Seriously, where do I even start? Lily will be going to school September 2018 and the application process for her place will be November 2017 to January 2018. That isn’t very long and schools have their summer holiday before then.
I feel I need to really start buckling down and researching my local schools. I know that the local parents all recommend the school their child goes to (that’s why they applied there) but I want to find a school that will suit Lily, not Billy down the road and I don;t know where to begin.
I know with secondary schools, you spend the last part of year five and early part of year six visiting your local secondary schools, have a look around, meet the staff but do you do this with primary schools? When I was a child and starting school (mid 90s), there was still the process of putting your name down at the local primary when you were a baby, but a lot of school no longer have this process. After emailing our local schools, not one of them offers or favors this method.
Living in a village near a city has it’s advantages and disadvantages for us. On one hand, we are lucky to have such a wide variety of schools to chose from such as smaller village schools to larger city schools. The disadvantage? There are A LOT of people trying to get into them and most people don’t get their first choice, so we need to be extremely smart about our back up options. I’m also thinking about how our choice of primary school could effect Lily’s secondary admission in the future. I know I’m usually the try and see parent, but when it comes to education, I am that “only the best will do” parent as I feel it is one of my most important roles as Lily’s mum to make sure she has a good start to her education.
I know it seems like I am thinking about this early, but it really is that important to me and I feel like we need this long as parents to make the right decision. It seems to be an area of parenting where the council just expect you to know automatically what to do and where to send your child like a built in, automatic function. Well I didn’t get that upgrade!
I feel like I should be asking mine and Matt’s parents for advice, but the system has changed that much, they’ll probably be as confused as us. It’s changed so much since the 90s when I started and so who knows how much it has changed since Matt started in the 80s.
So, for all of you in same position, what can we do? Well, we could start by writing up a list of the local school which you can consider. Find out where your child could be heading. Then, you can download their latest OFSTED report. This gives you a guide as to how the school is doing, but be wary as these are not yearly reports and schools can dramatically change in a short space of time.
I’m also thinking of seeing if any of our primary schools have an open evening/day type event going on, but I’m quite wary of this. We all know as young parents we stand out a little and I’m worried that I’ll be in a room full of other parents in their 30s and I’ll look like Lily’s big sister! Stupid I know, but that feeling of standing out at baby group never really leaves you.
Other than these two, I’m a little stuck. It’s hard as it’s something I’m desperate to make the right decision on for Lily. What are you thinking about in terms of school applications? Have you been through them already and have some advice? Please comment and share as I clearly need all the help I can get with this!