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Can someone hold my hand or give me a quick kick please?! In a total fluster over a school appeal- do I even want to win it?!

(26 Posts)
DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Mon 13-Jul-15 21:28:52

I've posted before so I'll be brief.

We got our second choice school. (North West, we only choose 3 here anyway). It is our only local school, church, fairly religious, large class size which is split in KS1, taught together in KS2 with one teacher and one TA. They have taken 37 this year. My DD is September birthday so will go into the YR/Y1 class. The Head has a reputation for not taking problems seriously. Overall it is a good school I believe but more traditional.

Our first choice was a school 2 miles away down narrow country lanes (i.e. not safe to walk/cycle). 15 intake, does forest school stuff, much friendlier, child-led ethos with true freeflow to outdoors, BUT a 2 mile drive, every day. Twins to follow DD next year to school. No friends in our village as pretty much every child goes to the village school.

I am so over-worried about this. I really am. Our appeal is Wednesday. For goodness sake. I just needed to write this I think. We had obviously decided the driving is worth it for the other school. Now we've done the inductions at our offered school, I've kind of come to terms with it and am more ready to appreciate walking distance.

Seriously. Need. To. Decide.

RibbonJar Mon 13-Jul-15 21:39:34

From your descriptions your local school sounds preferable to me. Small class sizes sound great but they also mean less friendship options and unless there is a very small high school that it feeds into the transition from a small primary to large secondary school would be very difficult in the future.

I also think that having friends that live locally is really important too. More chances of playdates after school/at weekends and as the children get older they will be able to walk to and from school with their friends. My DD loved the independence of walking home with her friends in Yrs 5 & 6.

Zodlebud Mon 13-Jul-15 21:48:14

Your gut reaction is always the right one!!!

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Mon 13-Jul-15 21:59:35

I've over-thought it so much I don't even know what that is sad

Yes, walking to school would be great. But 37 children shock. The outdoor area is tiny, so it's all on a band system. It's not free flow. My children are all outdoorsy and fairly feral. Plus I don't know what proportion of that 37 children live in the village. Certainly not most. The dc may not have good friends in the village anyway.

I guess I'm also worried as I have 2 friends who've recently moved their dc out of larger schools- one this one we've been offered, one another school which take 45 in a class and a half wierd split situation and if I have simialr issues to either of them I'll never get my lot moved as in a smaller school all 3 will be in the same class. DD and one DT have mild coordination problems. I'd say a bit dyspraxic, cousin has DCD, Grandpa too. I worry they won't get enough/any support ina big class as they certainly won't be the worst but equally they will find things much harder than their peers.

RibbonJar Mon 13-Jul-15 23:00:37

Your gut reaction has probably always been the smaller school. You put this as your first option and have launched an appeal so it must have always felt like the right place for your DC.

School options are so difficult - we turned down a Grammar School place for our DD as the all ability school felt like a better fit for her. People couldn't believe our choice but you know your DC the best and need to consider their personalities and strengths.

I hope your appeal goes well and your DD enjoys whichever school she joins in September.

TendonQueen Mon 13-Jul-15 23:04:47

I'd continue with the process now you've got this far with the appeal, and see whichever way it goes as the school that was 'meant to be'.

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 13-Jul-15 23:13:05

What are the grounds for your appeal?

DancingDinosaur Mon 13-Jul-15 23:16:13

I'd carry on with the appeal. 2 mile drive isn't much.

HighOverTheFenceLeapsSunnyJim Mon 13-Jul-15 23:19:31

You might as well carry on with the appeal as you are not likely to win an infant class size appeal (unless you have strong grounds which you don't mention).

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Tue 14-Jul-15 09:18:45

It's not an infant class size appeal as there will only be 15 in the class. its a prejudice appeal. We are going for it on motor skill grounds, have an OT report. amazingly she has actually improved since then and her issues are mild compared to many but they will and do still affect her. The school think we'll win. she has continued going to Reception weary Wednesday afternoon (which they offer all year to first choice children) and have invited us to parent's induction, very much said they expect to see her September. I think we will win. Sometimes I do anyway grin

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Tue 14-Jul-15 09:24:18

*Every, not weary.

