Choosing the right school | Helpful Mum

Monday, 17 December 2012

Choosing the right school

I don't know how time disappeared so quickly, but it has trickled away. Suddenly we have to choose a school for our son. Who knew it would be such an overwhelming and fraught decision? So much rests on it and it is hard to know whether or not you are doing the right thing.

We are slightly spoilt for choice here. Within a two mile radius we have three outstanding and two excellent schools. Within half a mile of our house we have one outstanding and one excellent primary school. We have looked around both and our decision is tied. My favourite is the Catholic school and my husband's favourite is the school which has no religious affiliation.

We are not catholic and this is my only reservation. The school is brilliant in all other respects. Their emphasis being on the confidence of children and building them as individuals. My concern is that he will have certain views imposed on him which I disagree with. I also worry about how other children will react at knowing he went to a catholic school, when he goes to secondary school.

The catholic school is smaller and they really emphasise self-confidence and morals which I approve of entirely.  I love the ethos and the atmosphere was wonderful. The other school is nice but didn't inspire the same confidence in the it. When we went round, the children were a bit cheeky to the headmaster and I thought that was a bit much in a primary school.

I am not so fussed about academic qualities in a primary school because they are so young. I would rather they have confidence and are happy. My primary school was pretty rubbish, but it was the only choice in the village. I still managed to pass an 11+ to get into secondary school.

What would you do? Would you send your children to a catholic school even though you are not a catholic? What factors helped you to decide on a school for your child?


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8 comments

  1. Meg attends a catholic secdary and the primary they attend is c of e, we are nt religious at all but I really want them to be raised with morals and want a school at actively supports it, I say to with your gut, the one that felt like a happy place that you think best suits him. DO not go off stats or league tables they tell you nothing apart from how well they can prepare kids for tests and ofsted visits

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    1. Thank you. The catholic school is very hard to get into but I think we will put it down as 1st choice.

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  2. I agree with you - the most important thing for the first years of school is building confidence, developing a positive attitude to school and a love of learning. It sounds like you think the Catholic school will do that best so go I'd say with that feeling.

    Also agree with the above comment re ignoring stats and ofsted etc...

    Also, if it counts, not in the UK but in Australia I worked in a Catholic school for a while (I am not Catholic either and wondered how I'd fit in!). I loved it and found that it didn't push religion on the kids at all, just nice values. They didn't 'pray' as such, but each morning they were told a short story about something happening in the world, or some people somewhere near or far and were asked to think of those people. It was lovely. In contrast I also worked in an Anglican school there and they totally shoved religion in your face (I only lasted 5 weeks!)

    Good luck with the decision,

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    1. Thank you very much. Think we will put it down as first choice.

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  3. We have a brilliant Catholic school just behind us and we're not catholic, I went to of e schools and we're not Christian, I think as long as you have confidence they are the best schools for your child then everything else is secondary. (no pun intended ;))

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    1. Thank you. There is no guarantee our son will get in which is the main drawback because they are always over-subscribed.

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  4. I think it's important to weigh up the decision like you have. If you're not a Catholic, as long as you're aware that this will be fairly key to his education that I would say that's not a problem. We were like you and completely spoilt for choice with excellent schools in the area. In the end, we decided on proximity and because it's our catchment school, we were certain to get in. We are fairly strong believers in supporting your local school if it's a good one and so have also gone that way on choosing a Secondary School - there's a big decision around the corner! Good Luck :)

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    1. Thank you. It is our closest school but it is incredibly hard to get into, especially if you are not catholic! Secondary school is a much easier choice, either the grammar school or the comprehensive if they don't pass the 11+!

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