Choosing a School
I have been meaning to write about this ever since G started at her ‘new’ school, and that was back in September!
In between we’ve had the ‘New School’ experience, the Malaysia-n trip and now we’re in the midst of all the Xmas festivities I realised that I had better write about it before the year ran out!
Choosing a school can be as easy or as hard as you like it to be really, and at the end of the day, the child is still going to get an education (good or bad – is relative). We all want to do what is right and what is best for our children and so we make the effort and visit schools, talk to teachers, head teachers, other parents, listen to friends and relatives and basically anyone who has an opinion. But at the end of the day – the choice is your own and only your own to make.
I suspect it’s actually quite easy if there was no choice and there was only one school, but as we live within the catchment area for two, both very good, under-subscribed schools – it becomes a bit more complicated.
In signing Georgia up to the nearest nursery (attached to a school), rightly or wrongly convenience was completely the basis of my decision – it was a 5 minute flat walk away. If you like me, have grown up being driven and driving everywhere (blame malaysian weather!), and have a very reluctant walker for a child (I wonder why?) you would understand my motives. Still…it was a nice nursery and she absolutely loved one or two of her teachers, and that was nice.
There were however always sneaky little things that quite upset me. The children seemed to have to ‘fight their corner’ a lot. Sharing although emphasised verbally – never seemed to be practised. I noticed a change in behaviour in Georgia in that she used to be very sharing and giving and after a while she stopped and started to be more selfish and wary about sharing. I used to think it was a growing phase and time and time again we would keep telling her that visitors won’t take your toys home – but the message never really got through.
By this time, I had assumed that that was the way things were going to HAVE to be, and that that was the cultural difference. Fighting your corner, or standing up for yourself was always something associated with the Western culture, the submissive, respectful, silent accepting Asian never quite behaved like that! That is until I was convinced to actually go and have a look at the OTHER school!
And what a difference! Yes it is a church school (no we are not christians nor are we religious in any way) but it was amazing to see that with less than 1 mile between the two schools, you would not imagine two more different schools.
The children are actually happy going to school. Their teachers love and care about them and try so hard to make everyone feel welcomed. Georgia’s, now Class Teacher said to me “We have the best children in the World in our class!” I felt like hugging her there and then!
The children among their peers are so friendly and happy and they are always so concerned about their little friends and they willing share everything and take turns!
It sounds like quite the model school doesn’t it? Except that on paper i.e. ESTYN (OFSTED equivalent) reports, this school isn’t Outstanding, it’s only a Good, but in my experience and in talking to all the other parents at this school. No, it’s not perfect, there are computers that could work better, more space for the classes would be good, an enclosed outdoor space that the school could call it’s own would be fantastic, BUT the bottom line is, the children are happy there!
I’m happy that Georgia is there….she makes a big fuss about not wanting to go every morning – but that’s another story!
I suppose the lesson I’ve learnt is that there are Outstanding schools and there are Better than Outstanding schools, the question is whose list are you ticking off? If it’s your own, then you must be going down the right track. My criteria was a school that was going to treat my child as an individual, help her acheive all that she could with enough challenges to keep it exciting yet not too much that it would overwhelm her, and for now, I’m happy with my choice.
Are you? What were the things you looked for when looking at schools?