So today is D day for Primary School places and the first day back at school for most of us with older children. The chatter in the playground tomorrow will undoubtedly be filled with ‘did you hear so and so didn’t get a place’ ‘gasp, no really?!’
My eldest littles attend a very oversubscribed school and so I can still remember the fear that I felt on this day 4 years ago when waiting to hear whether my eldest son had a place at our preferred school. I literally had palpitations and was equally as nervous as when I opened my A level and degree results. It is such a stressful wait as it feels like so much rides on it. I literally cried when I saw that he had got a space. It was such a relief and I was then convinced all would be well with school.
I love the school that my son’s attend and I am still delighted that they are there so I write this post from the position of someone who did get what they wanted. Therefore feel free to not even begin to listen to me! I know that I am probably not the best person to offer any advice to those of you waiting with baited breath. However, I have also had good friends who didn’t get their first choice and do understand how you feel waiting for the decision. I have one friend who didn’t get offered anything and ended up having to do private school for two years. I believe that this is very rare before any of you start pouring a vodka to calm your nerves at 9:30am. Other friends who didn’t get their first choice have still ended up very happy with the schools that they did get and more importantly their children are happy and learning which is of course what it is all about.
So to those who are waiting to hear about primary school places today I offer my two pennies worth:
- Try to keep busy today if you are worried. It is usual not to be able to have a minute to think with little ones so that probably won’t be tough, but there is no changing it right now so panicking the whole day won’t help. She says when I felt sick all day…
- In my experience what you at home as the parent is as important as what happens at school. They continue to need your input into their learning and so whilst the quality of teaching is very important you can and will still have a major impact on your children’s future. School isn’t everything.
- Waiting lists do move. So if you don’t get your first choice and are high on a waiting list it still could happen. I would check with the council what you need to do regarding accepting the existing offer and sit tight for a bit.
- There is always appeal. I know some people who have been successful so it is worth considering if you can find grounds.
- All is not necessarily lost. People do leave and so places do come available down the line. By year two in my son’s school 4 children have left and another will be leaving at the end of the year. This may be more true in London or other cities where families often move out to get more space etc… Children are so versatile and flexible they typically manage changing schools much better than their parents.
As I haven’t experienced not getting the school I wanted I won’t begin to offer any platitudes or advice about how to deal with how that feels. Personally I know I would have been fuming and definitely would have had a bit of a tantrum. Fingers crossed for you all.