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In dispute with ex over Secondary Choice

(17 Posts)
Leish Wed 19-Oct-16 17:28:29

Can anyone offer advice? We have to submit by 31st of October. My son keeps flitting between school A and school B but would be happy with either (as I would I), both schools are out of catchment and non of his best mates are intending to apply there. Dad wants school C (our local that is in special measures and has been taken over by some whizzy corporate academy trust). I really don't want him to go to school C as they have narrowed the curriculum and intend on narrowing it further in an attempt to raise attainment to above floor standards. I understand why they're doing it, but I really don't think this will suit my son as he is a bit quirky and interested in social sciences, photography, media studies etc, which he won't get at school C. My feelings are that dad is being influenced heavily by his girlfriend as for convenience he would be able to drop her kids off and our son off to school C at the same time, although he's pitching to my son as the school of choice because it's local and the majority of his friends are going there. My son is now starting to cave in and become worried about going to an out of catchment school due to friendships. I have told him that I went to an out of catchment school and left my best mates from primary school behind (and those that did come with me, we went off and formed other friendships from day 1 but didn't lose their friendship either). He was so excited about schools A & B because of the range of exciting subjects on the curriculum and now it's all worry about friendships. I just don't know where I stand as we have to agree on his schooling and there's no time for mediation etc. Help!!!

PettsWoodParadise Wed 19-Oct-16 17:39:54

Who has the login to the SCAF form? Also drop off at secondary shouldn't be an issue unless you are in a transport dead spot - will your DS be able to get to school on his own? If there is transport he will make loads of friends in the bus/train/coach. Convenience for OH girlfriend is irrelevant iMO. Quality of teaching, fit for your DS are more important. It is sad this had turned into a battleground. Hugs.

titchy Wed 19-Oct-16 18:14:30

Tell ex you're putting a, b and c down in that order and if he has a problem with that he's welcome to get a specific issue order on the matter.

Leish Thu 20-Oct-16 13:27:01

thanks for the replies. re drop off/pick up, my son is resident with me and we would be using the school buses to the out of catchment schools. they pick up/drop off outside his primary school so just the same as what his dad has been doing so far on the few days he has responsibility for this.

I really don't feel that I can just put the application in without us agreeing. I'm collating as much information as I can about each school and putting it into a spreadsheet so we have some facts to work by. The problem with school C is that there's nothing to go on and it's all speculative. Any trust could promise the world and not deliver, and likewise they could make a great difference. but it's all speculative and it feels too risky.

he's starting to get personal and criticise me and my son and our dynamic. I haven't responded to is last email because I felt angry and threatened and as though he was going to start bringing up old problems from our relationship. It sounds as though my son is playing up at his house and he's blaming me - even though the problems he's describing rarely happen at home. I've checked with school, after school club and with friends and no-one else has observed these behaviours (in fact the exact inverse), just my ex. why do things have to be so difficult?

melibu84 Thu 20-Oct-16 13:29:55

I can't believe that your ex would rather your son go to a school which is in special measures.

To be honest, I would put my foot down and insist on A and B. If my DP tried to get me to send our DS to a school with special measures, I'd thump him!

Leish Thu 20-Oct-16 13:37:41

ha ha ha. I would never resort to violence and I do understand his feelings - I think he's worried about my son going out of catchment without a couple of his best mates. I chatted with his current teacher about this and she laughed and said that he is a treasured friend to so many of his peers. He's really good like that, he's interested in people and find common ground with kids from all walks of life. I'm completely confident that he would thrive and love meeting loads of new people. lots of out of catchment apply to the schools that he's interested in, so there would be other kids in the same boat.

But like you say. I cannot consider supporting a school that's been in special measures for going below floor standards, has major issues with safeguarding and with such a narrow curriculum that is going to be narrowed even further.

sad sad

dungandbother Thu 20-Oct-16 13:51:09

I'm moving house for secondary. I haven't consulted with Ex regarding this as first and last time I raised
Secondary schools subject with him, he shouted at me that he'd get round to it when he was ready, not when I said it was time to talk about it. Well, deadlines wait for no man, arsehole or not.

Go read the Support for those trying to co parent with a Narc thread in relationships.

Then get on with what's right for your son and ignore the Ex.

Leish Thu 20-Oct-16 14:05:22

He's not that bad - it's just all getting a bit edgy and I'm wary of him character assinating me as he used to. It makes me clam up and I lose my assertiveness. Grrrrrrr. I'm just going to keep presenting the facts about the schools (I've started a big old spreadsheet ha ah) and presenting my son's decision. The thing is though, my son's starting to pick up on the disagreement as Dad's trying to talk him into school C and mum's supporting his choices for A or B....I don't want to make my little man feel as though he's got to choose between his mum and dad. I've told my son that me and his dad will ultimately take the decision but that his point of view will be considered. So hard.

titchy Thu 20-Oct-16 14:07:03

Well if he won't agree you'll have no choice but to submit the application won't you given the deadline is 10 days away.

