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Would you settle for a 'worse' school to avoid upsetting your children?

(20 Posts)
ninjinglebells Mon 07-Jan-13 10:00:43

Sorry, I've posted about this before, but the decision about which primary school to send DD2 to is going around and around in my head and I have to choose in the next week!

School A and B are equal distances to both my and stbexH's houses.

DD1 goes to School A - it's OK but there are issues with some staff, the head and communication. They've also increased the intake without any clear plans about how to accommodate them (although this may be sorted by September). Mixed classes has worked against DD1. Saying that DD1 is at preschool there one day a week and will meet the new reception teacher when she comes back from Mat leave after Christmas.

School B is where I'd like to send DD2 - there are more of her present friends there, more of my mum friends there and the communication is better. It just impressed me more.

Thing is stbexH told DD1 I was thinking of sending DD2 to school B and she was very upset (not to do with her I know but ..). Also with a recent separation DD1 has been saying she wants to go to the same school as her sister

They'll only be at the same school for a year and school runs aren't an issue.

The big however is that it's become clear over Christmas (and to be honest before) that DD2 is quite disturbed about all the changes that have been taking place. We separated about 18 months ago when she was nearly 3, but we've recently changed the access arrangements which has helped DD1 a lot, but DD2 is at that age where she's starting to realise that things are different but can't quite take in the routine.

I'm sure in the longrun school B would be a better choice, but I hate the thought of an unhappy start to school in September for both my Children.

(exH has left the choice to me but favours School A and would quite happily rub my face in it if there were problems).

So do I make everyone happy by choosing school A (which isn't by any means a terrible choice) or do what I think is right and choose school B??

Sorry it's long again!

JammySplodger Mon 07-Jan-13 10:34:15

That's very tough!

When you say you've got to make a choice, are you at the application stage of putting down your first choice, second choice etc?

What were the reasons for DD1 being upset when you suggested it to her? If it was better for DD2 to go to School B, would DD1 understand and be okay about that if you talked it through with her?

Which school do you think would be more supportive with regards to DD2 being upset over your split? Have School A been supportive for DD1 over it all?

ninjinglebells Mon 07-Jan-13 10:51:53

Thanks Jammy applications have to be in by the 15th, so I really have to choose in the next week!

It's been going round in my head for ages, but exH has just said that school A has been OK for DD1 so ....

He told DD1 that I was thinking of school B a couple of months ago which I was really annoyed about as she came back and was really upset, trashed upstairs (shaving foam everywhere...) as far as she was concerned DD1 was going to HER school and I was a villian!

She has calmed down and understands that DD2 has/will have friends at school B but is sad that DD2 might not share school experiences with her. Most of the time DD2 really annoys her, so you thought she'd love to be in a different school. She's not good with change though!

I think DD2 will be fine at school, she's fine at preschool (well both of them as for some reason exH thought it's be good to send her to a different preschool for one day a wekk hmm )

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 07-Jan-13 10:56:03

I think I would go with sending to the better school smile

If they are only going to
Be in s hill together a year it's a huge sacrifice to make for the sake of a few seconds at break times where they will see each other.

She will settle eventually and make new friends.

Hope you manage to work it out x

Startail Mon 07-Jan-13 11:09:16

Our Y6s buddy the YR and do various activities with them.

If DD2 had a younger sibling she would have worked out the age gap and been looking forward to this for many years.

She would never have forgiven you sending her DS to another school.

However in many larger schools, the infants and particular reception, are quite separate.

Reception follow the foundation curriculum and many still have separate nursery style play grounds.
Maybe different break times and wholly different staff.

School is a common currency that DCs share and that brings them closer.

However, for one year if they are hardly going to see each other it may not be worth it.

For siblings at our small combined year school where they eat together, play together, walk the reception children to church once a term, share assemblies and where they all know all the staff it certainly would be.

The gap between my two is three years not six, so far more than a years shared experiences. They are very different, shared school memories start a lot of conversations that might not otherwise happen.

ninjinglebells Mon 07-Jan-13 11:26:52

Startail that's an interesting thought.

Actually DD1's school DON'T have a buddy system (School B does). They also have separate playgrounds, actually it's the same one but there's a line that musn't be crossed.

Since the school is getting bigger, there's a good chance that they won't have whole school assemblies as there isn't enough space. They migt not even be in the same building as there may be a new building for the preschool (which has just been taken over by the school) and the reception which is now 30 intake rather than 20.

Sports days etc are all separate Junior/senior as are most school trips, plays at Christmas ...

I'm pretty sure they all eat at different times too as the hall isn't big enough.

Schools fairs, panto trip at Christmas and school discos would be together.

It would be really lovely to see them together, but for just a year?

throckenholt Mon 07-Jan-13 11:45:36

I would go with school B - your DD2 is going to be there much longer than the one year overlap with DD1. You gut feeling is that school B is the better school for her at the moment (just as school A was ok for DD1 at the time).

