Not choosing your closest primary school(23 Posts)
I am soon to apply for a primary place for summer born DC1 and I am considering a few schools. I live in a medium sized village and the local school has an OK reputation and I could walk there (although likely to drive on a wet day ). However, within a c5-10min drive there are two outstanding schools, which I have to admit do appeal too (not just due to ofsted).
Has anyone not gone for the most obvious local choice and were experiences ok? I guess I'm a bit concerned that my DC might miss out on friendships in our village, but then DC is pretty outgoing and friendly and always talks to other children at the park so I'm hoping that these friendships will still be made. Will they, later on be potentially disappointed that I didn't send them to local one? Will be interested to hear how others have got on.
He will miss out on friendships in the village.
I'd only do it if I had a REALLY bad feeling about the local village school.
Forgot to say - I'm speaking from experience
What is the likelihood that you would actually get a place at the schools further away?
I went to a primary school a good hour's drive from where I lived. It never bothered me. It did bother my sister. I am considering a similar difference for my children. I think you need to decide for your child really.
I did it. Rather formal village school versus smaller, more caring, creative and flexible school 10 minutes drive away. Now, every time I hear another horror story about the village school I feel secretly smug.
I keep up enough links through various activities and friends in our village that we have an "in" to friends here, but also feel that we're part of the social life of the next door village (where DS's school is), too.
I suppose the big negative is that it means more driving, but you know what? I actually quite enjoy driving around our lovely country lanes!
What will you say to the local mums?
Because they will take it badly. Take it as a personal insult.
I moved and kept dd1 in the primary school next to where i used to live, then dd2 followed her there. Dd1 now goes to a comp thats further away and most people go to the one thats just down the road.
Dd1 doesnt really have any friends locally, they are all a little bit of a distance away. Now shes older it doesnt matter so much. But if she hadnt been in childcare until 6 through primary she might of made more.friends at the park and playing out anyway.
My ds does. We don't miss out though as because of the school's location (the village it's in has an ageing population) we are not the only ones who travel to come to it.
We do get some funny looks sometimes if we're in our town centre and people look at his uniform and realise it's not a school in the town...but I explain it as "it's what we found was best for him".
My DC have all gone to my 6th nearest primary school. Mainly because we are in a kind of no man's land in terms of getting into schools. The school they go to has a PAN of 90 and therefore takes children from our road, whereas the nearer schools are smaller and therefore people in our road don't get a place in those!. Hope that makes sense. Oh and two of my nearer schools are church schools so we wouldn't get into those anyway.
The point is OP would you actually have a chance of getting offered a place at these further away schools? If they are so great surely they will be popular. By all means place them first and second on your application but that doesn't mean you will be offered a place. My advice would be to put your local village school in last place on your application - then at least you should be offered a place there rather than one miles and miles away.
My ds doesn't go to our village school.
We live on a new estate that is being built and non of our neighbours kids do either. Mainly because our older ones were already in school before we moved and we have all successfully applied to the ones our older kids go to.
Since all our kids go to different schools non of the kids are 'left out socially'.
The problem has arrived getting our older ones into secondaries. Dd would have gone to the academy with all her friend before we moved. She don't get place as it so over subscribed and we were further out. We did, however, get in on appeal. She has very particular needs. I doubt that we will get ds into that school which means he will probably be separated from his friends at 11. As this area is planning on scrapping the sibling rule.
However most of ds friends at his after school clubs will be going to the one he is more likely to get into.
Sorry was going to say you need to look at previous years intakes to see if you have a chance of getting into the proffered school.
I would put them all the application.
Chances are you'll get given the local school anyway.
I've done it for DD and now going to do it again for both of them as we're moving house. It's easier for us to be at a more distant school for getting them there (en route to work for us both), better wrap around care, smaller and less formal schools (not best for all children but best for my DD1 IMO). There are other children from our town at the village schools too.
I think if the other school are actually 5-10 minutes drive then other village children will be likely to be attending them too.
I would look at all of the schools and choose the one I felt was nicest.