Though I am weary of it all!

prh47bridge Tue 14-Jul-15 12:17:02

Are you sure this won't be ICS? With PAN of 15 I would normally expect them to combine classes, e.g. 15 in Reception and then a combined Y1/2 class with 30. If that is how they organise classes it would be an ICS appeal. They could have a class of 15 in each year but that would be difficult to sustain financially.

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Tue 14-Jul-15 20:04:49

Yes bridge. Our paperwork is clear on that. As reception is a standalone class of 15, then Y1/Y2 combine to be a class of 30, to take other children on appeal the school will reorganise so some summer born/ lower achieving children who'd benefit from longer in reception will stay down in that class. Mix up for phonic groups, other groups as needed. It's a Prejudice appeal.

Mopmay Tue 14-Jul-15 23:37:09

I would never ever go to a small school. Your poor twins would never escape each other. Large schools are awesome in terms of friends and resources. There is no way I'd drive 2. Miles to primary - the benefits of a local school and massive

prh47bridge Wed 15-Jul-15 07:31:37

Interesting that they are saying that. If they kept things as is it would be an ICS appeal. It sounds like they want you to win your appeal.

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Wed 15-Jul-15 17:28:34

We have won our appeal.

Decision time. I'm not enjoying this at all.

bingandflop Wed 15-Jul-15 17:35:00

Go with your gut. Or failing that, here is a trick I use. Toss a coin - your subconscious will react immediately and you will know what you really want.

Alternatively make a list of pros and cons?

insanityscatching Wed 15-Jul-15 17:41:42

For me I'd stick with the second choice school. Larger schools tend to have better resources and more experience. We did it the opposite way to you moved dd in year one from the local 15 pan about 80 in school in year 1 to a school five times bigger 2 miles away.
It was the best thing I ever did tbh, dd has SEN and the small classes didn't make up for the lack of experience, resources and knowledge. Interestingly none of the dc from her first primary are in dd's top groups in secondary either.

hiccupgirl Wed 15-Jul-15 21:41:41

I'd go with your gut instinct and the smaller school. The reasons you preferred it and felt it was right for your child haven't changed.

We chose a 1 form entry primary over the other 2 local schools which are both 3 form entry infant/junior combos. Lots of people went for these because they have more facilities and there are more opportunities to mix the children and have more friends. We wanted the smaller school with the family atmosphere and not having to change school for 7 yrs for our DS. He is just finishing Reception now and it was def the right decision for us and him.

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Sat 18-Jul-15 10:42:58

Well, I was so torn I just couldn't decide but DH remains sure he wants them to go to the smaller school- so that's what we've gone for. I am still fighting panic it's the wrong choice. I don't know why I've got SO ridiculously over worked up about it all but there you go. At least it's done now.

tethersend Sat 18-Jul-15 12:15:41

Look at it this way- you've more chance of getting into the local school if the smaller school doesn't work out than you have of getting into the smaller school if the local one doesn't work out.

FWIW, the smaller school would have been my choice.

lucysnowe Tue 21-Jul-15 14:08:44

Hi Dreaming!

Not sure if you're still reading this thread but thought I would be my ha'penny worth in anyway!! :P

I had a similar problem a couple of years ago with my DD. I put leafy country school as first choice and larger local school as second, thinking that I wouldn't get into first choice as it is notoriously oversubscribed. Kind of forgot about the whole thing until results came back and - horror - got our first choice! Most of DD's friends were going to local school and a lot of my mum friends too and I felt in some way as if I was betraying them by rejecting the perfectly nice school. Anyway we went with the decision and it has turned out ok. Like some posters have suggested, I went with my gut.

