My daughter is currently in Year 6.  (HOW did that happen?)  We have until the end of the month to decide which secondary school we will apply to.

She’s away on residential at the moment.  All of the Year 5s and 6s have gone.  I bet she’s having a great time.  There was one small problem – somewhere along the lines, the secondary school that their primary feeds into didn’t know that a fifth of their likely intake were going to be away the night of their open evening.

If you haven’t been to one, they are a sight to behold.  I remember both from my owBig decisions: which secondary school?n school days, and when I was teaching.  The open evening is a chance to showcase the school.  Displays are tidied to within an inch of their lives; every bunsen burner is lit.  The school band/orchestra/choir perform their most impressive pieces.  The most cheerful and mature students from each year come along to give their words of wisdom as to why this is THE best school for your child.

So, communication issues aside, I went along to our local secondary last night.  I had been inside the main building once before.  It has changed out of all recognition since that visit.  Shiny new floors have been fitted, and an open quadrangle is now sealed in with double glazing.  The talk from the school head was suitably inspirational.  The only thing that felt “wrong” was that I was there without my child.  (That, and that I was wearing my netball kit.  That DID feel a little wrong, but needs must…)

From before they are born, we make decisions for and about our children.  There are decisions around Smiling baby lying on his tummy on a white rug.  Big decisions: which secondary school?every corner.  What clothes to buy, what method of feeding to choose, what sort of nappies to use.  At age 3 or 4 we also decide which primary school we would like them to go to, or whether to home educate.  These are all decisions that we make with very little input from our tiny humans.  It doesn’t seem long before they need to have their say.

And secondary school choices are one of those times.  I don’t remember there being much question when I was that age.  My brother and I went to the local comp.  We could have applied to one in the next county, or to a Catholic school in town.  I don’t remember there being any question of doing so.  Yet for my daughter, there is a faith school almost next door to the secondary I visited.

I have heard amazing things about both schools.  We are visiting the faith school together next week.  For me, it is more about the feel of a school, rather than the facilities.  Having been a peripatetic music teacher, there are schools I wouldn’t want my children to go to, even though they had outstanding results.  They just didn’t feel right.  I feel I need to go to the faith school next week and see how it feels.  It was hard to do that last night without my daughter present.

At the moment, her heart is set on the closest secondary.  Her reasoning at age 10 is that she would like to be with her friends.  And who wouldn’t?  The thing is, many children end up making new friends, Close-up of a freckly face and an open eye.  Big decisions: which secondary school?from different primary schools, once they start at secondary.  And not all of her friends are likely to end up in the same class.  I don’t want to rule out the faith school on the basis that only one other child from her friendship group is applying to go there.

I would like her to keep an open mind until we have visited the other school.  I don’t think that is too much to ask.  How do you keep yourself open to new possibilities?

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  1. This is such a big decision, it’s important to get all the information, have a good look around the schools and have a good chat with your child before you choose. Good luck with your decision!

  2. I remember wanting to go to the school where all my friends were going to too, I did make new friends but I also kept old ones as well as the secondary school made sure you had some of your school friends in your form to help you with the transition.

  3. I like the idea of keeping her options open, we were unfortunate to have only had one choice of school in over 20 miles.

  4. It’s a big choice for parents and kids to make together. There was never any choice for me as there was only one secondary school in our town and we lived in Cornwall, so the next one wasn’t for miles. All of my sisters went to the same school as well, so it was a no brainer.

    1. We are lucky to have the choice, although sometimes I think it would be easier if we didn’t! (You can’t please everyone!!)

  5. I was lucky, I got my first choice and all my friends were going to the same school too. It’s such an important decision choosing the right school though.

    1. That’s good. She SHOULD get into the faith school, if we applied, but it would certainly be less stressful if the secondary we are in catchment for continues to be her first choice…

  6. I remember when i started high school. True, New friends are easily made but its really important to go where a group of your friends are going. That’s why i went to the school i did.

  7. tough decisions but either way I’m sure they will be happy and receive a great education and make many memories 🙂

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