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Struggling with school choice

(9 Posts)
RustySwanson Wed 07-Jan-15 22:33:54

My son starts reception in Sep, closing date for applications is 15th Jan and I am still not decided on my order of preference.
My closest school is a 5 minute walk away. After years of not having a great reputation and bad ofsted report the head left and an acting head made improvements and the ofsted rating is now good. A permanent new head started last Easter. It has a nice feel, I like the head. The school was slightly undersubscribed last year, I think the bad reputation is going to take a while to shake off.
The other school we are thinking about is about a 15/20 minute drive away. It has been ranked outstanding for years, it had a new head last year who is well liked. I have a friend whose children go there, it really is a lovely village school. The issue is the drive, plus there are the usual parking issues. There is a village hall car park by the school which is being extending to try and help with the issue.
I love the idea of walking to school, and it being so close. I think it is nice to support your local school plus then any friends he makes will probably live quite close by making it easier for play dates and socialising during school holidays.
I have a baby who will be 18 months old next sep. I am also thinking about when he starts school in a few years time and how much easier it would be to go to to a school close by so that if the older one has after school clubs i could walk home and we could walk back later when it was time for the next pick up the logistics of this for the school further away would be more difficult. Traffic on the route to the other school gets busy at peak times. Despite all of this I do worry that by not putting the outstanding school as my first choice I am not giving my son the best possible start.
Interested in peoples views, would you or do you put up with a longer/more difficult school run because the school is better? Or does the benefit of a shorter journey, leaving you more time for other stuff, plus living closer to school friends make up for that ?

Iggly Wed 07-Jan-15 22:36:14

Have you had a look at both?/

I would go for the closest as both sound good to me. Walking to school cuts down on the stress of the school run.

jollygoose Wed 07-Jan-15 22:38:41

no contest go to the nearest school. With a new head it has to be worth a chance and why would you want to give yourself and dc the stress of having to drive all that way. Spend the time you ould have spent driving on reading/art work etc with dc and I am sure he will thrive.

RandomMess Wed 07-Jan-15 22:43:43

Nearest school - a 20 minute drive is long... local friendships are something that contribute to your child being happy in school, happy nearly always means learning better IME

footallsock Wed 07-Jan-15 23:02:56

Local school - no contest. Love walking to school. Love friends all being local. Sounds like new head will love having parents who want to be involved.

footallsock Wed 07-Jan-15 23:05:32

Btw good is the new outstanding. Lots of outstanding schools are not maybe what you would choose - we hated one near us. And they may not get outstanding under the new ofsted ratings. 20 min drive is a pain

42bunnytails Wed 07-Jan-15 23:09:07

Nearest.
Driving wears thin very quickly and it's harder to make friends.

I have no choice both nearest schools are 3 miles on pavementless minor roads, but I was always envy of the mums walking and chatting.

RustySwanson Thu 08-Jan-15 09:25:20

Thanks ladies. I have looked at both schools, the further away one is nicer but I think i am coming round to the fact that the stress of the school run might not be worth it, time spent doing other things will be better. Thanks for your replies

harryhausen Thu 08-Jan-15 09:51:19

I'd go for the nearest if it feels right.

Ofsted ratings change all the time. In my Dcs time at their school their rating has gone from Good, down to Satisfactory, Inadequate, right back to Good with Outstanding features. My Dcs have always been happy and done very well there no matter what rating.

I know quite a few people in my area whose Dcs have left 'Outstanding' schools just because their Dcs were unhappy or didnt feel right there.

My nearest school is literally around the corner to my house but it's a bad school and I hated it. We drive 5mins in the morning to a school 2 miles away. Parking not a problem as I park about 4 streets away and not get involved in the snarl up. Friends not been a problem.

Always go with your instinct. If it feels right, the chances are it will be.

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