Ah, primary school forms…they make UCAS forms and job applications look like small fry. Or that is how it feels, perhaps it is because we are making decisions for someone else’s future and not our own? I guess that’s where with great parental power comes great responsibility…
We’ve done the touring round local schools, asked the intelligent questions and sat on chairs where our knees touched our chins.
As far as I was aware, back in my day (my day being back in infant school when you still did PE in vest and pants – er Tom Baker pants as I recall) it was that just that you went to the school nearest to you…not so these days.
It really is like looking round houses or prospective universities though as you get to absorb each classroom, corridor and corner of the playground. Some of them you know whether they have that certain vibe straight away but it’s always worth comparing and contrasting them all as school has just changed sooooo much since we were last there – and Tom Baker pants aside details are a tad foggy.
And certainly we saw some that seemed really good, but one really was head, shoulders, knees and toes above the competition and ticked each and every box. It didn’t just fulfil expectations it far exceeded them.
Well, we’ve now filled our form in (ahead of deadline, which was a good thing as it seemed to be bursting under pressure – we had to fill the ruddy thing about four times after getting it oh so perfect first time) and reasons for our first choice and now have about three months to find out whether we, and more importantly Iz, gets her first choice at the school that we think will be best for her.
And, working in education, I know it just doesn’t all boil down to Ofsted reports and the like, it’s the whole package.
At this school, the head teacher knew every child’s name and they all wanted to give the head teacher a hug or read to them, and the head had genuine time for each and every one of them.
You almost couldn’t have scripted it, it reminded of those scenes in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray knows everyone and can just do anything.
People say that a Head can make a school and I think we actually experienced that phenomena throughout our whole tour, it was practically infectious and was far from an act. In marked contrast in other schools we went round the Heads felt like snow queens – sure they were pleasant enough and said the sort of right things that we wanted to hear and find out about but there was just a certain something missing – in comparison. There was just no interaction with students, they just seemed slightly more feared than revered.
The other rather rubbish foot that one of the schools started off on was that we buzzed to be let in and was let into a fairly open school with no conversation, no asking who we were or what we were there for. They had never met us, not even asked us for our names and that didn’t really smack of a great environment.
From then on in it really was a bit like the dissolving skull and heartbeat from Knightmare as confidence was eroded by one thing and another, from not having trips for swimming lessons (I mean really, and in a seaside town as well. shame on them they didn’t deem it of importance) to having no green space.
Well, the form is in now in, our reasons for our first choice in black and white and soon we shall know where we shall be dropping Iz off from September.
It’s hard to believe that in less than nine months she will be starting proper school and growing up so fast. Like everything else she will no doubt take it all in her increasingly long leg stride…