Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Preparing Myself for Chunk Starting School

Amazingly Chunk is already about to have his fourth birthday so I've spent the last couple of months looking at schools and it's started to sink in how much things are going to change come this September.

Making the decision on your own is a scary one as there's the pressure to find the best school to meet both your child's needs and your own.

I took the time to view as many schools in my local area so I could get a feel of the different ways the operate and what the pros and cons were about each of them.

I went to a small primary school which had one class per year and I loved it, so part of me has wanted to do the same for Chunk. However I did get the shock of my life when I went to secondary school and it was four times the size, so I understand why larger primary schools are more popular.



So I checked out various sized schools and took a list of questions to ask so that I could compare answers when it came to applying for my top three schools.

However, after asking all of the questions, looking at the pupil to staff ration and class sizes and reading their OFSTED reports, what was the main thing I ended up going with to make my decision?

How warm the school made me feel when I went inside.

It may sound lame and it may not be the most sensible way to have looked at it, but out of all of the schools I went to my old primary school and it still felt warm and inviting unlike most of the schools I had looked at.

My gut told me that despite it not being as high on the OFSTED ranking system as desirable, the children all seemed happy there as I viewed all of the classes, the place was well decorated with various work they had done and the headteacher knew the name of every single student.

That's important to me and I could see myself getting involved with the school of governors and taking an active role within how the school is run which is something I would struggle to feel able to do in a much larger school.

So my advice to any parents out there fretting over picking the right school is to just go with your gut reaction of how it feels when you walk around the school for the first time. How do the teachers and pupils appear- are they comfortable and engaged?

Keep it simple as our gut never gets it wrong, we just choose to ignore it a lot!

Now I've applied I have to wait until April to find out if I got my preferred school and then comes the fun and great expense of getting uniforms, school shoes and character-themed lunchboxes!
I've noticed Brantano stock some reasonably priced school shoes and they even have a free shoe-fitting service which ensures I don't measure his feet wrong!

More than anything I guess I'm nervous about him spending five days a week in the care of another adult and with lots of children who may be nice or not so nice. I guess I need to focus on preparing myself about how I will manage if he is picked on as that is the biggest fear for me.

However I managed to get through school despite many people bullying me and whilst it was hard, it gave me an inner strength that I may not have had otherwise, so I need to get positive and have faith in my ability to teach my son how to feel able to talk to me if anything bad is happening at school.

Any tips on how else to prepare myself would be gratefully received!

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