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Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Big Decision

What to do? What to do?...........

There are pros and cons for both wonderful schools offering a place for Freya.

James and I took a second tour of School 1 and School 2 this morning escorted by both head teachers in order to help us to make up our minds and choose the right environment for Freya. Prior to embarking on our assessment, we undertook extensive background reading. Now that we actually have options, we can afford for the first time to be critical!

According to the Tatler's Schools Guide 2007 (I know this is straying off the point slightly) another of the famous Dulwich schools is a 'comprehensive you pay for, employing leather elbow-patched' staff! (Oxbridge 10%) If they only pay the teachers a subsistence wage and keep them in rags, why is the head master housed in grandeur up in his white house on the common? My smiling son shall never be going there!

School 1: The Tatler say has a 'gentle charm'. The head master today directed us around their super computer suite - which I saw the children enjoying. There is also a terrific music room, and the sweet children were in choir practice. I love choirs, and it simply melted my heart. The school also has before and after school care - so that our daily school run could be relatively stress free. It is however co-ed, and the current thinking is, that co-ed is really of benefit to boys only, as the girls do better in single sex schools. Fourteen per cent of students were admitted to Oxbridge.

I was nearly hit on the nose with a football in the cramped school yard, (I really rather fancy a rhinoplasty - but not for a sports injury) and James was hit in the back of the head with a basket ball (ha,ha). The boys were aimlessly pushing each other about in one corner of the playground, and randomly thumping the girls. The girls amused themselves chit chatting without any toys or stimulus (very state school), absolutely uninspiring - a play frame would not have gone amiss. This is all perfectly normal - according to James.

James admitted that he was intimidated by the head master, and would be terrified himself if we were ever summoned to the school to discuss any 'issues' which would inevitably arise with our darling stubborn 'Drama Queen' (mini me) daughter.

The Times 2006 Parent Power guide rates this school nationally as 13.

School 2: The Tatler list as 'a cracker of a school - definitely for the brighter girl'. MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm (This statement really appeals to the pushy 'show off' mum in me). It was lovely, cosseting, small, and appeared fun and dynamic. The outdoor play space for their junior school is just idyllic, complete with play frame, bicycles lots of green space and even rabbits! No before or after school care, and no IT suite or special music room though.

Twenty per cent of students were admitted to Oxbridge and results at 'A' level are streets ahead of School 1 (bear in mind here, Freya is three and a half)! The lovely female head teacher appears to have a warm rapport with all of the children, knowing every individuals name, teaching regularly herself, and I must admit I was not 'afraid' of her as I was of the head teacher of School 1. I thought she was kind and approachable.

The Times rates this school as number 5 nationally.

The mothers we know at School 2 are a diverse bunch. We are aware of incredibly pushy focused uber mums who have their children there. James is terrified that I will become one of these pushy mums by osmosis..... I know what I am capable of, and he could be right!

I do know a wonderful, kind and gentle normal mum with a beautiful daughter at School 2, and James says that I shall be allowed to socialise with her alone if we choose school 2.

We are still in 'open mind' mode however. Freya continues to insist that she;

'will not be going to Jallops!'

Both of our favoured schools are out of the question as far as she is concerned. She would hate to gain our approval. She wants to stay in her current school or go to School 3 she says, as School 3 gave her bubbles.


Zoal said...

Its funny/ridiculous how we consider such details in choosing a school...especially when you think it is around 10-15 years away!!

As for the mums/parents I must say we were worried about this factor ourselves...but I wonder if everyone does ...and like you say by osmosis we all become one!!

Well we're one set who will definately be avoidant at the school gates if that is what i can look forward to!!

dulwichmum said...

Dear Zoal,

I think I shall be dropping my baby off at speed! It is all rather intimidating.

Townleygreen said...

In fact, for girls, school 1 has slightly better A level results than school 2; you won't ever find that published though, as they have to - obviously - publish the results for all their pupils together. School 1's boys similarly do better than those at the "comprehensive that you pay for". And that stuff about co-ed schools being better for girls is just put out by the girls' schools, desperately trying to survive the competition. The independent schools nationally have done research into this which debunked this particular myth.

dulwichmum said...

Dear Townleygreen,

Where were you when I needed your help to choose? I choose school 2 as they had rabbits - well, it seemed as good a reason as any at the time..........

Townleygreen said...

Dear Dulwichmum,
Don't worry, plenty of children transfer between the schools at 11 or before (or after!!).
Sorry though, I hadn't picked up your very interesting blog at that stage or I could have helped.

dulwichmum said...

Dear Townleygreen,

Just don't go away, I sense that you will be able to help me a lot over the coming ordeals. You can be my guru!

Townleygreen said...

Dear Dulwichmum
Thankyou, that's a nice thought...
I will keep in touch, then.

dulwichmum said...

Dear Townleygreen,

It makes me feel better knowing you are 'looking over my shoulder'!

Thank you.

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