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I'm struggling with choosing a primary...

(10 Posts)
becstarlitsea Wed 07-Oct-09 09:51:54

And once I've done all this agonising who knows whether DS will even get into ANY of them! Am I being an idiot to be so stressed?

I'm looking around three next week. One of them just escaped special measures but is now rapidly improving with a dynamic Head who is keen to turn it around. But I've seen some of the kids who go there in the park after school and some of them are pretty scarey, and their mothers even scarier.

I hate this - it could affect the rest of his life, and I might make the wrong choice. It doesn't help that I was so miserable at school so that makes me even more fearful about him ending up at the wrong place. AAAAARGH!!

fiercebadrabbit Wed 07-Oct-09 09:58:45

Now calm down, bec

I know where you're coming from, because we all fret about schools but your choice at 4 will not affect the rest of your child's life. If he/you hate the school, you can move him to another one at most stages of his education. It's often much easier to find a place in a sought-after school after reception, people drop out and move all the time.

Why are you focusing on the special measures school if there are two more in the picture? Go and look at them. Don't worry about the Ofsted - the most important factor in a school is the atmosphere. If you feel it's a happy and comfortable place then it'll be fine for your son. Realistically work out if you stand a chance of a place at the one you like best, apply and good luck .. smile

becstarlitsea Wed 07-Oct-09 10:11:45

Really? Can I calm down?
<bec breathes into brown paper bag>
<feels a bit dizzy>
<falls over>

I guess I'm focussing on the special measures school because it's closest to us, and he's pretty much certain to get a place there. We're in the borough Camden where in last year's admissions 203 children weren't offered a place at any of the schools they chose on their list - 70 got a place but not at a school they'd put on their list and 133 didn't get a school place at all.

DS has a very remote chance of getting into some of the good schools around here. But I think I should put at least one school on the form that he has a good chance of so that he doesn't end up having to trek to flippin' Kings Cross every day.

But what if he's bullied there? AARGH! <bec jumps up and down on paper bag>

paisleyleaf Wed 07-Oct-09 10:15:44

You should get a much clearer idea once you've looked around them and spoken to the people there.

smee Wed 07-Oct-09 10:44:57

Becs check with Camden how it work. I thought if we put a school first but didn't get in, then we'd have blown our chance of a place at the closest school. Where we are though it doesn't work like that. You get allocated places at all your chosen schools according to the school criteria, so siblings, distance away, etc. If by that criteria you get a place at your first choice fine. If not they see if you've got a place at your second choice and so on. So the stress busting thing is it really doesn't matter if you put a really not a hope in hell choice first, as it won't damn you for the others. Took a lot of stress out of it for us when we found that out.

smee Wed 07-Oct-09 10:46:07

meant to add, paisley's right - go see and go on instinct. We ended up choosing the failing school with scary parents. It's fab and am so glad we didn't go with the herd. grin

englishpatient Wed 07-Oct-09 11:44:11

I'm no expert but the fact that the school you mention has a dynamic head would probably count for a lot with me. We have experienced 3 different heads in the primary school my DD and DS went/go to and they make a huge difference to how things are in the school, both academically and the morale and ethos of the school.

You need to have a good look at all the ones you're interested in, though, and try to get a feel for them and how your DS will fit in.

becstarlitsea Wed 07-Oct-09 12:20:47

whew, thanks all. DH was winding me up discussing it with me last night. I don't think he trusts my research so far - he's heard rumours about various schools and is negative about all of them apart from the one which is waaaaay over-subscribed.

And he won't be able to go on any of the school tours as he'll be working (is freelance and can't turn work down at the moment) so it's out of his hands which makes him worry more. Which means it's all on me to look at the schools, make the decision, make the applications, convince DH that we applied to the right ones, and then if we don't get in to our first two choices, to convince him that our third or fourth choices are not a disaster. Which adds to my stress - when I'm trying to convince him I end up unconvincing myself!

And when I meet up with friends they are full of dark stories of woe about the 'bad' schools and full of enthusiasm for the wonderful school that the older siblings of their DCs are in - which I know is deeply biased but still can't help taking it in.

smee Wed 07-Oct-09 12:35:51

becs, you have to insist. Tell him he has to go with you - honestly if he's being like that then he can't leave it all to you, especially as it's not a straightforward choice. It only takes half an hour to visit a school. Surely he can find that. Do one visit a month or something up to the deadline.

Builde Wed 07-Oct-09 14:42:18

One thing about a school that is in special measures is that - if it has a good head and the teachers haven't become demoralised - it can only get better! Plus, schools in this position are given lots of support.

My dd goes to our nearest school which does not have an affluent intake. It then - shortly after we had applied - had some poor sats results and got given a 'notice to improve'.

However, we love the school. The head is great, the staff competent and our dd is very happy.

Plus, schools change their ostead status very quickly. I know of someone who avoided our school, chose a different one, and that school now has been put in special measures.

If you're near a school and don't waste time travelling, you can put some input into the school if you are worried.

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