This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Nice Dilemma(16 Posts)
I really believe in gut feel for important decisions but am struggling with this one! My DD is starting in reception next week at our second choice school. DH and I agreed that we would take a place at our first choice if it became available. She is number 1 on the list as at this Monday. Except this week she did a taster session at the school where she has a place and we went to a parents meeting where we really liked the teaching staff we met and other parents we met and now tempted to stay with this school.
So now I’m really not sure what to do if a place becomes available at our first choice which is quite likely over the next few weeks (London school in an area with lots of movement). Both schools have the same academic outcomes.
School where we have a place:
- 1 form entry with strong community feel
- easy walk from home
- not a big choice of after school clubs
- poor communication
- head in place for only 1 year
Number 2 school
- strong, inspiring head
- 2 form entry
- broad range of after school clubs
- dedicated art teacher and room
- more transient population and local reputation for being cliquey
- 30 min walk to school
Really can’t decide between community feel / local school and stronger head and what feels like better resources. Any thoughts? Thanks !
The school you have a plae sounds better. Cliquey and 30mins walk don't sound good.
Stay where you are. She’ll have settled most likely by the time a place comes up. She’s only little. She will be so so tired and does not need a long walk each way. Only move her if she’s unhappy.
stick with the school where you have a place. the advantage of being settled and more local is significant. the disruption of a last minute move would not be worth it.
we have just finished 7 years at our 'second choice school' and it has been brilliant. meanwhile our first choice school in the last few years has changed from being massively oversubscribed and 'good with outstanding features' ofsted to being requires improvement and undersubscribed due to the poor staff management skills of the aspirational head teacher.
Another vote for the first school.
We had a very similar choice. We were so tempted by the 2-form entry school further away with better facilities, clubs etc, but ended up being 'sensible' and choosing our local, 1-form entry school. We're confident we made the decision, especially right now with Covid, as our DD is in Y5 and is walking to and from school by herself.
Thank you for your responses. I’m moving more towards sticking with the local school but still can’t quite get my head around not maximising non academic resources and opportunities like broader extra curricular for my daughter. I’ve read a lot of positive posts about schools with 2 form entry being able to offer more because of their higher funding (which is the case with our first choice school compared to the one she’s joining). Is 30 mins really that far to walk? It would be less if scooting or cycling. Thanks again X
30 minutes walk on a cold dark wet windy winter morning is a lot yes .
. if your other option is way closer
And likely to be easier to arrange another parent to cover in emergency if you very near
My DC used to go to a (junior) school that was 30 minutes walk away (though they mostly cycled). however it was the school that everyone in the area went to so they had friends in our street/close by. Seems like that if your DC went to school 2, her friends would likely live further away?
Personally I think it's better to do out of school clubs - out of school. Your DC gets to meet a wider range of people and the range of opportunities is much greater. I do agree that in general a 2 form entry will offer more than a 1 form entry (things like sports teams become harder in 1 form entry). Though out of school clubs are a bit of a moot point at the moment!
i woudl be wary of being sucked in by what seems like great clubs/resources. how often do the children actually use the amazing art room? There may be loads of clubs but how restricted are they?
The strong (whatever that means) head at the other school could move on especially if she is ambitious. The head who has only been there a year could settle in and may well be taking her time to make changes, eg to communication, as opposed to charging in and changing everything at once.
In any case I would always recommend staying local unless there are good reasons not to.
Are you in a place where there is actual extra-curricular activities, or do they only exist through the school?
Where I am, school extra-curriculars are fine, they're a good intro to various things, but they're pretty poor if your child is actually really engaged with them - not surprising of course as lots of people use school ones for childcare, or to give them variety or introductions to things - they're not for really motivated kids in the area.
They're also full of all the same kids you see every day, so everyone plays the same role in the same way, out of school clubs give a lot more variety in social interactions.
Irrelevant to all that of course, 50 minutes a day says it's the near school, stay where you are.
My DDs 2 form school has a wide range of clubs... But they only get to do one. Otherwise there aren't enough spaces for everyone.
There was a similar rule at their one form entry schools.
First one. You can sign her up to do sports/hobbies yourself. Just bev aside the school offers them doesn’t mean they are of a high standard.
A 30 min walk will get very old, very quickly. Stay local.