Secondary school allocation date looms

On March 3rd, Myself and many other parents will find out what secondary school our children would have been allocated to start Year 7 in September 2014.

Am I Nervous? YES

Am I Worried? YES

Do I think i may have made a mistake? YES

All 6 choices of schools that was placed down onto the common application were made by Jak and myself, after visiting the schools on their open evenings, researching the schools, reading ofsted reports and talking to other parents who have been in the same situation before.

Our local Comprehensive school is within walking distance to our house, at 0.6 miles away we are definitely in the catchment for it. It is an over subscribed school but is larger than average senior schools, the number of students have dramatically increased over the recent years pushing them up to a yearly admissions of 360 pupils. It has expanded it’s intake from being a 10 forms on entry to 12. The school was judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2013 and has just had a £26 million pound rebuild.

I can not lie that it’s facilities are not good, but I was not really impressed with the open evening. We was herded around the buildings in groups and their wasn’t many teachers or other school children around to answer our questions, I noticed that some of the glass in two doors were smashed and I didn’t get the homely feel a school give. Jak said that he didn’t feel very comfortable whilst walking around and wasn’t sure that it was the school for him. We missed one of the big talks on the hall given by the head master, but we was lucky to bump into him on the way out and he sat down with us to answer some of our questions. He emphasized quite a bit on how they were now an outstanding school and he told us that the school has no mixed ability classes, all children take tests as they enter the school so that they can be placed into classes with other children of similar abilities. There are three ability bands and all classes are with the same students, this was teachers can develop every child at the right place. High ability children can also be moved a year up if they work at a considerably higher level than others.

I wasn’t quite sure that I wanted my son to be placed into the same ability groups, shouldn’t he be mixing with all children? I understand that high ability children can move on ahead very quickly this way but doesn’t this also make them a target to the bullies of the school who are jealous of their ability!

With that said we decided to look out of the borough for a school and heard from Jak’s drama teacher about a school, that is 5 miles away, were holding auditions for children who were talented in dance, drama or dance to try for a place in the school.

The audition was to comprise of aptitude tests in one of the disciplines of music, drama or dance. We filled out the application form and was given an audition date. Jak chose to audition in drama, he thought it went well but we wouldn’t hear anything for a week. All children who auditioned were to be sent a letter with a place on where they come in their chosen discipline, five places are allocated to each of the disciplines with two remaining allocated to the next best students from any of the three. Jak came 5th in drama and 2nd overall!

When the pupils are in the School the courses open to them will be those open to all pupils of the School, though it is expected that such pupils will continue with their extra-curricular Arts studies throughout their period at the School.

After quite a few gruelling weeks back in October, Jak and I decided on his top 6 choices of schools. I let Jak make the decision but obviously if I really thought it was the wrong one I wouldn’t let him make the wrong choice. Jak chose the performing art school as his first choice, he doesn’t know anyone that goes there and as it is in a different borough he doesn’t even know the surrounding area. His heart lies with performing arts and I have to let him follow his heart, don’t I? Or doI? I am so confused!

I have mixed feelings about the chosen schools, I really wanted him to go to my old school, but we are not within the catchment area and our local school there are children there that Jak was bullied by when they were at his primary school. I didn’t want him to start a new school being bullied on the first day by children who previously bullied him, but most of class mates have put this school down as their first choice so he will not be with them. If he does get the school out of the borough then he will not know anyone and it means that it will be a 45 minute bus and train journey away.

I just Monday over with! I need to know if I have an appeal on my hands or if he gets a really bad school wether or not I will be home schooling him until a place in a school that we want comes available.

So tonight i will finish my bottle of wine and hope that I will get a good nights sleep, as Sunday night I will be too nervous to have a peaceful sleep. I just hope we haven’t made the wrong decision! Being a parent is such a worry!

Is anyone else in the same situation at the moment? How are you feeling?

One thought on “Secondary school allocation date looms

  1. After reading your first section in the school not having mixed ability classes, sounds rather segregated attitude. Life is about the world being mixed up thats how we respect others and their ability. One could ask where would a wheelchair user be placed? Can your child “go up” with a friend from school. In our area the primary and secondary allow pupils to chose a friend to go up to high school with, or user last years pupils to settle in the newbies, good luck.

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