We are in a small town; we have a huge primary school 5 minutes' walk away, and we went to see it and frankly I couldn't wait to leave. The HT came across as patronising and old fashioned (in a bad way), the concrete playground was vast and terrifying, no trees even on the field - there was dog shit all over the pavement outside, and the corridors, which were actually large rooms, were filled with extra tables and we got shouted at and called names by the children sitting at these tables several times.
We could hardly even get through, it was such a squash.
We also went to see a village school which is a 5 minute drive away. In contrast it was paradise. Smaller, if only by a third, but so much more kind, the HT was funny and sensible and enthusiastic and showed us round himself, he didn't look like he was disapproving of me, the fields had trees and the children were polite.
Also the one nearest to us actually had after school detentions.
You can guess which one we went for, and it hasn't spoiled relations with anyone here as many of the children in our street go to the next town for school, which is even further away.
It was very lucky to get a place at the village school, for us, but we grabbed it when we had the chance.
Mind you I wish we could walk there...it is a 40 minute walk each way and we can cycle it in half that but there isn't a nice cycle route so we don't do that much.
It's all a compromise. But there is no way I would send him to our nearest because it was just a shitty, horrible place and he would have been miserable.
Thanks so much for replies, was really good to hear experiences. From speaking direct to the smaller schools (& the lovely ladies on reception who are very knowledgable), in recent years they haven't had to turn anyone away when they have it as their first choice!! It is because they are in small villages, there are few children in the catchment and you would have to drive there (with no public transport links). Therefore, you have to be quite committed as a parent with the daily journey. I'm a SAHM with DM & MIL available to help too so that's not a problem. Like stubbornstains, I too quite like the picturesque scenery enroute.
Thinking about friends, we are on a new estate (with loads of children) so i'm sure the families we befriend right up until Sep next year, should hopefully be kept and I know that some other parents are looking further afield too so they may go to same school anyway. And yes, I guess we'll benefit from the other village events and friends too.
Regarding mums in this village and upsetting them, I truly couldn't give a toss. I'll do what's best for my children, and all children have different needs with individual schools having their own strengths and weaknesses. I still might like the local, bigger one best - we will see. Open days are very soon.
speaking as someone whose children have been through school, I would say that the best and kindest thing you could do for your child is send him to the village school.
We had 4 schools closer to our house but sent them to a school further away
We faced a similar situation except that our local school had just been deemed inadequate and the one I was considering was outstanding. In the end, we chose the inadequate school - the specifics about what made it 'inadequate' were not issues that bothered me much - because it was in walking distance.
I was so torn but I could not be more pleased. DD absolutely loves school and is truly a part of our village community, just on the walk to school she meets people she knows and it has definitely been the right choice for us. Her school is now, three years on, good with outstanding features and the other school is still outstanding.
But, I won't be doing this for secondary. I think the primary years are about fostering a love of learning and secondary they actually need the results so I don't feel able to take a chance with her education and send her to our rubbish local school unfortunately so I will opt for a different school and see how we get on.
You might think that the school you are contemplating has very knowledgeable, lovely women in the office but actually they do not know enough about admissions or are deliberately giving you bad advice. All schools operate on the equal preference basis, which means the only time that putting the school down as first preference makes a difference is if you could be offered a place at more than one school.
If they are getting this wrong, what else are they getting wrong? Just be careful that you don't put all your eggs in the one basket.
Having said that if gut feeling says this is the right school for your child then you are probably right to go for it.
I don't think that's what they meant, admission.
What I think they're saying is that no-one who had this as their preferred school has been given a school lower down on their list and placed on a waiting list for this school because the school/local area has enough spaces to offer places to everyone who wants one. They probably also have 2nd and 3rd choices in amongst that but it doesn't change the fact that even in an equal preference system if you put the school 1st you will probably get it.
We have a school on our road, a 1 minute walk away.
When I called to register ds1 for nursery I asked if I could come and look around and meet the nursery teacher. I got a verbal and was told that I could obviously 'glimpse' the classroom on his first day but they weren't an estate agents and didn't 'do viewings'.
So that was that. I wouldn't leave my dog in a kennel without ever seeing the kennel, much less my child in a school.
Both dc are now at a school just under 2 miles away, which is a 5 minute drive. It's the best decision we ever made and has had no impact on them with friendships.
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