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Who decides? Days left 😩(64 Posts)
Two really good schools. One smaller, the other has been outstanding for longer. Smaller is a pain to get to but DS likes it much more.
Second School I prefer from ease of travel but I do understand some of his reservations - big, confident, a few characters from his previous school going who put him off. Lots of pressure to go there as everyone sends their kids there!!! Results slightly better there too. Wwyd?
Closer school personally and you decide. I'm of the view that school choices have child input but it's a parental decision.
Remind DC that secondary school is a very different pond. Just because some kids had a name for themselves at primary doesn't mean that status carries to secondary.
I've had a chat with senior leadership about a 'notorious' child according to primary. They are the most lovely, polite child we could ask for. The change and move to big school has done them good.
Dc also needs to think about seeing friends out of school, how they'll manage any extra curriculars (Is there public transport at the right time for enrichment or revision sessions?)
I'd rationally calm his reservations and you make the call you think is best.
Well his school choice is closer and he can do extra curricular there, but it involves a train a fair walk.
My choI’ve further away, clubs less possible but bus door to door.
Outstanding for longer means nothing (outstanding schools tend not to be inspected so frequently).
How much of a pain is a pain? I think secondary school DC should be able to independently get to and from school if at all possible (including after attending after school clubs).
How small is small? Very small and he may struggle to find like minded friends (it took my DS ages in a year group of 240). Remember that your child won't necessarily be aware of the "Bigness" of a school as they will only be exposed to smaller groups of children at any one time. And they will definitely be able to avoid children they don't like in a big school!
Why does DS prefer the smaller one? As in, positive things about it, not negative things about the other school.
So smaller school intake is 7x30
Larger is 8x30 so not a big difference but the smaller school is built up not out and certainly feels smaller. It looks more familiar to a primary I think. Smaller school you can do all the afternoon clubs as the trains return every 20mins. Bigger school bus leaves at the end of the day so if you did a club you then need collecting or walk into town which is a quite far.
Smaller school train station is a long walk from our house, closer station had no footpath home!!!! I can arrange lifts back from there but it will always take planning. If he did a club at smaller school, I can collect on my way back from work.
Bigger school is quite full on and busy
Smaller school was very calm but possibly a bit too calm?!?
The walk back from the station further away is doable but in the winter ??? A taxi is £5.....
Clubs will be important too my younger son following in 2 years time.
Oldest would happily not do clubs
None of my DC did many after school clubs so I'd take them out of the equation if it were me deciding.
I would disregard the distance/ease to get to and choose the school that you think will suit your dc best.
Your other child doesn't have to go to the same school, they can go to the one that suits them best.
Let him choose in this situation, as there is no real “bad” choice.
How far is the wall back/to the train station?
If you lay it out in plain terms, YABU: you want to send your son to a school he doesn't like as much, alongside kids he'd rather escape, because it's more convenient/less worry for you.
However, I also subscribe to the theory that parents should have the final say, because it's too important a decision. If you truly believe bigger is the best option, send him there. But be prepared for him to be unhappy about it.
No such thing as too calm in my opinion! We had an identical choice last year and chose the smaller school further away. Our daughter is extremely happy and the results this year beat the larger school.
Thank you for the blunt and honest replies which is very much needed right now! I think my worry is until he actually tries the walk back from the station etc he doesn’t really know - so going to do it tomorrow! It’s about 20/25 mins
Most days I can arrange something- it’s doable but will always take planning or cost.
You decide definitely but your DS should have a say of course, what makes it so tricky!
I would look what subjects they both focus, are there any clubs he can do, what about 6th form for the future? You said that smaller feels too calm, can you look up past newsletters at their website to see what’s going on? Do their students get into Oxbridge regularly? Also I wouldn’t bother too much about outstanding, being good is good enough, the inspection might be due next week and all might change.
Our choice looked more complicated for travel at first and then we realised that actually it’s not too bad. I would say you need to have 2 travel options: main and back up. They both should be relatively doable. If you worried about travelling could you do the possible travel to school by yourself tomorrow/ Friday morning to get the feel. I did this and it certainly helped me to decide.
We had similar dilemma, old spread out school against big modern one, similar to yours size wise. We chose smaller but we all liked it better and it had more suitable curriculum. Some children still thrive better in more caring environment at this stage, some are ready to go to the big world. So I would think about your DS personality, which school will accommodate him better.
