September will see a big shift in the Briggs household as K will be starting school. This is another of those moments when I wonder how we got here already, but to be perfectly honest, he is so ready to go that I know he will be absolutely fine and so I am not really worried about him, it’s more the fall-out from dealing with a huge change in our lives that is stressing me out.
As I work 4 days of the week, we are very fortunate to have fantastic (Grand)parents on both sides who help out with our childcare a day a week each, the two remaining days the children are resident at our local nursery/pre-school which they absolutely love.
My children go everywhere as a pair, one drop off, one pick up and hours that can cover my entire working day, but how that will all change come September..
There are school hours to deal with for a start… even with after school clubs, the hours will be completely different to E’s at nursery, and definitely shorter than mine at work, so there is the whole question of how to tackle that still to come (and the breakfast and after-school club information is printed out already, but thanks for the tip!).
Now, if it were as simple as picking the school we want our children to go to and that being that, I wouldn’t feel quite so daunted at the prospect of having to deal with 3 whole years of one at school and one at nursery, but no, we (unknowlingly of course) seem to have picked one of the highest birth rate years to have our first born and not only that, but choosing to live on a new build estate means it is full to bursting with primary school age children. So it came to the time to fill out our form and a tactics game had to be played…
My favourite of all the schools we visited (including our catchment one) did not even make it onto our form – it is a popular school within the area, and usually over subscribed, plus we would be out of catchment – it would have been silly to have used up two of our precious three slots with schools that it is unlikely we will get into, so that left us with this:
School No1: Our estate’s own primary school, living less than a mile away and within catchment, you would think it should be no problem to get into that school, but last year, the greatest distance a non-sibling child lived away from the school was 0.3 of a mile… hmmmm. Add to this it is the only primary school in our area (meaning life would become a lot easier to get E into the same school when the time comes) plus the fact that it is next door to E’s nursery would make it by far the easiest option. There are also several of K’s best friends who already have older siblings at this school so it would be amazing if they don’t end up there and I would so like him to have some of his closest friends with him as he makes this massive move in his life.
School No2: Furthest away of the three, out of catchment but in a well establised area of the town with less young families (note the tactics coming into play). Within walking distance of the Briggs Grandparents, but from home it will mean a drive and then a walk to drop off / pick up at school.
School No3: Another out of catchment school, and one that children local to us were allocated last year, but again, a drive and then a walk to get to, plus they are currently building a new estate which will come into it’s catchment area, so when E is due to start school, there is potential this could be over-subscribed and unlikely to take out of catchment children.
The stress of it all I can’t even describe, I have quite literally tied myself in knots over what we should be doing to try and get into the school that will suit us all the best. Then, I had a word with myself pulled it together and have been living by the motto of what will be will be.
However, the dreaded day is looming closer and now with only one week to go until the allocated schools are advised, my stress levels are creeping up again.
A couple of weeks ago we were walking past school no1 and the children’s nursery, the sun was shining, there were parents and children everywhere, enjoying the warm weather, playing in the playground, riding bikes and scooters – I have decided that is the worst bit – if we do end up with schools 2 or 3 then the simple fact that we will have to get in the car to come home means none of this, plus few of K’s school friends are likely to live nearby and with me working it will not be so easy to do invites to play and tea, I will feel like he is missing out.
Like any parent, I just want to do the best for my children and feeling so totally helpless and unable to control something which could affect his happiness (and our sanity!) for the next 3-6 years of his life is one of the most frustrating things I have experienced about being a parent to date.
So please keep your fingers crossed for School No1, I think we need all the luck we can get!