When I was choosing a secondary school for my daughter, I wanted the best and applied to the best in the borough. This was even though I am not in the catchment for that particular school.
It’s tough when you don’t live near the best school and want the best for your daughter.
I shouldn’t really complain though because near us is a good school and that of course went down as my third choice.
That was way back in September.
As the time for the results approached, I was a bit more apprehensive about my choice. What if I didn’t even get the one near me? Why had I been so stupid to put another school first that I have no chance of getting unless I live in the catchment (which I don’t) or she has a sibling in the school (which she doesn’t)
I was now worried that if other children had put my third choice as their first choice then I wouldn’t even be in the running for that school and suddenly I wanted her to get in with all my heart.
The results were in. I heaved a sigh of relief as she got her third choice. YES -her THIRD Choice. I accepted – without delay.
I had actually been for the open day for the school near us and to be honest, we quite liked it. It was warm welcoming and they had some great departments, labs and facilities. And a strict anti-bullying policy.
Then came a letter from our first choice asking if we’d like to keep her on the waiting list? And then the dilemma started all over again till Hubs and I had a long discussion.
Why was I so strung up on a school that was further away (she’d have to take two buses to get there), was not in our parish, where we knew no one and one she was not too keen on herself because all her friends had applied to the school that was nearer?
Yes, I wanted to give her the best but is this best based on league tables and Ofsted reports?
Surely, given her level of intelligence (she is exceeding national average) she would do well anywhere?
Did I consider the fact that, in the present circumstances of safety, she would be better and safer in a school nearer home?
Did I consider other aspects of the school – an all girl’s environment (which makes a difference to academic performance in the early, impressionable years of puberty), anti-bullying policy of the school, facilities beyond academics where she may shine and the fact that she would have more time at hand since she didn’t have to travel at all?
And if required, we could always look at tutoring her.
We decided to stick with our THIRD Choice and give it everything we’ve got. My daughter is thrilled – she’s in a familiar setting as it’s a local school that interacts with her present school and most of the girls from her class are headed there too.
For me, I’m happy, knowing that my daughter is in a good school and that she will achieve whatever she wants to achieve no matter where she is. Most importantly she is happy.
And as a mother, that’s all that matters.
Because I know that if she is happy she has a better shot at achieving her goals.