The stress of primary school admissions


I often find it difficult to reach a decision on such mundane dilemmas
such as what to have for dinner, so I pretty much neared meltdown
earlier this year when I had to decide which primary school to choose
to apply to send my daughter.
It seemed incredible that I was even in this situation at all. Wasn’t
she only just born a few years ago? How was it already time to start
Following the advice I read the Ofsted reports and booked in a couple
of visits. What an eye-opener. Having not stepped inside a primary
school in several decades, I just couldn’t believe how many of the
little mites are packed into a tiny classroom. How a teacher manages
30 kids when I can’t entertain two for a day is awe inspiring.
None the wiser I wrote down the pros and cons and bored everyone
including myself with my quandary. Was I losing perspective? It’s just
a primary school for goodness sake. But don’t people move home,
discover religion, lie, invent siblings or special needs just to be
nab a spot at a “good” school? So it must be a serious business.
Last week, I found out, along with millions of other anxious parents,
whether we had been offered a place. All I can say is what a massive
stress. I was very lucky, my chosen school was not very over
subscribed and therefore I had a pretty good chance of getting in. But
when the day finally arrived on Tuesday and by mid afternoon I still
hadn’t heard I was starting to sweat. Had I actually submitted the
online form in the end? Was I going to find myself home-schooling my
daughter? I had a peek at some online parent forums to see how others
were getting on. Big mistake. What a world of agony. It was awash with
phrases such as “biting my nails off” “baited breath” “frenzy” and
“worst nightmare”.
I read the tale of one mum who had been offered the “19th primary
school away from us” that was graded unsatisfactory by Ofsted.
Another told how her son had not been offered a place in his sister’s
school and she now faced a double school-run everyday.
The whole choice-based process does seem a bit needlessly cruel. But
 then, after all that, I read an article claiming that the most important
determining factor when it comes to how well a child does in school is
parental involvement. So, I guess, even if I’ve passed the first
stage, my work is not done just get.

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