At least if you tell him now then he has chance to do something about it legally and you'll be seen as pro-actively acting in your child's best interests and acknowledging his father's point of view.

Whatever you do don't submit late.

ifonly4 Thu 20-Oct-16 14:09:35

Who will make the application, you or your ex? If it's you, I'd gently discuss with your son the pros and cons of all schools on your spreadsheet, including what your ex has mentioned about friends, limited choice of subjects, what he likes about all schools, and ask him long term which schools he thinks will be best. Also, which schools where you most impressed with when you looked around? If schools A and B are fairly big, he has a good chance of making lots of friends. You may have to accept whatever your son wants, but once you've got a decision just put the application in. If your son chooses A or B, make a list of reasons for his choice, email ex telling him you've put the application in and the reasons why your son (not you) chose that school.

nocampinghere Thu 20-Oct-16 14:41:40

do your best to convince your ex but DO NOT APPLY LATE!

also re your son, consider the pros and cons with him but remember it's a preference not a choice. You may not get A or B which in this instance may that possibility may work in your favour, ie "school A or B is best for him for reasons x,y,z but we probably won't get them as not in catchment. we'll probably get school C." then along comes March and you get what you want and you can act all surprised but pleased "for your son" not for your ex's gf's convenience.

good luck! only 10 days to decide so not long but don't be pressurised.

Leish Thu 20-Oct-16 14:49:06

thank you - yes, you're right I should make him aware that he can put in a specific issue order. It's sad because we've managed to avoid solicitors so far.

I have the code here for the application but I don't know where I stand as it's addressed to the parents of, not just to me.

I have talked the pros and cons through with my son and he's still saying school A or B and he's still saying that he knows his dad wants him to go to school c. I think my son offended his girlfriend and her son (whose already attending school c) - I think that's the problem and they want to blame me because I've been as open as I can with my son about the state of the school and that the curriculum is so narrow and about to be narrowed again. To be fair he didn't go to their open evening with an open mind as he's already harped on about school A for so long, just base don what he'd heard from other children and the grapevine in general. But he was genuinely bowled over by their facilities and the subject choice (electronics, graphic design - all this cool stuff that he was really inspired by). My main argument is that we know where we are with schools A + B as they're pretty steady. School C would be a gamble and a narrow curriculum that I think my son would find boring now that he;s aware of what's on offer at other schools.

Leish Thu 20-Oct-16 14:50:41

And yes - I have warned my son that we'd be 'having a go' at going out of catchmet and that he probably will be offered school C anyway!! For that reason, I've tried to stay positive about the prospects of the school, just in case.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 20-Oct-16 15:01:09

I agree with putting all three schools on the form - but with school C as third choice.

This isn't even really about one parent disagreeing with the other (although clearly you don't agree) but more about which school will be best for DS and which school DS actually wants to go to! DS' order of preference sounds to be A, B, C and so A, B, C is what you put on your form IMO.

Dad's girlfriend gets no say in the matter. There's no need for her to feel offended that DS would rather not go to the school her DCs attend. Presumably, she chose for them to go to the school they wanted to, and which she felt was best for them? You get to do the same for your DS.

Good luck with your application flowers.

swingofthings Thu 20-Oct-16 15:38:43

It sounds to me like you've been fair and presented the true facts to your son and he has chosen A&B and therefore that's what you should go for. In the end, your ex might not believe that you've been fair, but what matters is what you know is true so you have no reasons to feel guilty.

In terms of transport, how far is it for your ex to drop your son to his primary school? To be fair, I can understand he would be a bit annoyed if it is 1/2 drive or more, and he thought he only had one more year to do. If that's the case, could arrangements change so he comes back Sunday evenings, or go Saturday mornings rather than Friday after school? Could you son be able to go to his dad using public transport by next year?

Leish Thu 20-Oct-16 16:14:15

thank you. I'm working hard not to feel guilty as I know my reasons for supporting my son's decision are rational and based on fact, not speculation.

Re travel. My son is with his Dad one night in the week and every other weekend. So over 10 days of school (2 weeks) he does 3 pick ups and 2 drop offs. When my son is with me for the rest of the time he walks himself to and from his primary school which is just around the corner from my house. The school bus for schools A + B both leave very close to my house (one from outside his primary school). His Dad lives about 4 miles away and it currently takes about ten minutes to get him to school as it's one long quiet road. It would take the same amount of time to get him to his school bus stop as it's virtually the same route. And yes, me and my son have talked about next year him having a go on public transport himself (but I doubt very much that my ex would like that as he's not as confident as me about children doing stuff independently).

I wouldn't want to reduce the pick ups and drop offs that his Dad does as he specifically wanted to do them so that he extended his time with our son. Although he will not entertain a 50:50 parenting responsibility as 'it'll interfere with work too much'. I'm not sure how he thinks I get on juggling 30hrs of work around trying to be there morning and after school for our son. But that's by the by, so don't let me get started ha ha.

Wheels72 Thu 20-Oct-16 16:22:14

fyi school C is just around the corner from me and 4 miles from his Dad's house

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