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Ex & I just can't agree on school choices

(102 Posts)
UnbridledPositivity Wed 26-Dec-12 19:55:48

What do we do to solve this? We agree on our third choice, but he wants school A as first choice, school B as second choice, and I want it the other way round.

Help! (To give the whole picture: all schools are more or less fine. I will be doing school runs without a car, school B is on my way to work, school A is opposite direction. This doesn't affect my choice really, it's more that I didn't like several aspects and the general feel of school A.

Ex is adamant he didn't like the feel of school B as it reminds him of schools he went to. I've heard many positive things about school B, some negative about A. Ex's boss is a governor at school A.

mrslaughan Fri 28-Dec-12 13:48:35

he is not prepared to do school run - you get to choose.

CecilyP Fri 28-Dec-12 14:01:23

Of course the school run is a valid reason for choosing a school, though not the only one, as I think if you had loved school A, it would not have been a problem. But it is something to add to your list of negatives about school A. As is the head's health, as (if one of my colleagues is anything to go by) absence through stress tends to be recurrent.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 14:04:32

Yes, I really don't see how opening a new school would decrease anyone's stress levels!

Still haven't managed to find out how likely DD might be to get into either school. Last year someone from further away than us got into school B. School A has no catchment area and pupils can be from 25+ miles away.

CecilyP Fri 28-Dec-12 14:15:00

Has school A actually opened yet, or will September be its first intake? If school B reminded your ex of the school he attended it is probably because it is a fairly ordinary school and many primary schools are pretty similar. Whereas school A being new and empty, or almost empty, will have seemed completely different.

ihearsounds Fri 28-Dec-12 14:30:47

You do the school run, so you get the final choice.
I assume you have main residency, and not 50/50 care? You get the final choice.
The HT health is a big concern. He was stressed previously, who is to say he will not be stressed again.
School B is an established school, with stable reports?
Free schools, anyone can teach, you don't need to be a qualified teacher.
It shouldn't matter if the school will help a parents carer. That won't help the child and their education. But even if you really want to help the parents carer in such a way, what happens if you have serious concerns about the school? Because of the carer, would you raise the concerns because of the fear of the carer?

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 15:11:27

September will be school A's 3rd intake. It's single form, reception to year 6, I think. At the moment, there is no year 6 yet. Does any of this make it too identifiable? I hope not!
School B has been consistently 'good' according to Ofsted.

Yes, good point, it might be awkward raising issues at school A if it could affect Ex's relationship with his boss.

I am the resident parent full time, DD has daytime/evening contact with her dad.

I'm really grateful for all these views and insights btw, I just feel so stuck knowing I can never convince him, don't like the person DD might turn into if she went to A, and we only have 2 weeks to battle it out!

Mediation is a good idea, but this seems so trivial - it's not even the school she will definitely go to, just the order of priorities. blush

mrz Fri 28-Dec-12 15:17:13

Do you have to tell your ex that one of your concerns is how your DD may become at school A there seem lots of other valid concerns

NaturalBaby Fri 28-Dec-12 15:30:06

Another big factor in my school choice was that ds went to nursery with a lot of kids that then went on to start school with him. Given the type of child he is, and that it took him 3months to settle into nursery, that has done wonders for his confidence and self esteem. He loves going to school and has done really well in his first term.

I would either do the black and white pros and cons list with you ex or play him at his own game - you want school B, you do the school run, end of. The head teachers of the schools in my catchment gave me a pretty good idea of how likely we were to get a place - our first choice had a huge sibling intake and we were just out of catchment so knew we had a very slim chance.

prh47bridge Fri 28-Dec-12 15:32:47

ihearsounds - No, doing the school run does not give the OP the final choice.

UnbridledPositivity - This may seem trivial but, as it seems you and your ex cannot agree, mediation is the only real option short of going to court. But you have very little time for that so it would obviously be better if you can agree the way forward with your ex quickly.

The reason I keep asking about your chances of getting places at these schools is that it may make the whole thing a non-issue. If there is no chance of your daughter getting into one of these schools it really doesn't matter whether it is named as your first preference or your second preference. So if there is no realistic chance of getting in to school A you might as well name it as your first preference. Equally, if there is no realistic chance of getting in to school B it doesn't matter whether it is your first or second preference. The order in which you put these schools only matters if there is a reasonable chance of being offered a place at both of them.

If you are uncertain as to your chances of getting in to these schools PM me with the details and I will look into it for you.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 16:36:00

I wouldn't name a school that my child had no chance of getting into as my first choice because my LA makes an effort to place children at the parent's first choice. To be honest, and OP, don't take this as a recommendation, but if my ex was being a stubborn pain in the whatnot about which school to put down I'd tell him to get knotted and just put the schools in the order I wanted them. But that's just me.

prh47bridge Fri 28-Dec-12 17:46:56

learnandsay - I don't know what you think your LA is doing but the rules are clear. Admission is determined entirely by the school's admission criteria. If you come high enough up the criteria you will get a place. If you don't come high enough up the criteria you won't get in. The order of your choices only comes into play if you get a place at more than one school, in which case you will only be offered your highest preference.

