So do I, or even can I join in the choose a school stress?

I think that there is only one major factor in how much choice you have over what school your child attends…Money.

Either you have money to pay for them to go to a private school, or you have money to be able to choose where you live.

I have been reading with interest the trials that Emily @myshitty20s has been having over her wanting to maybe move from where her and her little boy live to allow him to change schools and area but it not being a reality due to finances.  Emily  like me is a single Mum who doesn’t share parenting of her little boy either.

There are many single parents in this situation, where there is only one income, and often only a very small part time one as there are not enough hours in the day/week/month to allow for more work.  I know the work/life/money ratio thing is universal though at the moment and it is not just single parent households that are struggling.

So does this equation of schools mean that us ‘poorer’ folk lose any choice in the schools our children will go to, as we live in the areas that are cheapest, meaning that usually they are the less sort after schools, so our children are destined for the crap end of the education system?

Up until yesterday I was decided that I was not going to get into a fight over what school Ben attended, as was it worth setting your heart on a certain school and not getting it and then always feeling like he was destined to fail as he was at the rubbish school?  But is it that simple?

Does a poorer area mean a worse school?  Why do we want our children to go to the best school?  Does it mean they will be more intellegent, work harder, safer, more polite. Or for me the most important thing, will a better school make my child happier?

I went to a private school from 5 – 16, a lot of money was spent on my education, and well sadly there was this little issue that meant that regardless of how much money was spent I would always be limited.  Dyslexia.

Of course during my school years I was never actually labelled as this, I wasn’t tested as you were just ‘slow at reading’ ‘not trying hard enough with spelling’ ‘just not that bright’ but it does make me smile thinking that yes my parents were doing what they thought best, but did an expensive eduction make any difference to me now?

The fact I went to a school 10 miles away from where we lived was pretty rubbish as I had no friends near where I lived, I do feel like I missed out with this.  One big bonus was the school was very multi-cultural way before the general area was, so I did have a very positive schooling in that way.

So what to do now for Ben who will be going to school in September 2012, do I just find the closest and go with it? Do I use the skills & resources I have to investigate the schools and pick the best Ofsted report, or find out where has the best faciltieis? Is on a main bus route? We can walk to? Has the cheapest lunches?

How do you choose?

And why should we choose? Is this not making the ‘bad’ school worse as people don’t choose to go there, or the only people that do are people who don’t have the resources to know they can make a choice (even if they don’t get it)

I think I would like Ben to attend a school that has the biggest mixture of types of people, from as many backgrounds as possible.  Does that mean the biggest school then?

So how did you go about it?


  1. WannabeFitMum
    19 July , 2011 / 2:51 pm

    I have been told, time and time again, by more experienced parents, and by Early Years/Primary teachers that the single most important factor in giving your child a good start to their education is NOT the school that they go to (OFSTED reports are both helpful and unhelpful, being only a snapshot of a single point in time), but the support and encouragement the child receives from parent(s) at home.

    The options that I’m looking at for The Boy’s schools are not the best in the area. I live in a fairly shitty catchment area, with the best of not quite the worst of the primaries in town. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t concern me, as it does, but at the moment I cannot do anything to change the set up – can’t afford to move, can’t afford private – so just have to make the best of what we’ve got. Boy will have plenty of encouragement and understanding from me, at home. I hope his dad will do the same. Whether he does or not, I don’t know – he never was a particularly academic guy.

    Yes, the school itself does matter (I am mostly concerned that 3 of the 4 nearest schools to us have over 25 different languages spoken as ‘first’ languages of the children attending, due to the ethnic diversity of the catchment area, thus there will be lots of kiddies needing to learn basic English before anything else! Turning that on its head, it means that The Boy will have a whole new learning experience of other cultures and languages, which is a positive thing, I hope!), but it is not as important at Primary as at Secondary, and there’s plenty of time for lifestyles and locations to change between starting and leaving the first school.

    Ultimately, you can have a ‘bad’ school with great parental support, and child will be fine. Or, you could have a ‘fantastic’ school, with bugger all parental support, and child will suffer.

    • 2 Stars and a Swirl
      19 July , 2011 / 3:16 pm

      Ah I love a good dose of common sense 🙂

  2. 20 July , 2011 / 3:46 pm

    I sooo know where you are coming from on the stress of it all. My lo will be only 4 years and a month when he goes to primary school in 2012 and I worry about that. I worry about the local school and then I hear friends who are moving because the local secondary schools are not good enough. Their kids are just 3! Should I be doing that? Or I should just not worry about it, cross my fingers and hope for the best? I think it depends what kind of mummy you are. Tiger mummies will move. Slummies will cross their fingers. Ultimately, from what my teacher friends say, if you support your lo at primary school they should be OK… it’s later on that things get interesting.

    • 2 Stars and a Swirl
      20 July , 2011 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks for your comment 🙂
      I am starting to think that as you said it is the support you give them at this stage that will matter the most. I don;t have the energy or money to do the Tiger Mum thing!

  3. 11 August , 2011 / 9:39 pm

    Where I live, this is a huge issue. I know several families who’ve moved for schools, certain areas of the city have over heated and over priced housing market because of schools. We can’t move now I’ve been made redundant – we were planning to because of schools. The local primary to me isn’t appropriate for various reasons. I will aim to get him into a school slightly out of catchment and hope for the best. This is just at primary level. It makes me really mad. A friend went to visit secondary schools – the local must get in to and her catchment under performing. The difference was so stark, particularly resources – she cried. I don’t understand why schools aren’t more of a level playing field. I don’t understand why there isn’t more intervention when they under perform. It would make it simple all round. Thats a rant and not advice. Advice would be read the Ofsteds but visit, have a look round at a few, some will ‘feel’ better than others. I think that is a good starting point. X

    • 2 Stars and a Swirl
      12 August , 2011 / 9:02 am

      Thanks for your comment, I agree they should be more level, or it just means that the ones who can afford to move get the better education and that is just not fair.
      I have made some progress as it seems that I have a ‘choice’ or 3 now, so need to visit them come Sept and decide the order to put them down.

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