HOW. JUST HOW. How is it this time already?! Didn’t I just have her like a few months ago. It’s like we’ve blinked and all of a sudden she’s off to school. Well not quite. She’s off next September but we have to start the process now. Applications have opened and it’s time to seriously start thinking about what school we would like her to go to.
I’ll be honest and say in the beginning I was just going off other people’s recommendations and being a bit of a sheep. I then had a look at what our catchment schools were and started to wonder how we would be able to apply to others outside our catchment area. Nothing against our catchment schools but I just wanted to find something that:
a. Was a similar set up to Little I’s pre-school.
b. Had a breakfast and after school club (for if I can’t change my hours).
c. Had some sort of emphasis on military families and extra support.
d. Had the same sort of outlook on learning as we do.
e. A good outdoor area and facilities.
The problem is we’ve been a bit spoilt by Little I’s nursery and pre-school. They are just amazing. I bloody love the place and can’t imagine her anywhere else. They continually receive outstanding Ofsted reports, have a huge emphasis on outdoor learning with a forest school and a massive outdoor area, they get the kids involved in so many different activities and learning opportunities, they do signing, they have a good variety of home cooked meals and food each day, they go out and about in the local area…they just do so much. Phew!
Things that I’ve been told to maybe look out for when looking at schools are:
– If you think your child will be happy there.
– The feel you get for the school.
– That you get shown around the whole school.
– Whether the school ethos matches your own.
– If the children are working well together and cooperating.
– Whether the childrens’ work is on the wall.
– Try and see what playtime is like.
– Whether the head teacher knows the children’s names.
– How likely you are to be able to get into the next school.
– Whether you are at the right feeder school for you chosen secondary school (scary thought!).
– After school club facilities.
Lots to think about. In our local area we had the chance to put down three schools, but after a lot of debating we’ve only put down two – which are both (just) out of catchment. My thinking behind this is that those are the two schools I would really, really like and if it came to the worst scenario, where she didn’t get either of them, I do know of a good school, which is always undersubscribed, nearby. It’s just a bit of a pain commute wise for me with work and L’s nursery, hence why I didn’t put it down on the list.
Schools do get a pupil premium for forces family kids so hopefully we do get one of the two we’ve chosen. We have also been told that Little I’s birth year was quite low for our area, so hopefully that works in our favour.
I’m just in shock that our application is now in and we will find out in April whether she’s got in. The decisions go out the day before her birthday and we have EVERYTHING crossed!
What was your school application like? It seems to differ from area to area here in the UK.