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glossy school far away or very local average school?

(24 Posts)
Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 10:30:54

I posted here before but have another question.

We live in London. The very local primary school is good and we know lots of people who would be sending their children there - dd knows them somewhat. She is highly likely to get in there.

The other school (and I don't know if we will get into as it is a 25 min drive away) is shiny and new with top facilities. It is linked to an outstanding secondary school and dd would get into that automatically should she get into the linked primary school (it is actually a through school). Dd would get into that on a faith basis.

There aren't any great secondary schools near us that aren't selective. Of course, dd may turn out to be a complete genius and get into one of those.
However, I am one to hedge my bets and try for this latter all through school but I do like the idea of being very local too.

Someone advised that the secondary landscape could change a lot by then but we are in a densely populated city ....Anyway, would appreciate advice.

DoItTooJulia Tue 18-Oct-16 10:33:48

I'd have said local if there wasn't the option of the all through school. But, given that I've just been through the secondary admissions process, I'd at hedge your bets and go for the all through school because it puts a secondary place in the bank.

Driving to school is pain though, and you'll be doing it for years. Tough one.

BigGreenOlives Tue 18-Oct-16 10:35:22

A 25 minute drive to school is 2 hours a day. Can't be worth it.

Thatwaslulu Tue 18-Oct-16 10:36:14

The new school linked to the outstanding school - is it a free school that has just opened, or is it a former maintained school that has converted to academy status and had a new build? If it is a convertor I would recommend looking at the performance tables for both the local and this school in terms of progress and seeing how they compare. If it's a free school, do some research about how many pupils they have compared to their capacity as one of the main issues free schools have is attracting pupils which can lead to financial problems as they are funded on bums on seats (or estimated numbers, with any surplus funding against census being recovered by the government). If a school is risky financially it can lead to reduced staffing, reduced curriculum and standards. If it's oversubscribed then that is good, but also could make it harder for you to get a place.

CryingShame Tue 18-Oct-16 10:41:02

Can you not put both down? If you do meet the criteria for the faith school, go for it. If you don't really (thinking of recent posts where the OP were hopeful that childcare reasons would mean they got a faith school) go for the local one.

Go for the faith school as your first choice and the local one next, then you have it as your back up whatever happens.

Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 10:58:42

The new school linked to the outstanding school - is it a free school that has just opened, or is it a former maintained school that has converted to academy status and had a new build?

It is neither. The secondary academy school has been around for 6-7 years. It wasn't anything before. The primary school opened a year or two ago so can't see much on its pupils' progress.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Tue 18-Oct-16 11:03:49

I'd go local as it's more of known quantity as the other is new

Thatwaslulu Tue 18-Oct-16 11:05:54

So was it just an age range change to accommodate primary? In that case it may be in a good position as they would have gone through a good grilling by the DfE to make sure they have capacity for primary achievement.

Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 11:09:57

That is the thing about the driving - 2 hours a day. But how much hassle is the whole secondary school admissions thing?
Two people I know locally have moved house (we won't be doing that). One person is going down the selective route, another the private route.

GiddyOnZackHunt Tue 18-Oct-16 11:20:11

Is dd your only child? Is glossy school doable by public transport? Do you know any other parents who might go?

Just thinking about how many years you'd be doing the trip overall. If it's one child with possible lift share options and later on they can go on the bus in a group it's very different to 8 or 9 hours of school run each week for 11 years.

Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 11:30:41

I have a 1 year old who will be two then and so she will be in the car with us. I know some children in the secondary school but they independently take the bus in. Having asked my friends locally, they haven't even begun to think about secondary schools yet (friends with same age children as dd).

TyrannosauraRegina Tue 18-Oct-16 11:47:28

2 hours of commuting each day, over the 195 day school year, for seven years (more if DD will need driving to secondary school or DD2 goes as well) adds up to 114 straight days of driving to and from the primary school. Is it worth a third of a year in a car?

Although how close is the local primary school? If it's a 15-20 minute walk each way, then the difference is pretty small.

Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 11:51:08

Yes local primary school is 20-25 mins walk away but I would drive so be there in 3 mins

Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 11:52:22

I think DH likes the idea of a very local school because it is very community based and we know lots of families going there but I am thinking further down the line... aarrrgghh!

redskytonight Tue 18-Oct-16 11:52:47

There has to be very compelling reasons to overlook your local option. I don't think you have them.

The secondary school issue is irrelevant as it's too far away and you have no idea what the secondary school landscape will look like then! The outstanding secondary school may not be outstanding, or it may simply not suit your child.

