We have decided what to do about our school situation. Thanks to everyone who sent support and advice via the blog, Facebook or in person in helping us get through what was a very, very stressful week.
Before I say what our decision is, let me explain something about the two schools involved in our situation. I’m not saying our catchment school is bad. When we applied for the other school it was simply because on balance we slightly preferred it. And of course if Oliver got in, Lucy would have got in too under the old rules. When we learned of the rule change, a month after he had been given his place, we asked to change our choice for Oliver to be his catchment school so that they would definitely be together, but it was too late, he would have had to go onto a long waiting list. So we chose to not to make him live with the uncertainty of being on a waiting list and instead left him to start in the preferred school.
Secondly, we got some new information about the numbers of children who have got into Oliver’s school from out of catchment over the last few years. It is not a large number, but it does show that there is still a chance.
We reflected on the situation a lot over the last few days. It started to become clear that the upheaval of moving was in danger of being worse for the kids (and also for us, which obviously affects the kids) than of one or both of them having to move schools or be in different schools. We also managed to find some strategies that might ease the pain (logistical and financial) of having kids in different schools (even if these strategies are neither guaranteed to work, nor to be stress free).
So after much soul-searching we have decided that we will not move after all. We have lost a little money as a result, but we are sure it is the right decision for us as a family. If Lucy doesn’t get into her brother’s school, we will still have the option of appealing the decision and if that were to fail we could go onto a waiting list. In the meantime the kids get to stay in their familiar home which they love.
We will continue to campaign against the change in admission criteria, even though it is too late to get it reversed for us. We continue to believe that it is based on the flawed permise that you can put the cohesion of communities ahead of the cohesion of families. We believe that strong communities are built with strong, cohesive families at their foundation.
So we continue to live with some uncertainty, but in our own home and with some sense of peace returned to us after the recent turmoil, because sometimes the least bad option is the best you can choose.