Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The World of Education

Tomorrow, for the first time as parents, we will be peeking our heads into the World of Education.  We are going to visit two potential schools for Meg and I am, in short, terrified!

We really have no idea what to expect.  I'm currently feeling all kinds of emotions from denial that Meg will ever be old enough to attend school, to worrying that she won't settle into the school we choose, even down to worrying that the Headteacher won't like us.  I feel totally unprepared for the entire experience.

What are we meant to ask?  What are we meant to wear?  Is it as much a representation of who we are, who Meg is, as it is the school showing themselves off to us? What should we be looking out for?
I know what you're thinking
- she's too cool for school
I've scoured the internet for advice and spoken to friends who have children older than Meg and the overriding comment I've found is "go with what feels right."  Which is great, obviously, if you are a person capable of making a decision and then not spending a huge amount of time worrying about that decision.  Which I am not.

I'm not even going to think about the fact that we aren't applying for her catchment school and so we may not get any of our choices...that's a whole post on it's own!

It is such a massive decision.  This will be the school that kicks off Meg's education.  It needs to be a place that encourages her to learn and that creates a positive environment for her and teaches her to enjoy the learning process.  If we get that wrong...well I can't think about all the possible negative consequences.

I'm planning to take along a notebook so I don't get flustered and so far I have come up with the following questions:-

- What facilities/amenities are available?
- How is the reception class structured, in what ways are children encouraged to learn?
- Is Physical Education a priority (I am particularly concerned about this as Meg is very high energy!)
- How do teachers deal with challenging behaviour (I am basing this question on Meg's general strong willed behaviour now, I have everything crossed that by the time she's 4 she won't be such a madam...a mother can dream!)

Hopefully I'm not too far off the mark with these and I will be able to come up with some more.  If you have taken the time to read this and have children already in the school system it would be great to hear what you asked/did when getting ready for your first child to start school.

Underneath all the worry I am quite excited about the next stage for Meg - I have great first memories of school and I can't wait for her to start.  Just, obviously, not too soon - I'm going to need to spend the next year mentally preparing myself.  I anticipate that the only first day tears are going to come from me! 


  1. Wow you have more questions prepared than I did! Sounds pretty good. My one piece of advice is that if it is a state school you are applying to, please remember you do not have a choice just a preference. Big difference! We didn't get our first "choice" as it wasn't our catchment school. You then feel a bit let down as you have spent ages looking at schools and you cant have your child in the one you thought was best. I am sure i will be reassured in a couple of weeks though once we have been to the talks at the catchment school. If not there is a waiting list.

    1. Thanks - when does your little one start school? Our first choice (providing the visit goes well) is a CofE school and has no catchment but the other two we'll see we don't live in the catchment area so thank you for saying it's not actually a choice. I hadn't thought of it like that!

    2. Neither had I - wish I had now. He starts in September - has two afternoons settling in in 2 weeks time. The C of E will have its own criteria so best to know what that is. I would strongly suggest you put your catchment school down as your last preference tho - unless it is really awful. Otherwise you could end up anywhere or even in limbo without a place. All depends on where you live, birth rate, siblings etc but they will do their best to put you in catchment. Good luck!

    3. Thanks hun. Catchment school is one of the worst in the area so if it comes to it we'll be moving! Although fingers crossed it doesn't come to that!

  2. It is amazing actually, you do get an instant feel for what a school is like when you enter it. The atmosphere tells so much.

  3. Definatley go for the atmosphere and pastoral system of the school over the curriculum etc. The national curriculum is so regulated these days she'll learn the same in most schools, the teachers and 'feel' of the school however aren't. How did it go ?

    1. We are probably more confused than before! We loved the feel of the first school we visited but it's one of the ones not in our catchment area. The CofE school was nice but a little dated and one of the downsides is it's all open plan which I found odd. We've got another school to visit on Tuesday and then we'll have to decide!


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