Is it too soon for a September 2017 reception support thread?(328 Posts)
Anybody about to embark on school applications and want to chat? I don't know about anyone else but I think I'll need a place to get advice / support over the next year!
DS will be 4 in January and I think will be very ready for school come September. Our catchment school is single form entry and very over-subscribed but we live quite close so fingers crossed we'll get in!
First school tours next week, quite looking forward to it!
Applications haven't opened yet in my part of the country. DS1 4 in November. He already goes to village pre-school so I don't anticipate much changing in Sep 2017!
Never too soon!
Luckily ds is already at the school dd will be attending so we are 2nd on the criteria list...but the school is always under-subscribed anyway. She is currently at the village preschool and is 4 in Jan so it will hopefully just be the next step up.
My DS is also in the preschool attached to the school, so the transition should be pretty easy I hope!
We have a chronic shortage of school spaces here and we're 5th on the criteria list (I think!), so I'm not going to count my chickens. We're looking around all of the local schools just in case. Which reminds me, I need to book 2 more tours!
Well, we have our first tours tomorrow. Any hints and tips from anyone who's been there and done that?
I'm in DS is 4 in June. I'm in Central London in an area where there are no community schools, but a handful of busy Primary Academies and a LOT of CofE and Catholic Schools (I have unbaptised children). I'm in the process of setting up visits to schools and open days for about 8 local schools to check them out. Bit stressful.
What kind of things should I be looking for and asking about when visiting schools?
Hi Lora, that does sound stressful!
We've done 2 tours now and mostly for us it comes down to feel. I think it's useful to know what they do about bullying. I asked how they communicate learning methods to parents. Both schools allowed us to talk to pupils which was great.
Two more tours to book then time to look at the form!
Anybody else want to come and fret with me? Application is in... So many things to worry about!
I'd try not to worry for now (easier said than done, I know). If the application is in, you can only wait.
What kind of things should I be looking for and asking about when visiting schools?
First of all, check you have a realistic chance of getting a place! No point falling in love with a school that you'll never be allocated.
Some schools do quite rehearsed tours. Others are more ad-hoc. There are pros and cons of this.
Classrooms now are quite busy and not as silent as when we were at school. It can seem overwhelming and if you were used to sitting in silence with a textbook, as if discipline has gone to pot. So try and look at what all the children are doing, if they are engaged, if they are working and if they look happy.
I'd be wary of pristine corridors. A little lived-in mess is to be expected.
I do find that some prospective parents get quite high and mighty about being entertained. Our school focuses more on their own children, so it's unlikely you'll meet the head teacher (apart from specific cases where it's necessary) to ask her about newsletters. She's busy! Similarly, you will not get an in-depth conversation with the class teacher if the head teacher is taking you around on a tour at 10am. She's teaching!
- be realistic
- look for happy children
Thanks Itsy, actually the school allocation is the lease of my worries. We're very lucky to live in an area where all the schools are excellent, really the only thing to differentiate is ease of getting to them.
My concerns are more about how DS will manage. Unfortunately he's had some behavioural problems lately and is currently being assessed for... Something! We don't even know what yet!
Okay, I hope to get the application submitted tonight (after being waylaid by sick children and panics over the proof of address).
What I really don't understand is why we need to list so many preferences. There are only 2 schools we stand a reasonable chance of getting DD in to (and I'm perfectly happy to put them for my first and second choices). Everything else is too far away / over-subscribed / Catholic (and we're not) so it just seems like a waste of time filling in all 6 choices. Am I missing the point?
frumble we only get 3 choices but I do see your point! I think people say to always use your choices but in your situation I can't see how it's helpful. Can you submit with only 2 choices filled in.
If you're allocated a far away school are they only obliged to cover transport costs if it's not one of your choices? If so then you'd be better off leaving them blank...
If you're allocated a far away school are they only obliged to cover transport costs if it's not one of your choices? If so then you'd be better off leaving them blank
No! Transport costs are not linked to your application at all, only distance.
I'd fill in as many preferences as possible. What about a school nearer your parents/ PILS or your/DP's workplace? The last thing you want is a school miles away.
Bella I would be asking schools about how they work with families to support their child's needs and the different types of support they could offer your DS.
Thanks Itsy. Yes, it was one of the
many questions we asked! We actually swapped our choices in the end as we felt one of the schools had a slight edge when it came to SEN.
I'll join you in the fretting!
Submitted the application in September but resubmitted twice since to change second and third choices.
I can't risk getting DS into a school with no wrap around care so I removed those schools. I need it 3 days. No wrap around and I'd have to give up work which would be a financial disaster.
So frustrating that nurseries cover 8-6 but as soon as they go to school it's basically 9-3!
I don't know about the rest of you guys but I'm dreaming about this most nights. Why is it so stressful?
Hi everyone. I hope you don't mind me joining, we're currently doing applications for DD who is 4 in June.
With only a few days to go we still can't decide which order to put the schools in! It's so stressful! How far did the logistics come in to the decision making for people? There's one school where before/after school care would be loads easier and fit in easier with DC2's childcare but I'm not sure if this should be a big factor in our decision making.
I'm already so stressed about how we're actually going to make this work. I only work 3 days but a long commute into London (so station parking, train, tube) makes it a long day. It's looking likely we'll have to move DC2's childcare to fit in.
Alex, for us the wrap around care has been a huge factor. The nearest school to is (no1) has breakfast club and an after school club collects. My original 2nd and 3rd choices had nothing. I work a 50min drive away. Having this not be a factor would be ideal but it has to be a priority for us.
How big an impact would no or limited wrap around have on work life balance etc?
Please remember that the computer takes no account of your logistics. It's all about distance (obvs faith as well if that applies).
Itsy Just trying to reduce chances of getting a school with no wrap around and hoping will be okay with first choice anyway as we quite close.
Only hoping there's not 45 siblings this year!
Hi cactus none of the onsite wrap around care is going to be long enough hours for us, but for the easiest option school they do before/after school care and drop off/pick up at their existing nursery which is 7am-7pm (and yes I do have concerns about the very long day my Reception age child will have but that's a stress for another day!!) Other schools would mean either a nanny or a new childminder/nursery who could drop off/pick up I suppose. They could all be worked out but just a lot more difficult/stressful to sort out and potentially very expensive! The idea of employing a nanny scares me if I'm honest.
That was an awful, not at all clear post- sorry!
What I meant was that the nursery both DC currently attend does wrap around care 7am-7pm for one of the schools. So if I got this school it would be very easy as we'd basically carry on as we are now. All being equal though, this would not be my first choice school.
I bet you are really feeling the ticking clock!
Go with your gut I guess and make sure your other choices would be doable too.
Wishing you sleep tonight.
Just submitted our application! We've recently moved so I was more worried about proof of address than school choice until I came to fill in the form. We only visited 2 of the schools but have listed 6 as all the advice seemed to go this way, even though those further down our list don't seem to have any likelihood of a place. Happy with the choices we've put though.
Our priority was being close by as we want DS to make friends in the local area (well any friends at all would be a start, he's a shy chap). We drive past our local community school most days and he is a bit fixated on going to it so hopefully he will get in - I've explained we won't necessarily get a place but don't want to make a big deal of it. We're 0.3m away and in the priority area. Fingers crossed.
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