LIZS Mon 07-Jan-13 11:52:29

I'm confused , how old are your dd's if dd1 is only at preschool ? If she is only going into Reception then B sounds a better choice for you all.

ninjinglebells Mon 07-Jan-13 12:03:28

DD1 is in year 5 so has one more year at primary

DD2 is 4 and will be starting reception next year.

They would overlap by a year

Another thing I've thought of is that School B is a church school and has different holidays - i extra week in May and usually a week less in the summer. As I work in education and make my own timetable I can generally work around that - might be nice for them to have different time off occasionally but could be a pain ....

Startail Mon 07-Jan-13 14:17:06

Your heart is set on B and I think that's what you should go for.

However, you do need to get STbX onside.

DD1 needs to understand that it's how the school is going to be, not how it is now you are unhappy about.

This may not be the whole truth, but DCs are very loyal to their primary schools. She must not think her school is second best.

If the holidays issue extends into senior school it may be a blessing or a right royal pain in the arse.

I know DF, who's older DD gets longer private school holidays, finds time to do big girl things invaluable. (Her other DCs are 5 and 7 years younger and still at the very good state primary.)

Tgger Mon 07-Jan-13 14:18:54

Go for the school you prefer then give lots of love and support to your girls, but it's your decision not theirs and they will be happier if you are happy with your choice.

stayinginstate Mon 07-Jan-13 18:26:32

Why are you allowing a 10 year old to dictate where her sibling goes to school? If you prefer school B then that is where DD2 goes. DD1 may be upset now but she will get over it and you can tell her that as she only has one year left of primary you have decided to send DD2 to a different school as it is nice to have a change. Don't get into discussions about it and turn it round to how exciting it is that as soon as DD2 starts school she will be choosing a secondary school.

lljkk Mon 07-Jan-13 18:33:54

Can you not have them at different school for the overlapping year? Otherwise I think School B is fine, but I can see why it's so stressful for your DD1.

I have chosen "worse" school, btw, for other types of reasons. Like convenience of childcare, or making sure DS had a good friendship circle which trumped academic standards in my mind, or because "worse" school meant we could buy a nicer house nearby & have more family life (short commute for DH).

I think your DD2 is young enough to adapt, any preference she expresses is capricious, anyway.

ninjinglebells Mon 07-Jan-13 20:53:30

Thanks - part of me thinks that and part of me worries that we've put the kids through so much through separating that maybe their wishes should be taken into account.

I'm not letting a 10 yr old dictate, in fact I hadn't planned to tell her until I needed to - exH kindly hmm did that for me, we have talked about it since and she knows that if I choose B it will be because of Maebh's friends rather than any other reason (not strictly true, but...)

I wouldn't have considered taking DD2's opinion except that as she's so unsettled at the moment, I'm not sure if it's fair to unsetle her more.

Hence the dilema!!

There's no chnce of getting exH on board. He's pretty argumentative, stubborn and awkward!

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Mon 07-Jan-13 21:12:03

Ninjingle, you've mentioned your DD's name, don't know if you want to ask MNHQ to delete your post?

ninjinglebells Mon 07-Jan-13 21:33:53

Thanks Ellen it's OK, if anyone wnated to find me they could but good of you to mention it.

crazymum53 Tue 08-Jan-13 07:47:48

Was going to add that even if you live an equal distance from both the schools, one may be more oversubscribed than the other so the chances of dd2 being allocated a place at either school may not be the same.
My guess from your description of the schools is that school B is likely to be more oversubscribed than school A, so putting school B as first preference would seem reasonable. However it is up to the LEA to make a final decision on places so dd2 could still be allocated a place at school A if your first preference is full. I would also explain to your dd1 that the final decision about school places is made by the LEA so it's not just about parental choice and you choosing a different school for dd2.
Hope this helps

ninjinglebells Tue 08-Jan-13 08:03:19

Thanks Crazymum, B is more oversubscribed. However, last year on distance we'd have got in and that was a year with a LOT of siblings. Saying that if a lot of people have gone to church this year it's possible we wouldn't.....

DD1 knows that she'd get into her school.

I think I wouldn't be unhappy with her at school A, just resigned. I've been thinking more and if I send her to B I have to be 100 percent sure it's the right thing as I'll have everyone against me!

Think I will email exH and maybe even speak to the kids.

Everyone I know who has moved their kids has been happier, the kids have been happier. Aaaaahhhhh

Startail Tue 08-Jan-13 09:27:37

Good luck OP.

No 10yo can not dictate family decisions, but yours is anything like my DD2 they will have a jolly good go.

ninjinglebells Tue 08-Jan-13 10:49:35

Thanks Star part of me wishes I wasn't a worrier and didn't research things to such depth, but at least I know when I've made the decision that it wasn't a hasty one!

It's not regretting it that I'll have to work on next!

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