Lots of you Mums and Dads will be anxiously awaiting the news today, that paves the future of your childs education, because tonight you will find out which school your child has been allocated for admission in September.
On our roadtrip today whilst the boys were sleeping, we had a long long discussion about making those choices for Austin and Rory because very soon we will be completing those applications too.
I found myself completely split into two, thinking as a teacher and as a parent. I favoured certain qualities about a school which didn’t even fall under my radar as a Teacher. I am torn between two local schools for two very different reasons. One with a Teacher head and one with a parent head. One nurtures my children educationally and the other emotionally.
But then again, how can we truly know what a school is really like. What are we judging it on? Ofsted report? As a Teacher, my opinion is that ofsted reports aren’t always a true picture of what your childs life would be like in that school. An Ofsted report measures specific things and doesn’t necessarily follow ‘a day in the life of a pupil’ it focuses on data and quality of teaching and learning with reference to the outcomes, not necessarily the process and after all, not EVERY child is academic and it is difficult to accurately measure a childs attitude to learning, their experience of school and the innate learning culture that the school is nuturing within those children – in a day or two’s visit. An Ofsted report can often be cold.
Are you just sending your child to the nearest school because you live in the catchment area? The children in your childs class live locally? One of our schools is our local school, and it is a great school, basing this on Ofsted report, knowledge of staff who work there and conversations with other parents and children. Whilst I know this school could meet ALL of A&R’s needs, i’m not sure it is the BEST school of the two for them when considering Rory’s tracheostomy and their social and emotional needs.
Are you sending your child to the school of the nursery where your child attended? And because that is where their friends are? One of our schools is the school attached to the pre-school where A&R have attended since they turned 2 in April 2018. It has always been a consistently good or outstanding school but its recent Ofsted report doesn’t read well at all. However, the parent / teacher divide when considering this huge decision still feels that this school is a huge contender because actually, Ofsted reports aren’t always the best way to judge if a school is right for your child and although that doesn’t sit well with the teacher in me, sending my child to a school which is a familiar setting to them, where they already have friendships and staff and peers have an understanding of them, and more specifically of Rory and his tube, means such a lot to me as a parent and actually, nurturing Austin and Rorys social and emotional needs are really important. I know that if they are happy, and understood – they will thrive. And they will always have a Teacher mum who will support their educational needs and fight for the support they need in school anyway.
Did you go and look round? Ash joked that the best thing to do is go and visit a school on a wet windy day. There is no use visiting in Summer term when everyones smiling and doing outdoor learning in the sunshine and having extra play as it nears Summer. You should visit in winter when everyone is cheesed off with indoor plays and rubbish weather and see if the children are still happy and the staff are enthused and passionate about what they are teaching.
Ash was beyond critical of everything because he spent 6 years Teaching in an incredible setting in Sheffield which really is at the forefront of education and without a doubt A&R would thrive there. We considered an attempt at getting them in, but realistically, the 30 minute drive there and back, the distance between them and any friends they make and all of the other logistics aren’t desirable, but we both know that A&R would thrive in every which way should they secure a place there.
We still don’t know what our choices would be. We considered moving A&R to the school nursery attached to our local school once they turned 3 but chose to keep them in the pre-school where they are because they have built great friendships with some lovely kids and the wider support of their families too which is a great comfort and it would be great if these continued with the boys through school.
There is so much to think about, so many factors to consider. Some parents take it in their stride and just apply for the local schools, some only put one choice down, some are relatively flexible. Some are really stressed about it and i’m certain there will be lots of parents refreshing their browser, waiting anxiously for the outcome for their child.