I guess it’s the choice between being totally independent in a school he might not feel is quite right verses £80 more a year in travel and needing more input from us to get him home from.......
Both options are around £700 in travel 🤦♀️
I would disregard the size issue (partly because there's not a lot of difference and partly because DD's school only had an intake of 180 which I thought seemed pretty big!).
Personally I'd focus on;
Do current parents of each school regard the school highly or do there seem to be lots of little issues (haven't heard a bad word about DD's school from parents with older siblings - even episodes of bullying have been dealt with swiftly and effectively whereas everyone avoids another school because of loads of issues)?
Will your child have friends at the school you choose? I know everyone says they make new friends anyway but I think if your child is even slightly shy it helps knowing that for the first few months they can get together with people they know at break/lunchtime/bus home.
Don't underestimate the journey time. I love the fact that DD catches a dedicated school bus literally 100m from our house. She has to leave the house at 7.45 but is home for 4pm. She tends to use the journey to catch up with friends/listen to music/play games on phone.
Because so many kids at DD's school travel by bus, most clubs etc. meet at lunchtime, tends to only be sports matches after school. I agree with a pp, I wouldn't make after school stuff a deciding factor.
Are you likely to get into either/both school/schools? I don't know about your local situation but round here the number of kids in Y6 is enormous and there are going to be loads of kids who don't get a place in their catchment school. DD's head told us at an open evening a few weeks ago that she is dreading admissions this year - in her words it will be 'carnage'. So maybe prepare your DC for either school (or maybe even a 3rd unmentioned one?)
Anyway (after that long essay!), good luck with it all, it was a nightmare for us last year but the people on MN were really lovely and supportive.
My dd is now in Y7. We went through this last year. She's a very reserved person and academically very able. We didn't get the school we put first and failed in our appeal. She was massively brave and stoic and, despite there only being a couple of lads she really didn't like going to the secondary she is at now, she has really settled in. It's also a good school and we are really proud of her.
I had a similar choice last year - the bigger (about 1/3 bigger) school was the one 'everyone' sends their DC to here, slightly further from home - both walkable. Slightly better results etc, all friends going.
I chose the smaller school. For me the pastoral side won, everything I saw and heard at the smaller school felt right for DC, they knew only one person going - but had made a friend on taster day and had a group of friends by the end of the first week.
She was never the type to do clubs however is now doing 2, including a team sport I never considered she would be interested in!
And everything I have heard from the other school is reinforcing my belief that I picked the right one for her.
So I'd suggest you think more about pastoral / education side... if either more closely fit what your DC would benefit from. At the end of the day - travel is only going to be an issue for a few months until they get in the swing, the pastoral / pressure / homework ethos etc will affect the next 5 years.
What a brave and amazing daughter beinisurge - you must be so proud.
Waspnest both parents seem to be really happy, I think the bigger school very slightly less so in regards to only sometimes pushing the most able but 90% got maths a-c in old terms so they clearly push everyone. Progress at the smaller school is better, results in bigger school better?!?
Smaller school he’d know more local friends, bigger school old primary friends but they all live by the school so not as much change of friends on the door step initially. That said there are possibly 3 going from our village but he doesn’t know them yet
OOhmrdarcy - yes that’s so true
It’s amaing how the pressure from others and traditions can influence though
It's great that both schools sound good. For me personally, the walking home from the station in the dark especially on wet winter evenings would probably be the deciding factor, would they be on their own or with friends? Because we live out in the sticks I'm used to being a taxi service for DD to see her friends - she still has friends from baby groups that she's never been to school with - so I probably see the friendship thing as being less of an issue than others do!
Bellinisurge they are so resilient aren't they? DD was absolutely distraught at leaving primary, wouldn't stop crying on the last day. By the end of the first week at secondary she'd practically forgotten about primary school.
I think I’d always have a taxi option back up to be honest.
Do you think a scooter 🛴 to and from the station is cool at secondary??? Will it likely get stolen on the train??
I don't think a scooter is cool at secondary, sorry! (Maybe a Segway thingy is cool though? ) I'm not sure it would be nicked on a train but he may struggle to put it somewhere at school? A bike might be an option (don't know about modern train policy on that though) although personally I'd probably worry more about a child cycling home in the dark on the road than walking home on a pavement.
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