Photo of Spike looking happy and grown up with caption 'Applying for school places wanting the best for Spike
Discussions,  School

Applying for school places – Trying to get the best for Spike

The time has come to look at schools for Spike. It scares me how fast the last 3 years has gone. Starting nursery seemed like hardly any time ago, yet now we’re looking at school places! The idea that she goes to school next September is already freaking me out.

My school preferences

The first thing I did was look into schools in our area. I have always said I do not want my child doing to a church school. T is atheist, I am undecided. I am most connected to Paganism and I really hate the idea of organised religion. Having attended a church primary school and growing up in a very ‘Christian’ centric village and it’s had a negative impact on me. I wanted to send my child to a school that wasn’t connected to a church in order to allow her for a more rounded religion education.

Non-church vs church schools in my area

When I looked into it, I discovered that non-church schools are few and far between around here. Out of 14 schools, fewer than half of them are non-church schools. And I understand that this is actually a high number compared to some areas! Of those 6 schools which are non-church schools, only 2 are within the catchment of our house. So there goes the three options for our application!

Ofsted for our closest schools

Thankfully both these schools appear to have a decent ofsted report, with one of them outstanding in one area and both good overall. However, neither have great reputations which puts me off. Offstead is obviously important but a good grade is good enough to me as they will likely be trying to improve for next time! At least we hope so!

After school childcare options

At the moment Spike is in childcare 7:30-6 every day. Working 30 miles from home means that we cannot get home any quicker. This isn’t likely to change once she’s at school so after and before school care will need to be taken on. My ideal option is one attached to the school. However one of our closest schools has no out of hours care and the other offers it for between 8am and 5:30pm.

Moving before applying for school places

Thankfully I’ve looked into this closely before applications even open. Which means we do have around 6 months to move if we want to. This is something that a lot of parents think about before they even move into a house but we never expected to stay in our house as long as we have been, so we didn’t think we’d necessarily be in this house when we started to apply for school places. However, we are not likely to be able to conjure up the £10k we need for a deposit any time soon and there are very few houses to rent close to the schools we want her to go to!

Was this a concern of yours when your little ones joined school? How did you tackle it? Move before you had kids, after? Move closer to work? Cut your hours? I’d love to know others’ experiences with applying for school places!