Sports Day July 2014 (54)

Bunny is in year 3 at school. Some days she comes home from school excited about the great day she has had, and other times, she says she hates school. She chats constantly about her friends some days, but other days, says her friends have been nasty to her. This is just children being children though isn’t it? My girl is quite the drama queen at the best of times.

Her school is graded “outstanding” by OFSTED and has numerous other awards for things like arts, and environment. There are lots of after school clubs, a breakfast club and a nice friendly atmosphere. It is in one of the more affluent areas of Gloucestershire and is an overly popular school, but admittedly, there is a fair bit of school-gate snobbery from parents and teachers alike. Equally I’ve had my rifts with a few members of staff there. Having read Suzanne’s post from 3 Children & IT, I wonder if I might be a Helicopter parent, but if I am… I don’t care. It’s all about what is best for my daughter.

We have recently moved house. To another town. School is now a twenty to thirty minute drive in rush hour. The school run takes up a full two hours of every day. That’s two hours that the twins are stuck in the car and I’m not able to do more productive things.

There are two schools within walking distance of our new house. One a five minute walk, and one a ten minute walk. These schools are both graded “Good” by OFSTED, but also have both had quite a few “Inadequate” ratings in the past. Should I overlook past scores and focus on the now? How important are OFSTED scores anyway?

Both schools have a waiting list for year 3… surely that’s a good sign? One got converted to an academy after numerous OFSTED failures and has since shown considerable improvement. I’ve heard the other school raved about in the local park, for being brilliant.

Part of me thinks that moving to a less snobby school, will be good for the bad attitude Bunny has recently developed. It might help me to be less of a snob too!

If she moves school, we will save a fortune on petrol, be a more environmentally friendly family, as we wont use the car every day and I will have a lot more time at home to play with the twins and to focus on my housework writing.

But… what if she doesn’t make friends very quickly or doesn’t settle? After reception class, Bunny’s friends were all split into different classes and it really upset her. It took almost a year for her to settle back in and in that year we had night terrors, lots of dreading school and her learning suffered. She has caught up now, but what if it happens again? 

I’ve asked her opinion and she says she’d like to move schools, but she is only seven, she hasn’t thought about all the angles. 

What if the teachers aren’t as good, the education isn’t quite as high a standard? The school has excellent resources for children who are struggling, but what if her talents aren’t encouraged? 

There are so many what-if’s and it seems such a big decision to make. This is my daughter’s education and her happiness too. There are pro and cons to both moving her to a new school or keeping her in her current school.

I’ve had a look around one of the schools, but it hasn’t helped my decision at all. It seemed much nicer than I anticipated, but really quite different to the school she is in now. I can’t work out if that is a positive thing or a negative one.  

I hope to look around the other school soon too, but would love to hear opinions of other parents who have moved their children from one school to another. What kinds of things did you consider? How did you know which school to choose? What are the most important factors to consider and how do you know where your child will thrive and be happiest?

  1. Jodie says:

    My eldest and first ever in school has moved schools three times in just the first year (reception). Firstly it was due to a change of county, then the next school we thought was great because it was literally a 1minute walk up the road. She had terrible problems, bullying and children looking down her pants on the playground. I felt the school didn’t deal with it very well but kept her there anyway in hope for some light. Then there was an incident where a child stomped on her head whilst she was laying down. She ended up with concussion and a trip to A&E. the school hadn’t picked up on her symptoms and when I’d gone to pick her up, 3hrs after the incident she was extremely sleepy and was then sick at home. The day after the school were adamant that the hospital had got it wrong. Then they had their very poor Ofsted report and I moved her. We are now 1.6 miles from her new school but she’s so much happier and has settled really well.
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  2. Sammie Hodges says:

    It’s such a difficult decision isn’t it? When I was younger my Mum sent me to the best School, but I didn’t like it. She then moved me to a School that was 5 mins walk from our house and I loved it and really thrived. It wasn’t known for being excellent but I think I did well because I was happy.

    I think in your case you have to think long term as well. If it’s already a 30 min drive, what will happen when choosing secondary Schools? Will she go to one near that School, or will you choose one closer to home (which will then break her away from all the friends she has know for the past 7/8 years?)

    Hope this helps a little xx
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  3. alex williams says:

    My twins are now in the final year of A levels (I have a boy and girl). We moved into the county when they were 6, so had to move both school and house. I don’t want to talk about the experience in detail on a public forum but happy to give you my views via email if you want to contact me. In summary though I wish I had hung on and moved when they reached secondary school age. It sounds snobby but there was a gulf between the academic standards and the parental attitudes and Ofsted can’t tell you whether you and your child will fit in with the other parents and children. And you have to consider that if yours are to make new friends and be included in parties and after school play, which helps them settle in, or not.

  4. Mums do travel says:

    I moved my son from one OFSTED rated ‘Outstanding’ school to another in Year 3 because he’s dyslexic and the first school weren’t supporting him. He was fine with the move and the next school suited him much better. I have friends and relatives who are teachers and I’m very sceptical about OFSTED ratings. They’re just a snapshot of school life and don’t consider many important things. When choosing a school I think you need to look at it with an open mind, think about what’s best for your child and go with your gut feeling. Good luck!
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  5. Sarah MumofThree World says:

    I’ve never moved my kids and know it would be a big decision and not one I’d take lightly. In your position though, I think I would do it. Those two hours in the car are no fun for anyone – not productive and a waste of petrol money. As Bunny is only in year 3, you will be making that trek for a long time to come. If she was in year 6, or even year 5, I would say stick with it, but I think it’s too long to keep making that journey.
    Good luck with whatever you decide! x
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  6. Tara says:

    It’s such a horrible position to be in as a parent isn’t it Emma? So many unanswered questions; questions you can never answer.
    I moved my daughter when she was in Year 3. She started her new school in the January after Christmas break.
    We did it because while the school she was at was very good she was tired and grumpy because we had to drive there every day and I really think it affected her.
    The school we moved to is smaller and we can walk there. She absolutely loves that part. It’s totally turned her around. We talk about homework on the way home from school, chat about things she’s learning on the way there. Just made it far less stressful for both of us.
    I didn’t ever think we were stressed at the other school but now I know we clearly were!

    I also agree with Sammy in that you have to think long term. Making new friends now is much easier than making new friends at secondary school. Especially for girls. I had to do that and I HATED it. Obviously I was OK in the long run, but that first year was just horrid.

    When Mia started her new school I just tried to invite as many friends around as possible. We had an ‘art afternoon’ (Mia loves her art) and just had a bunch of girls sit at the kitchen table to make a mess! She’s not friends with all of them now, but it opened up doors for her.
    Also lots of the kids in her class live within walking distance which makes a HUGE difference.

    I wish you all the best; I know exactly what it’s like. School days have been a bloody nightmare for us with catchments etc and we live in a relatively small town in Worcestershire!
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  7. Suzanne says:

    I would do it for the reduction in driving alone! A school that gets a ‘good’ OFSTED report is just that and should def be worth considering. If the school doesn’t allow you a voice and you feel increasingly uncomfortable about it, I would move her. She’s young enough to settle well into somewhere else and her friends would be local. Thanks for the mention x

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