The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Whatever you like, really, knock yourself out... I'm not the boss of you.

Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby yorkshirepudding » 02 May 2016, 18:10

Yay, play play play, and no SATs!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 02 May 2016, 20:16

I love how positive you sound ph!

We haven't made a decision yet as we haven't been to any more schools! The boys and I are checking out the one with the bad reputation on Thursday and next week we're all going to the other real possibility, which is the one muncher's bedtie is already at, where his kinder feeds into and where he wants to go. I've been speaking to other local mums and most in my area struggle to choose between the two because there's not much between them. I'm really interested to see how the classes interact in this one (two form intake) because that was the big point of difference for the other. If there's lots of interaction I think it might make it an easier choice.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby pirate_han » 10 May 2016, 12:24

How did you get on emzit?

I've just signed up to Twinkl as a home educator. I guess we are doing this! :D <gulp!>
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A - January 15
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 10 May 2016, 12:42

Gulp indeed ph!

I forgot I hadn't updated after Thursday. The school was much better than I thought. A few really great features - bush block past the oval so they spend a lot of time over there in particular. Not sure how I feel about small class sizes (84 in the whole school) for Muncher or squish down the track. Muncher is so reserved it could be either brilliant or disaster. Squish would do better somewhere bigger I think. Main concerns are combined prep/1 class, smaller school therefore less funding and potential closure, the head was nice but not as enthusiastic as the first school, only one male staff member (Japanese teacher for a lesson a week). It wasn't bad but it didn't feel right. But at least we know.

Next school tour is on Friday and I'm leaning back towards it...
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby mummybear » 10 May 2016, 18:08

emzit wrote:Hope you manage to sort things out whichever way that works for you PH.

Can i drag you all back a bit and ask for suggestions for questions to ask schools? So far I have homework policy, religious education, technology, access to languages and arts, bullying... What have I missed?


Hi, if I may as a parent of a child who used to go to an independent school, I'd like to offer my best tips of what I feel one should look for and look out for.

Top of my list might seem something that matters not a lot when your child is reception aged, however, I would say that I'd want to know as much as possible about the curriculum that the school follows. It may be an advantage not to have to stick to the foibles and constant changes of the National Curriculum but if a school has stuck with essentially the same curriculum for a decade or more it's going to be stale however much it might be presented as tried and tested.

Second thing I'd consider is where does the school under consideration lead to? If it is a stand alone Pre Prep where's the follow on school and what reputation does it have? If it has it's own Prep School then does that prep school feed a particular next school. In your area do children have the choice of leaving at 11 and/or 14 and how does that limit things.

Sport - too much of it is a bad thing unless your child is super sporty. Private schools often have longer days but when one takes into account the shorter terms and the 3-4 long sessions of sport then it may be that a school doesn't seem like a good academic prospect.

Special needs - read between the lines of the special needs policy as with many independent schools kids who have any difficulties - and here I mean really insignificant minor one as much as more serious challenges - are often weeded out/unwelcome/not genuinely helped.

Untrained teachers - they do still exist in private schools.

Sorry if this is negative, but it reflects our experiences.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 10 May 2016, 19:47

Thanks for the feedback mummybear. I remember your issues with the independent school, hope things are better for T at the new one!

We are actually only looking at government schools - in Australia prep is the name for reception so I might have given the impression we're a bit fancier than we actually are! Luckily we have the two nearby schools with great reputations which makes life a bit easier.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby mummybear » 10 May 2016, 20:03

emzit wrote:Thanks for the feedback mummybear. I remember your issues with the independent school, hope things are better for T at the new one!

We are actually only looking at government schools - in Australia prep is the name for reception so I might have given the impression we're a bit fancier than we actually are! Luckily we have the two nearby schools with great reputations which makes life a bit easier.


DOH! I completely forgot where you were. Not been on here much just lately. Sorry!

