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Choosing a primary school - near to home or near to work?

(57 Posts)
Shelduck Fri 13-Nov-15 14:27:18

We're choosing a primary school for DS at the moment. Very very torn and lots of different factors to consider, but one choice we might have to make is between a school that is near home and a school that is near to where DH and I work. (It's about a 30 minute commute.)

All things being equal - and quite aside from the issue about how likely we are to get into the school that is further away from where we live - could any of you give me the benefit of your experience either way?

Advantages and disadvantages I can think of so far:

Near to home:
- DS will live near his school friends
- but I'll almost certainly have to reduce my working hours in order to be able to drop-off and pick-up EVEN making use of full breakfast club and after-school club hours

Near to work
- Wouldn't have to reduce my working hours
- We'd be near to DS if he was ill and needed picking up
- Wouldn't live near any of school friends (although would at least know loads of children from his pre-school to start with)

...And the real bugger is that the school my heart really likes is in between home and work! Bah!

Pico2 Fri 13-Nov-15 14:30:33

At some point your DS will be able to make his way to and from school alone if it's within walking distance. Once he goes to secondary school, you will have to think the whole thing through again. I'd guess that he wouldn't be going on to secondary school with primary school friends if he goes to primary near your work. But you will have a better idea of this as you know the local area.

TeenAndTween Fri 13-Nov-15 14:31:59

wrt pick ups and drop offs.

Any chance you and DH can adjust working hours so one drops off and the other one picks up?

Do you actually have any hope of getting into the school near your work? Check that otherwise everything else is irrelevant.

megletthesecond Fri 13-Nov-15 14:33:40

Near home. There will be loads of party invites (especially at weekends in the infants) and various school events throughout the year.

Witchend Fri 13-Nov-15 14:33:55

Realistically has he any chance of a school near your work? Round here you wouldn't have a hope of getting one even 10 minute drive away unless it was undersubscribed-which is relatively few and tends to be the struggling schools.

AuntieStella Fri 13-Nov-15 14:37:18

Reception place?

If so, think about whether in the next 7 years, you are likely to move house or change jobs. Because you'll get used to whatever commute you/DC have, but when settled in a school and not wanting to move, it could be a bind getting to a school near a former workplace.

And do look at whether you stand a chance of getting a place at a school 30 minutes from your home. That would be pie in the sky for many parts of the country.

VeryPunny Fri 13-Nov-15 14:39:44

Bear in mind that if you get your first child into a school near your work, there is no guarantee you will get subsequent children in.

Yokohamajojo Fri 13-Nov-15 14:44:56

I would also vote for near your home!

snowgirl1 Fri 13-Nov-15 14:46:22

Are you sure you're likely to get offered a place at the school near work? In our area, one of the top criteria for being allocated a school place is distance from home. There is no way we'd get a place in a school 30 minutes commute away.

TheOriginalMerylStrop Fri 13-Nov-15 14:46:50

Near to home without a doubt. Why make a child commute?

Have you looked round the schools? Go, talk to the heads.

TheOriginalMerylStrop Fri 13-Nov-15 14:47:59

Also very unlikely to get a place in a school 30 mins drive away - have you looked at their admissions criteria? Unless its very undersubscribed.

ChessieFL Fri 13-Nov-15 15:17:24

What if you're off work sick, or absent for other reasons? You would still need to get DC to school and a longer commute when you're ill won't be fun.

Shelduck Fri 13-Nov-15 15:27:01

Thanks everyone. Yes, there is a fair chance we would get him into the school near where we work. We do have pressure on places where we live, but it's not quite as crazy as in many parts of the country. Unfortunately it varies year on year, so really hard to say. (In that respect, it's making the decision a little bit harder - we may not get in, but it's still very much worth us trying.)

Btw it's a 30 minute commute, but not actually that far in terms of distance.

Any chance you and DH can adjust working hours so one drops off and the other one picks up?

Only if we bought a second car, and I think I'd rather take the hit on income! Plus we have another DS in nursery at the moment, so that creates an extra layer of faff.

BIWI Fri 13-Nov-15 15:29:03

Why are you assuming that you will be the one who has to do the school run, or take the hit on income?

Definitely a school near home. It is much nicer for children to be able to make friends who live locally, so that they can go to tea/play etc.

BIWI Fri 13-Nov-15 15:30:28

... and when he's developed his social circle, you'll find that you gain friends too - and other parents may be able to help you out with pick ups/drop offs if you/DH have problems getting home or have to be in early

Dixiechickonhols Fri 13-Nov-15 17:12:03

One near work works very well for me and dh (dd yr 5)

Maximises time together, they can go into school at 8.30 so I am at my desk comfortably for 9. Only 10 mins drive to collect her, then another 20 mins drive home together.

Quick to collect if ill and easier to nip out for an assembly or meeting.

Private school so no catchment/admission issues.

Dixiechickonhols Fri 13-Nov-15 17:15:00

Friends wise she plays with girls on our estate from a different school. She has planned meet ups with school friends - dd is an only so will invite a friend on a day out etc.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 13-Nov-15 17:17:22

If you have another DS I strongly advise sticking to the one nearer home simply because the hell it will be if you don't get your DS2 in to the same school will be awful. Siblings no longer guarantee a place.

BondJayneBond Fri 13-Nov-15 17:18:00

How stable are your jobs? Are you likely to be working in the same place for the duration of your DCs primary school education?

Between me and DH, in the last 7 years of my working life, we've racked up 2 redundancies, 2 possible redundancies, and at least 5 or 6 temporary secondments to a different local workplaces. Neither of us have the same workplace that we had 7 years ago. Schools near home are probably better if you move jobs or workplaces while your DC are in primary school.

Having said that, the school we eventually chose for DS1 is not the local one (that was oversubscribed and we live just outside the distance cut-off for DS1's year) but his school does have good wrap around care with loads of availability.

Etak15 Fri 13-Nov-15 17:24:21

Have you had a look at the authority's oversubscribed procedure ( think that's what it's called?) in the handbook that you get with your form - on online they usually publish the previous years figures so you can see what kind of chance you have for example if there were still some in the 'sibling' category that didn't get a place then you know you've got no chance, if there were 10 places left to be allocated on distance then you know you have a bit of a chance etc...

BondJayneBond Fri 13-Nov-15 17:25:49

Siblings no longer guarantee a place.

That depends on the area. Where I live, there's no catchment areas, and siblings take priority over non-siblings, regardless of distance. The distance a family live from the school is only an issue for siblings if the number of siblings applying is higher than the PAN for the year, if that's the case then distance is used as a tie-breaker.
(Looked after children and exceptional medical needs are prioritised above siblings)

Pico2 Fri 13-Nov-15 17:33:39

School admission criteria can and do change. Even with a sibling priority they may change it to distance/catchment first.

NerrSnerr Fri 13-Nov-15 17:42:54

Could your husband/ partner do have the school runs to make it work better?

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Fri 13-Nov-15 20:12:57

Home. Without a doubt

irregularegular Fri 13-Nov-15 20:19:33

Near to home a million times over. Unless you have no interest in forming part of the local community around the school. Would never have even crossed my mind to consider school near work. Though I guess if you are talking about private schools rather than state schools where everyone tends to go to the same local school it is a bit different.

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