Bunny is now in Year 6 at school, which means that the time has come to choose a secondary school. Bunny’s first choice of school, is a Grammar school, where two of her friends go. However, we were told to go online on July 1st to book her in for the Grammar test, only to find that the registration had already closed. We had been given the wrong information and the registration was actually on June the 1st, not July. Bunny was gutted and I felt like an absolute failure as a mother. I had fallen at the first hurdle of her impending adolescence and there was nothing I could do about it.
The LEA told me that I can apply for the late test next March, but by then allocations will have gone out, so her chances of getting a space will be slim to none. So it’s back to the drawing board and choosing a public school where Bunny will thrive.
My first choice of school to look around, was the one where most of her friends are planning to go (and in general, the majority of the children from her school go). When I went to secondary school, I went to a school where only two of my friends were going. I ended up being left out, feeling isolated, getting bullied and generally having a horrible experience of high school. I don’t want this to happen to Bunny, so I think some importance should be placed on her having friends at secondary school.
I went on the open day, listened to the headteacher’s talk and then went on a tour around the school. I figured it was important to consider what Bunny needs and wants from a school, so I had to silence the part of myself which was inwardly criticising the archaic science block. Even though I really think they need to knock it down and build a new one. Bunny had absolutely no interest in science. She loves English, sport and above all, art and design. So it doesn’t matter if the science block looks like it got stuck in the sixties. What mattered was the art and design options on offer.
I asked lots of questions. I wanted to see the design rooms, hear what design courses were on offer and how many of them she was allowed to choose for GCSE’s. Back in my school days, we were only allowed to do one design subject, but nowadays, at this particular school, they said she could take up to four design GCSE’s. Bunny wants to be a fashion designer, so art, textiles, photography and a number of other design subjects all being open to her, is great.
Bunny also loves sport, she is a keen gymnast, who has been training for six years now. She also loves cross country running and has been competing locally for her primary school. To hear about the secondary schools links with external sporting associations, their gymnastic and cross country programmes and see their sports facilities were also strong areas of interest for me.
I picked Bunny up from primary school and took her for a tour around the school too. She saw some of her friends from the year above and found the whole experience hugely exciting. It’s made me wonder whether we even bother with the Grammar test. She seemed so keen to go to this secondary school.
I plan to look around some of the other local secondary schools, so that I have comparisons, but I think deep down I just know, that the school we looked around first is the school for Bunny. Their sports facilities and design facilities and programmes were fantastic. She has friends there. She’s excited. It’s not too far away. The teachers seemed friendly. The pupils seemed happy. There seemed to be a lot of pupil led choices and exciting extra curricular activities and opportunities. I think my little girl (okay… maybe not-so-little anymore) would be happy there and to me, that’s the most important thing of all.