Choosing The Right Primary School Place For Your Child

Chances are if you are reading this blog post your child is coming up to the age where he/she is going to be starting primary school in the next 12 months. For any parent having their child come up to this stage, is daunting. The realisation that your baby is maturing into a young child ready to begin their education journey means, possibly for the first time that you have to let go, let them learn the world around them and how to make their impact on society.

Before your child starts school you need to ensure you have chosen the right school for them to gain their education. Remember the right school is what feels and looks right to you, there is no good or bad decision when choosing your child’s school place.

When it comes to applying for your child’s Primary/Infant School place you are given 3 choices of schools to apply for. You don’t have to request 3 schools but its always best to have 3 schools in mind so you are not disappointed.

Here are some of our top picks to look out for when choosing the right school for you and your child.

Choosing The Right School

Visit

I cannot stress this option enough, be sure to visit all the local schools within your local area and perhaps some just over the border for your catchment area too. Majority of the time schools will be allocated to children within the school’s catchment areas but sometimes those schools can be fully subscribed so have a backup school in mind for just outside your area may be ideal.

If you prefer the look and feel of that school outside of your catchment area have that school as your option 1 and then pick the other 2 schools you prefer within your catchment for your last options. You never know you may fall lucky, but don’t be disappointed if you get given the school in your catchment. You tried your best.

Ask Around

Get a feel for the schools you want to apply for from other people, see what they think. Perhaps speak to 2 or 3 people from each primary school as peoples opinions do widely vary when it comes to schools and 1 person negative opinion may be completely different from the other 2 people’s positive opinion. Or visa Versa. Don’t just go off 1 opinion, everyone has a different story to tell.

Backing these opinions up with a visit to the schools you are discussing means you should have a relatively good opinion yourself by then.

A Child colouring with crayons
A Child colouring with crayons

Listen To Your Child

I know at this point your child is aged 3, possibly 4 but I firmly believe every child is entitled to an opinion. Even if it means very little to them at this stage.

Perhaps on your visits to each school, you ask your child what they like and dislike about each school then discuss it after. Even if they find positives in the funky locks on the toilet doors (yes this happened to me!), this all means something to them.

Ofsted

DONT, I repeat don’t! get hooked on Ofsted reports. Yes, they provide findings of their recent visit to schools but sometimes those reports can be years old. An “outstanding” that was at that rating 3 years ago could be under new leadership and now be struggling. Likewise, a “requires improvement” school may have taken on board the findings of their Ofsted visit 2 years ago and made some drastic improvements. Go with your gut feelings.

Again, back this up with visiting the school, speaking with other parents, the school staff including the headteacher.

Transport

Consider your transport options to and from your chosen primary school, if you struggle with your own access to transport will public transport be reliable enough to get you and your child to/from your chosen school?

What if your chosen school is within walking distance but the weather is appalling? It won’t be much fun.

Apply

Lastly but going back to what I first said, be sure to apply to more than 1 school. If you apply to 1 school only and the Learning Authority find that school to be full and cannot fulfil your requirement they will place your child in the next school with spaces. Give yourself the backup option to avoid thorough disappointment.

The Gov.uk webpage has a great postcode tool which helps you locate the opening/closing dates for applying for school places. Be sure to visit there, and follow the instructions to ensure you have the application in before closing date. Good luck!

Like this blog post, be sure to check out more from ClearlyBex.

**This is a personal post.

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