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Reception: don't know which school to choose(8 Posts)
DS starts reception in September. We were offered our second choice and were gutted not to get our first. DS has done 5 settling in sessions over the last few weeks and has loved it. His new teacher is great, he's settled in really well there. We've been getting a really good vibe about the school and have been totally converted. DS currently goes to a nursery at our 3rd choice school. So we've been explaining a lot about going to his new school and he's got his head around the idea.
Today though I received a call from the admissions board and we've reached the top of the waiting list and been offered a place at our first choice. This was what we thought we wanted, but now I'm so torn. After getting his head around going to a new school already, I feel badly about the prospect of telling him that he would now be going to a different new school.
First choice school is a single form entry, outstanding school. It feels like a caring, nurturing environment, but focused environment. It is part of a group of schools that are all outstanding. It doesn't though have a lot of outside space. Although they've tried to make the most of what space they do have and have a specialist sports teacher.
The second school is a double form entry, ofsted good school. It also feels pretty calm and focused. Although get less of a "family" vibe. The outside space is great. The kids get to use it a lot and DS loves being outside.
The first choice school have said if we choose that school by the end of tomorrow he can attend two settling in sessions later this week. 😬
Does anyone have any advice?
Go with where you see him fitting better. Last year mine did all the settling in stuff with one school and then my trust in the school fell apart over issues with my eldest child - and I moved them both. Meant my youngest went in having seen the school but not having had any settling in time and it was definitely the best decision we could have taken - the school we switched to is so much more nurturing and caring toward her. Definitely a family feeling to the place.
She was absolutely fine when we told her - didn't get any chance to spend time settling in with how late in the day the place was confirmed but she was fine with that.
I was just in a similar situation and I completely messed it up. My advice: try and think long term and go with your gut. You know more about the schools and your child than anyone here so don’t make this decision by Mumsnet vote or even by asking family or friends to tell you. You are the only one who knows the answer. Telling your child will be hard but he is likely to get over it quickly. Getting the right school is probably more important. Stick with this school IF you genuinely believe it’s a better school for him but NOT just because you’re scared of telling him.
I'd say, don't make the decision on which will best suit him just for Reception; bear in mind that he'll get older quickly.
(I think, for me, that would sway me towards a 2 form intake for more choice of friends, and more outdoor space rather than very small site.)
Also consider which school you're more likely to get any sibling in to, if applicable, and how far they are away/travel time/ ease of walking or parking/ where friends will be located.
I wouldn't worry about DS having to get used to the idea of the new school that will be soon forgotten and the primary school will be for 7 years of his young life. That said I wouldn't ignore your instinct about the schools you're choosing between. Don't put too much stock in his reception teacher, if she's brilliant that's obviously great but he'll need good teachers for the other years too. When you say the 1st choice school is focused does that mean not much free play? I was told to be cautious with outstanding schools as sometimes they get great SAT results at the expense of other important parts of school life. Do you know anyone with kids at either school what are their opinions?
My dc went to a single entry school. It was ok when they were younger but the lack of space became very restrictive as they grew.
Also no mixing of classes through the years becomes more difficult as they get older. Same bullies, same friends - for better and worse.
They now go to a much bigger primary, with lots of space and they love it. Not so much parental engagement but I don't mind that so much
Don't forget to factor in location. Presumably you will want all your dc to go to the same primary school?
Feeling reassured about telling him after reading these messages, thank you. After going through pros and cons we're going to take up the place at our first choice.
How did it go Hotchips? Got mine into first choice unexpectedly and it seemed fine when I told her but today she was sobbing for an hour because her best friend is going to the other one and I feel terrible!