd went to school there. Biggest benefit is it is closest however we will be moving house in the next couple of years and while we will remain in the area, this school may not then be the closest. The children who attend this school tend to all come from a very close proximity.

School 2- and I think this is where I may be going mad- is 15-20 mins away by car and is the village my parents live in and where I was brought up. The school is very similar but has children from a slightly wiser radius ( not many from 20 mins away though) so I think in the situation that we moved house, it wouldn't be so much of an effort to feel part of the school. But mostly I am wondering about the benefits of it being close to my parents. They adore dd and are very close to her. They are not young, but equally not infirm and have played a huge part in caring for dd in baby years. They would want to continue being involved if possible and pick her up from school sometimes etc. In addition, we visit them at least a couple of times a week and I would want to continue doing so. I regularly let their dog out if they are out for the day and also give a hand with things they struggle with like the Internet. So dd being at school in their village could tie in really well, and would mean that I can easily drop in on them. However I realise that things might change and that this is not a reason to base choosing a school. Fwiw dd goes to a group in my parents village once a week so knows a few of the children and the head of both schools think she would get a place. I think if we actually lived in our nearest village it would be different but I feel no more part of it than anywhere else.

Also, if one of the schools had been much better suited to dd we would choose it like a shot as she comes first in all this. But these are both schools we think suit her well after visiting several.

Would appreciate feedback and opinions on this and wonder if anyone else has chosen a school with factors such as parents in mind?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 28-Oct-12 08:02:40

Your reasoning is not up the creek! It sounds well thought through to me.

The only thing I'd add is have you been round both school and, if so, did you get a good vibe?

All else being equal, I'd go for the second school

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 28-Oct-12 08:06:49

Ps my friend sent her children to the school in our village, even though she lives in the next village 15 mins away because her parents live here and they can do pick ups on the days she works.

Seems to work very well. The children's friends are based here, which means they have fewer local friends, but they do have security of child care. in our case, all the kids from both villages end up in the same secondary school anyway.

SavoyCabbage Sun 28-Oct-12 08:08:07

Unless school 1 is 5 minutes away rather than 15-20 then I too would go to the second school. I think the fact that your parents can pick her up etc will enhance your dd's life.

HoratiaWinWOOHOOHOOHOOd Sun 28-Oct-12 08:35:21

I'd be more keen on school two as well.

How likely are you to get in to each one? Are you in catchment? Many siblings expected?

Our council publishes stats in September of the applications/places awarded for each school. Knowing how popular/oversubscribed a school tends to be can be very useful. Ours also shows how far away the 30th child lived IYSWIM - 2011 was 3 miles, 2012 was 0.75 (we are about 0.73 so we were jolly lucky to get in this year).

The head should have a rough idea of how many siblings are expected.

Good luck!

chaosisawayoflife Sun 28-Oct-12 11:13:31

Also think about petrol costs. I'm assuming 15-20 mins drive in a rural Area is about 10 miles, if so that'll be 40 miles a day or 200 miles a week.

LeeCoakley Sun 28-Oct-12 11:22:46

Second school if both are equally good. Grandparents being part of school life is lovely for all of you.

midseasonsale Sun 28-Oct-12 12:19:24

How far is the first school?

At the moment I'm leaning towards the second but only if you think you might move closer at some point.

midseasonsale Sun 28-Oct-12 12:20:29

that's 1 hour or one hour and 20 of driving a day for you. Do look at costs.

SummerRain Sun 28-Oct-12 12:25:40

One of the kids in dds class is from a to when 15 mins away for exactly the same reason. It works for that family and I can't see any reason it wouldn't work for yours.

Id go with the second school as your reasoning is spot on imo

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Oct-12 12:28:00

If petrol costs aren't a concern and time for you doing all the driving isn't a concern I'd go for the second school. Remember as she gets older there may be more trips to the further village, going to friends for tea, will she want to join brownies with her school friends, etc.

Riggs Sun 28-Oct-12 15:20:34

Thanks so much for the replies. Yes got good vibes from both schools which is great. Both heads said that although they couldn't give a definitive answer they thought places shouldn't be a problem although I think purely from a distance point of view that there's a chance we wouldn't get in to furthest school if numbers should change a bit.

The driving is a very good point, school 1 is 10 minute drive away, slightly less perhaps, via a certain road. However it is a tiny lane and would be impassable if icy, snowy or even if a lot of rain. I know those are extremes but if we couldn't take that road we would have to take another route that would be about 15-20 minutes.

School 2 is 15-20 mins but on slightly more major roads. The driving itself doesn't bother me really, although I guess the cost might become problematic. But if I was taking dd I visit my parents after school and she attended school 1, I guess we'd be doing that drive anyway at least twice a week.
Horatia do you have any idea how I would go about lo

Riggs Sun 28-Oct-12 15:22:12

Posted too soon! How would I go about looking for the stats that you mentioned Horatia? Sounds interesting!

Riggs Sun 28-Oct-12 15:24:28

Also a good point about doing more journeys once she gets a little older. The social side of things for dd is a worry for me, I hope she would be included if we went for school 2.

picturesinthefirelight Sun 28-Oct-12 15:35:55

My ds go to a school 7 miles away (20-30 mins away by car depending on traffic). It's in a town & close to where dd goes to ballet/we go shopping/socialise etc. it's also 10 mins from where I work rather than 39-40 mins Luke our nearest school is.

I cannot emphasise enough how useful it can be to have grandparents nearby to helP with pickups occasionally.

In your situation is go with school 2.

Riggs Sun 28-Oct-12 15:48:20

Thanks pictures, sounds good- was it fairly easy to get a place for you? Has it been ok with regards to friendships being that little bit further away?

admission Sun 28-Oct-12 16:23:19

If you look at the admission booklet from the LA in which you live (it will be on the website under school admissions) then you will find information on each school.
The first is to check what the admission criteria for each school is. If they are both community schools then they will have the same admission criteria which will probably be cared for children, then siblings, then those in catchment for the school and then distance. If however the school is a faith school then it could be that the admission criteria will have some kind of priority for worship at the local church. One thing to check is whether distances are measured by straight line distance or by road distance. The probability is that straight line distance will be of benefit to you if you prefer the further distance school.
The admission booklet should also give you some detail on how many preferences were lodged for admission to the school, how many were actually given and what admission criteria the last one admitted was on. That will probably be on distance which may give you an idea of how likely it is to get the second preference school.

HoratiaWinWOOHOOHOOHOOd Sun 28-Oct-12 17:05:11

What admission said - this year we have hunted it out, as some of DS(4)'s friends didn't get in, but last year we were sent them, or at least the link, wit h the application pack.

It also details the criteria taken into account, which is particularly significant for church schools. If you are practising Christians and your preferred school is church maintained then you might jump the queue a bit regardless of distance even if that is a divisive and pernicious policy.

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