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MRML (2 of 2) - schools

Gah!! I'm in the lucky position of having lots of great schools nearby but it makes choosing more difficult!

All over subscribed so have narrowed it to the 2 most likely to accept us.

School 1

1. Fantastic reputation

2. Grounds, building and facilities truly wonderful

3. Very professional open day, said all the right things, staff great, pta there to chat too, amazing atmosphere

4. Children can stay until 3 for £4 a day which would allow me to do school collection

5. Separated into junior and senior campus which contributes to the lovely atmosphere above but due to age difference in my 2, they would never ever be in same place at same time (about a mile apart-others cope though!)

School 2

1. Very good reputation also

2. Reckon at least 50% (maybe many more) of her nursery class will go here - this means a lot to me and is main reason this school is in the running

3. Learn Spanish from p2

4. Both children would be in same place for 4 years, not to be underestimated!

5. Grounds not great, just a small playground, although it's pleasant. I thought building was shockingly dilapidated, Mr CV says wasn't that bad.

6. Open day not at all impressive, would have ruled it out on this but as I said, reputation solid so wondering if they're just not as slick as school 1.

7. No 3 o'clock option for next 3 years so miss CV would need to do some fulltime childcare in afternoon (well I'd have to pay for it at least!)



  • I'd be swayed towards option 1 simply due to the additional afternoon session available as it would make life so much easier - and £4 is a bargain, I thought ours was cheap at £9 but yours is even better! What's your gut instinct?

  • Is this for Miss CV to be starting? Do you just get one option on your application? What's closer to you? where will local children be going? This was the biggest factor to me deciding between two very close contenders recently. Although the nursery children going to school 2 would probably sway it for me atm.

  • Based on what seems to be important to you I'd probably go for option 1.  However, I wouldn't place much importance on what the building is like, kids do not even notice and what is most important to them is that they have friends and like their teachers and have fun. I also wouldn't base my decision on what the grounds are like, yes it's a bonus to have wonderful grounds but again young children don't really notice that much as long as they've got outdoor space they can run around in. What didn't you like about the open day? You didn't like the teachers or did they not put on as good a 'show' as the 1st school?  Is there much difference in how far the schools are to your house?  Where are the children local to you going as that would be a factor for me - think of after school playdates and when they are older going out to play together, would be much better if their friends are more local makes life so much easier.

    Personally, based on what I think is important, I would go for option 2.

  • I don't have one Margot! This has been going on for about 6 weeks now. That said, if 50% of her class were moving to school 1, I wouldnt hesitate to send her there. That's the main pull for me, although as I said the convenience of both girls in same location for a few years is good too. She has settled well into nursery but doesn't have the gang of friends she had at daycare and I worry about her starting from scratch again. At least in school 2, she'd know almost everyone, even if she hasn't really clicked with them yet. I don't know if it's stupid to choose a school on that basis.

  • I really wouldn't worry about friendship groups at this stage - as a teacher, I see new children start at our school and within a few weeks, you can't tell who the new kid is as they slot in so well.

  • I'd go Option 1, seems so much simpler (and sounds really nice!), and Margot is right about friends etc.

  • I would go for option 1 without a doubt!

  • Thanks for the replies all. To answer a few questions, there isn't a local school as such. we live in a densely populated area I guess, with easily a dozen or more schools within 2 miles. At least 6 more of these are considered good and oversubscribed. No 1 is one of the closest to us and we'd probably get in based on previous years (as we've no siblings it'd come down to distance); we'd def get into no 2 with her attending the nursery (it's about .2 miles further away). I can put up to 4 on my application and if I don't get into 1st choice, the others cant discriminate against me based on preference - they have to consider on our own merits.

    No 2 just wasn't as focussed or, as I said, slick as no 1. No 1 is probably one of the best schools in the city and wildly oversubscribed but we still got a 'sales pitch' as to why we should choose them and what they had to offer parents and children.  The headmistress was very professional and said all the right things about children and education, the whole school seemed prepared for the open day and even the pta were dotted around to chat to; the headmaster at no 2 just ambled in and waffled a bit :o) and told us to go and look round. And I absolutely agree with Frankie on what matters to kids, but as a parent it was hard not compare the aesthetics of the 2 - 1 was Enid Blyton-esque (well, Blyton with ipads!); 2 was run down and certainly no ipads!

    But the continuity, the ease when both girls are at school, the Spanish and the fact that 2 still manages to retain a good reputation in spite of the above is what's making it hard for me to decide. I really might have to flip a coin.

  • PS REALLY thanks for the replies all, this has been killing me!!

  • I would go for Option 1. When it comes to having two children who need to be in different places at the same time I expect you'll be able to team up with another parent so that you can cover both drop offs.

    Schools should make an effort with the presentations to new parents but not all do. We really liked the one nearest to us (which we were going to get a place at anyway) because although its facilities weren't as good, they made a real effort to make parents feel welcome - from Year 6 children who were waiting at the gate to take parents in onwards. It was so much better than the next nearest school which has a good reputation but when we arrived the School secretary looked at us blankly, appeared not be be expecting anyone to turn up and was less than welcoming. If the other school felt right and the reputation is also good then I'd apply for that.

  • Just an idea, would you be disapointed if she didn't get into one over the other? so if you put 1 down as first choice but 2 came through as the school, would that disapoint you?

  • Curly Wurly

    Just an idea, would you be disapointed if she didn't get into one over the other? so if you put 1 down as first choice but 2 came through as the school, would that disapoint you?

    Exactly what I was thinking. If No. 1 is so oversubscribed you could go for it and then be pleasantly satisfied if you got the other one, which has its own plus points :)

  • I would suggest to pick a close school, so that it fits your schedule. You may then enroll them for online lessons to help with the study materials, if they are lagging behind or for some reason, you are not content with their results.

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