It's actually going so well. T is so happy, very busy and finally just being appreciated for being himself. Completely blossoming and making up for lost time. Everything is nicer about the new school - the parents, the teachers, the head, everything!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 10 May 2016, 21:35

That's ok! :)

So pleased to hear T is doing so well! Clearly the right decision!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 13 May 2016, 07:56

We had the school tour today. I'm in the middle of finishing off dinner so no time for a long one but I just needed to come here and say arrrrgghh!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby LucyLastic » 13 May 2016, 13:52

I found out yesterday that the seemingly lovely two-form entry school that C is due to attend from September is planning on merging classes from Y1 onwards, so Ys 1-2 together and then Ys 3-4. I have made an appointment to meet with the head to discuss it to see how she thinks it will impact teaching and learning for the bulk of C's primary school experience :-/

Anyone got experience with mixed year classes? Because this school has gone two form entry to mixed year groups, so it's something I hadn't banked on. I'm actually quite annoyed that they've moved the goalposts after all of the deadlines.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Lily » 13 May 2016, 15:28

That would seriously irritate me, too, LL. They should have given you the chance to take it into consideration.

My middle school had joint classes for Y5 and Y6 (I was at school in a county with a three-tier school structure, where secondary started in Y8). The class studied topics on a 2-year cycle, with different work on the same topic for the older and younger kids. As a bright kid, I spent Y5 doing the Y6 work; rather than staying at the same level for another year, albeit with different topics, I skipped a year and went straight into Y7. So, assuming C is on the sharp side, I'd be asking about how they will deal with stretching the more able children as they move into the older half of each class.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 17 May 2016, 23:54

Fuckity fuckity fuck.

I've been meaning to update and seek advice and generally be tormented and stressed in here over the school decision but it's been too long winded! We visited the school we had been leaning towards (twice) and that muncher wants to go to, and have been feeling all confused and conflicted, because while the facilities are better and mincher really wants to go there and it would be a good choice, they have too much focus on technology and were very flaky on some answers to questions. We felt that the first place we looked at has more of the ethos we want and feel comfortable with, but still had questions over the big classroom and open space, plus muncher wants so badly to go to the second one. It would still be a good choice even if. It perfect.

I have been talking about the stress and options to people, and everyone has said they think I've actually made my decision. And last night DH and I finally agreed that yes, we think we have made the decision. We have been on the same page so at least no arguments there!

So this morning we have been back to school no 1 to look at the classroom again and ask some more questions about how a reserved child would fit in and other stuff about technology use that maybe would have levelled the playing field a bit more. And we've been told there are 63 enrolments already for a class of 60 so we aren't guaranteed a place. Some kids might not take it up and there are two who may repeat kinder but regard a parent decision. So now we might be stuck with our second choice after all the stress of making the choice. They are talking about extending the classroom and taking extra kids (up to 70) but need to get agreement from the board at education department.

I want to cry. It was so hard to make this decision and to not even know now what's going to happen is going to stress me out majorly. :(
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby LucyLastic » 18 May 2016, 00:10

Had to cancel my appointment today as C has conjunctivitis. Boo. Will have to rearrange.
That all sounds so stressful, emzit. I hope muncher gets a place in the school you prefer, but even if that's not the case, it sounds like the other school is good too? Try not to worry about things you can't change and focus on the positives. Hugs.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby LucyLastic » 26 May 2016, 14:14

Not strictly hand holding, but...
... just a heads up, in case you haven't seen the TV ad or whatever, but there is currently 25% off Tu clothing at Sainsbury's. You can now buy online and collect in store (or pay for delivery). I don't have shares in Sainsbury's or work there! But I figure quite a lot of you will be needing uniform for September, or stuff for summer holidays. I am now awaiting blouses (ugh), pinafores (cute!), ankle socks, plimsolls, skirts, vests and pink ginham dresses. Yes, that's right, my baby is going to be attending school in the 1950s :-/ I seem to recall my Mum telling me that she wore pink fricking gingham dresses to school. Made me quite teary, buying uniform. Although I suspect hormones may be more responsible than plimsolls.
Am buying most shirts/blouses from M&S as they have velcro for the top button, apparently, so she can take it off and put it back on by herself for PE, as she probably won't have the patience for buttons!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Lily » 26 May 2016, 14:36

Thanks LL! Did you have a discussion with school about merging years yet?

Have just found out that we'll be away when Izbiz's school have their stay-and-play sessions in July. He won't be the only one starting with no friends, right? I have this horrible image of him all by himself while the other kids all know each other already.
Though at least uniform is a polo shirt and jumper, no buttons and no 50s throwbacks. Just need to find him some trousers that have a manageable fly, and teach him to start off the zip on his coat by himself. And get him to stop pulling everything inside out when he takes it off, otherwise he'll never be able to get it all back on again after PE. And get him to practice carrying stuff on a tray so he doesn't tip his lunch everywhere.
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