The LA can encourage popular schools to expand and can also encourage parents to be realistic when applying to schools, but that is all they can do legally.

The only way I can think that an LA could make an effort to place children at the parent's first choice would be to operate "first preference first", i.e. give priority to children where the parents have named the school as their first preference. That is illegal.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 18:19:59

Well, even if it processed, and discounted, those applications which are fraudulent or not within the rules, and discounted those who have dropped out of the process, that would free places up. I don't work in an LA admissions office but I'm sure some are better and more efficient than others without breaking the law.

mrz Fri 28-Dec-12 18:26:42

They all have to follow the same rules learnandsay but in some areas you are more likely to get your first choice simply because schools aren't over subscribed. Where I live there is only one school and it's unusual for applications to exceed the PAN, so parents get their first choice.
Unfortunately that isn't true for all areas which is why it is important to consider very carefully choices.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 18:30:33

I'm sure all sorts of administrations follow the same rules. But I'm also sure they don't follow them with the same speed and efficiency.

mrz Fri 28-Dec-12 18:35:13

They all have to work in exactly the same time frame

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 18:39:13

And horses are not cows. The fact that football teams have the same numbers of players and both sides play for ninety minutes does not mean that they will score the same number of goals. And red is not blue either.

mrz Fri 28-Dec-12 18:41:31


UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 18:44:26

If I could just do the application 'secretly', I would, but he's made it clear that he'd make my life very complicated. And to be fair, I'd be livid if he did this to me. We both have PR, so theoretically we both have the same responsibility. It doesn't matter that he has no idea what DD's friends look like, what the adults at nursery are called/look like, etc. (Bitter, moi?)

I really don't know how likely she is to get a place at school B or A, but surely she's less likely to get into school B if I put it in 2nd place rather than 1st.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 18:48:14

Does your LA use an online application system? If so, which of you has set up the child's account?

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 18:52:08

Yes, there is an online thing. Account not set up yet, as far as I can tell. Forms and info were sent to me.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 18:54:22

Hmmm, well, if it was me I'd be having a little log in around about now.

joanofarchitrave Fri 28-Dec-12 18:55:03

I think it would be well worth you going for at least one session of mediation. I think you have time. Of course it's important enough to go - what would be more important than this?

In these circumstances you have precisely equal but opposite opinions - very difficult. Hence why a third party would be so helpful.

I'm amazed how many people apparently simply make the decision themselves and cut out their partner - I'm glad you're not doing that.

I would hate it if children of my team members suddenly turned up at my children's school, personally - I like to separate my work and parental roles. And as you say, what if you had some sort of dispute with the school and a complaint against the governing body, perhaps while also under threat of redundancy at work or something? To me, that's a big argument for school B.

admission Fri 28-Dec-12 19:01:40

No it does not work like that, all admissions in England have to run with what is called the equal preference scheme.
In effect the LA will look at all the applications expressed for each of your three school preferences and put them in order, according to the admission criteria for each school.By law the school, at a normal admission point, has to admit up to the number that is the published admission number for the school. The LA will look at each of the three preferences that you have expressed and see where you sit in the admission criteria order. If you can then be offered a place at more than one school from these lists, you will be offered the school that you have ranked the higher of those that can offer a place.
So if you can be offered a place at both A and B, then if you put A as first preference you will get school A allocated. Whether you are less likely to be offered school B depends on as much how many people apply for the school that are higher up the admission criteria than what order you put them in on the form. That is why PRH keeps asking what chance do you think you have got for each of these schools. Quit frankly you could well not get into either if you are choosing them for all the wrong reasons. You need to look at the admission criteria for the school and what information is available from last year as to where the last pupil that was offered a place, came in terms of the admission criteria and the distance measurement. You need to get this information to then start to have a sensible conversation with the other half, simply bickering over which school is better is irrelevant when it comes to admissions.
PRH has made the offer and I will too, if you PM me the two schools and the LA I will look up the information on the schools and give you some independent advice on what I suspect are your chances of getting a place at the schools.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 28-Dec-12 19:06:39

Thanks for the offers of finding out details about the schools. Tbh, I'm not too comfortable divulging private information, but I do appreciate the offers of help, as well as the explanations. Do you work in a role to do with school admissions, or how come you seem to have access to special information?

mrz Fri 28-Dec-12 19:09:52

UnbridledPositivity I would take up prh47bridge's offer and send a PM. prh47bridge and admission are the experts on school admissions so if anyone can advise they can.

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