My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

Hindsight help needed: is social/walk to school more important than anything?

7 replies

orange1688 · 01/04/2008 23:25

Have just found out we got into the state school we wanted; but now not so sure as it is a short drive. Could never be walked and in the next village to our town. My DS knows no one there. It is a great school, albeit a bit tight for play ground space.

Currently DS goes to kindergarten and could stay on for reception but its private and I never saw myself as a private school kind of mum. It is also a short drive ( but shorter and could if essential be walked) . DS knows it there and thinks he wants to stay there. Has some friends but most will have moved on to other schools by the time he gets there. Great educationally....but all round education not SATs factory. Nice ethos.Bigger space.

Third potential option is a community school, could walk to but a long walk. About 5 doors down from DGPs, and some friends going there. Not so good educationally. OK and average little school. Good space and facilities.

Is it better to leave him where he is and forget my own political feelings about private schools? Or is the walk to school factor better and convenience in terms of proximity to grandma the most important? Or do I go with the state school in next village I chose coz its got a good record and nice vibe? even though we will have no mates there?

Help! Great to hear from anyone who has made the primary school choice and now has the benefit of hindsight.


OP posts:
mrsruffallo · 01/04/2008 23:32

I don't think that having friends there or not is a big issue at this age. They make new friends soon enough.
I don't even think changing schools at nuesery/reception level is a big deal either.
How far away is the first school?

mummypig · 01/04/2008 23:57

If your ds got into the school, even if it is a drive away, that suggests that the catchment area is quite spread out, so there will be other kids, perhaps many other kids, who also live a drive away. So it wouldn't necessarily matter, unless you mind driving him to friends' houses. If you felt it had a nice 'vibe' you (and your son) will probably fit right in.

Personally I love my ds living so close to school, so we can walk there in minutes, and it has a terribly small catchment area so all his friends are a walk away too. But I think that's more to do with me hating the car, and being lucky enough to live in an area where we can pretty much walk to everything. It has a good academic record but that's not as important as the fact that ds1 is happy and settled there. To be honest I think the other community school near us could have been just as good had we chosen it instead.

I agree that your ds will probably make new friends pretty quickly, even if several of the other children have been to the same nursery together and he misses his friends from the old nursery. Ds1 hardly plays with his 'best friend' from nursery any more even though they are in the same class! Many of his current friends didn't go to the nursery attached to the school, and just came in at Reception level. It doesn't seem to have made a difference to how well they settled in.

I hope some of these musings are helpful.

cornsilk · 02/04/2008 00:36

There are plenty of chn that drive to my ds's school. We walk (when we're on time) and it's a less stressful start to the day. Finding a parking space naer to a school can be a nightmare. Don't worry about his friends, he'll soon make some more.
I would go with 2 or 3. With hindsight I wish I'd considered private for my chn.

IndigoMoon · 02/04/2008 01:26

personally if you are going to change schools i would change now and not in a year or two as that can be disruptive.

he will soon make new friends and there will be a lot of them in the same boat.

that being said we are within walking distance of the school and i love it like that. we have a nice network of moms and friends in the area and some of them are within walking distance too.

aintnomountainhighenough · 02/04/2008 09:36

Go with the school that you feel most confident and happy with regardless of the walk etc. We had chosen a school for our DD however it was a long drive and in the end I realised we couldn't do it and it wouldn't be fair on my DD. She started reception in the local school absolutely loves it, has lots of friends and it is doing very very well. However we knew the school wasn't good and for a long time we had said there was no way she was going there. Just after she started the Ofsted report was published and it was put in Special Measures where it remains making little progress. Whilst we are happy with her progress in reception the rest of the school is clearly struggling and we don't want her to continue there however she is just so happy and I am struggling with the decision to make her move. I know she will make friends easily however the impact on her will be huge and I don't think I can bring myself to put her through that.

So basically I am saying is do what your gut feel is don't think 'oh well we'll go with that, we can always move afterwards.....'

Goood luck with your decision.

orange1688 · 02/04/2008 11:34

Thanks so much for these really helpful replies to my plea for advice on this one. It's true that as I only have one child I tend to agonise over these kind of life decisions!

To answer Mrsruffalo's question, the first school is 4 miles away in the next village.

The second school is 1.4miles ( but all uphill!)and the third is 1.3miles ( walk through the park).

Thanks to everyone.

OP posts:
goblinvalley · 02/04/2008 13:45

Go for the school that you think will suit your ds the best.

We had the same type of choice and picked the school we loved (state) which is 6 miles away. My ds only knew 1 other boy going there from his nursery, but the school is terrific and he has made lots of friends and is really happy there.

The trip (10 mins) is a bit of a bind, but you quickly get used to it and the cost of fuel - but it has been the right choice.

Go with your feelings - they will be right

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.