Enkopkaffetak Thu 23-Jul-15 00:44:10

Smaller schools gets a raw deal on MN imo

We have had ours in a 15 year intake over the last 8 years and it has been a fantastic school. a 2.5 mile school trip daily and yes sometimes it was annoying but frankly so was the 500 yard walk to the 2 form intake infant the oldest 2 started in.

According to ofsted the infant we moved away from (rl move - different county) was Outstanding and the small primary we went to is Good. We have found it the other way around, The small primary had the time to let our children develop and they found the resources to aid with dyslexia in one child and exceeding in the other with little issue. The outstanding school was not willing to aid with the dyslexia at all.

I am not bashing larger schools I have friends with children in 3-4 intake forms who loves it and praises the school to the rafters However a school being small or large doesnt automatically = no aid/aid friendship issues/no friendship issues a huge amount has to do with children there parents there and the management of the school.

Tomorrow my youngest leaves Primary she has been in the 15 intake school her entire school life and will now go to a 6 intake secondary. She is looking forward to it and is going with 5 of her friends.. 4 others are going to another secondary and the last 5 (14 in her year now) are going to secondary schools as the only one.

Many goes OH Wow thats so tough however due to where we live this is normal, 2 years ago my son went to 2ndary he was the only from his year to go and in the local larger primary 3 intake only 1 child went to same school .. So again this can not be taken as normal to get later on.

if you felt good about the school then go and see what happens. School runs you will get sick of no matter what you do.

in 8 years time when you DT leaves primary you will be sat here on MN the night before they leave reluctant to go to bed because you deep down know you will miss that travel to school that you swore blind you never would.. & that you will blub during the leavers service despite swearing you wouldnt (as heck I blubbed when I wrote out the card for their teacher today and that was just my own words)

For us the small school was nothing but a blessing and I count our children lucky to have had such a wonderful experience of school.

DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep Thu 23-Jul-15 19:39:23

Thank you so much enkopkaffatek and lucysnowe . Having agonised more over the school decision than whether to buy our current house, get married and have our dc it has cheered me up a lot to hear this. I know this much worry is probably totally misplaced but I can't seem to help myself. Lovely to hear from mnetters who have had good small school experiences. This particular school has a huge number of SEN comparatively- 1 in 6 is on the sen register and it has a good reputation for those too and I'm always cheered by that in a school.

We both much preferred the ethos and feel of the smaller school. I have far fewer concerns over my dts starting as April born twins there (though more concerns over friendship groups for them but you can't have it all!)

You have hit the nail on the head for me too I think lucys with the sense of betrayal and also for me suddenly thinking why isn't it good enough for mine when my friends and neighbours have no qualms at all?!

The decision is made now. We have her uniform- it's ordered from school so the last day of term was when we picked it up! I will try and get her enthusiastic and looking forward to it now as she doesn't want to go so far. I think this is probably because we haven't known til last week so it's been avoided as a topic though everyone has been asking her. I think my beat strategy is to try and get them to do one of the two clubs in the village- beavers or gymnastics (and with 2 without great coordination I'm thinking beavers!!) to try and make some local friends too.

enkopkaffatek I'm cheered to hear you did a 2.5 mile trip for a similar school. I do know that even the 0.3 mile one to our bigger local school would be a pain. Once they're a bit bigger and all out of ERF seats (all still in them now) it'll be easier too as there'll be so much less faff getting them in and out of the car.

ThrebnellBlewitt Thu 23-Jul-15 21:30:31

Definitely beavers if you can OP, DD2 loves it and has made friends with lots of fellow beavers who don't go to her school. Luckily our membership secretary works hard to keep kids together when they move up to cubs (we have 2 beaver colonies and 2 cub packs), which means DD2 always has a blast at cub camp with her mates. Also a break from the very close friendships she has made at her primary school, good preparation for secondary transfer in the long term too. DD is still very close to her friend she first met horse riding 7 years ago, again different school. Noticeable at DD's birthday parties that all the girls get on really well despite attending 4 or 5 different secondaries! Good luck

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