TataEs Tue 18-Oct-16 12:04:54

i send ds1 to a school 15drive away, and have an almost 2yo. it was a far better school and we were fortunate enough to get him a place there. his education is worth an hour in the car each day. is there anything near the school? i tend to take ds1 to school, then let ds2 walk up thru the village to the park, or we might go for a hot choc and get in some shopping. i also try and park a little bit away from school at pick up so he can walk down to break up the driving. tbh it is a pita, and we are looking to move closer so as to secure ds2s place (not sure if they will still prioritise siblings then, it appears it's on the put in many areas!) but it's so so worth it. our local secondary schools are not fab either, so if i could secure a place in an excellent one i would. what's the public transport to the school like? when they're older is it feasible for them to get themselves there?

BigGreenOlives Tue 18-Oct-16 12:30:50

Unless you only just live in London a 25 minute drive could turn into a 45 minute drive, or even 90 minutes if a bridge or A road is closed. I speak as someone who lives in London & had 2 small children with me on school runs. What happens on the days when you get to the school & all the other children are going to the park round the corner? Do you find somewhere to park & then go with your children knowing the traffic will be much worse if you leave at 4:45 rather than at 3:20? What about going to people's houses after school? These are things which are normal additions to school life, not with a 4 year old in the first term of reception but by the end of yr 1 at least.

redskytonight Tue 18-Oct-16 12:41:54

Also don't underestimate the effect on the younger sibling. Your average 2 year old probably is awake for 12 hours a day and naps for 1 or so in the middle of the day. So you're asking them to spend 2 of their 11 waking hours sat in a car each and every day?

Dixiechickonhols Tue 18-Oct-16 13:41:52

Plus parents evenings, birthday parties at weekend, concerts etc. You will find yourself hanging around mcdonalds etc when school finishes at 3.30 and all DC are expected to be back at 5 in an angel costume for the Nativity. Ditto if you have more than one child, collect DC 2 at 3.30 but DC 1 is in football club til 4.30. Plus you will struggle to fit in any activities after school unless they are near the school.

My DC is in a school 20 mins drive away (we moved yr 3) So if I'm at home 40 min round trip drive just to collect her. She is yr 6 and i'm 'over' the drive now. Can't wait for her to get bus at bottom of road next September!

Dixiechickonhols Tue 18-Oct-16 13:47:27

Also think about what if you can't do the school run, eg broken foot can't drive or if you are ill in hospital etc. Local school another neighbour mum or childminder can take, you won't find someone to do a run 25 mins away easily. Likewise if you are hoping to work in the future it wont be easy to sort wrap around care for a distant school. Obviously if your DP can do school runs not an issue but if he leaves at 7am to commute no help.

Willow33 Tue 18-Oct-16 18:31:58

Wow, that has given us lots to think about.
redsky the compelling reason to not go local is down the line but you have to plan, don't you. I see everyone who is looking at secondary schools now a bit stuck.

elfonshelf Tue 18-Oct-16 19:52:07

I do a long commute for DD's primary (3.5 - 4 hours a day) and it works well for us, but we use public transport so use the time to do home work and reading, she's an only, and I'd be doing the commute anyway as it's into London where DH and I both work.

When we still lived in London it was an easy 25 minutes on the bus to do pick up but could easily take an hour on the way back due to traffic.

We haven't found it a problem for friendships, parties etc and play dates aren't on the cards as she's at after school club anyway. Having more than one DC would make that all more stressful though.

Personally I'd be very tempted if the secondary option gets sorted at the same time.

DH and I are both from big families and all the DC are around the same age but all over the country (and overseas) so I hear a lot about all the different schools and the good and bad. A really good school does make a huge difference and I would put up with a lot of inconvenience to get one.

What makes a good one isn't always clear on paper. Have you visited all the available options? I saw 5 primaries when we were looking for YR and of the 4 Outstanding ones, there were 2 that I really disliked - I put a RI school as my 3rd choice.

Optimist3 Tue 18-Oct-16 21:27:22

My boys are at a good rated school and it's amazing. No idea why it's considered just good.

One step at a time. Concentrate on primary only as secondary schools can radically change in 3 years, never mind 7. Over the course of my children's education I've seen excellent school suddenly labelled failing and failing schools become excellent.

Sofabitch Tue 18-Oct-16 21:41:58

I moved mine from an outstanding school that was far away, to the local that was not so great.

Not a single regret. you don't realise just how much extra stress a long commute is for children until you stop doing it.

local friends now that they are older is a wonderful bonus as well.

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