Friday 17 April 2015

Early morning School struggles...

It is 5am and I up. Not because of the pregnancy, not because I generally struggle to sleep, not because the girls disturbed in the night.

I'm up, in all honesty, because I'm feeling sad.

Yesterday did not go our way.

We did not get our first choice school. The School at which Ava has been at Nursery since September, the school at which all her little friends are at, the School with the Christian ethos and the lovely teachers, the School in which I feel we, as a family, have already invested so much.

We didn't get our second or third choice either. We got our fourth. A school which Dave hasn't even looked around... we just didn't think it would be necessary if I'm honest, naive as that seems. A school which doesn't have the greatest reputation. A school which seems so big to be sending our little summer-born only-just-four-year-old to. We live only a five minute walk from our local church school... based on the last three years intake, we would have got in easily every time.

And I just don't know how to tell her. On a day when all her little friends will be excitedly talking about starting in Cherry Class in September, I have to break the news to her that she will not be going there. Or at least that we don't know where  she'll be going for definite yet. That we will trust God as a family to take her to the right school...

And I'm still trying to figure out how waiting lists and appealing figure into all of that.

I went to bed last night feeling more peaceful. Dave and I had chatted it through; perhaps this was for the best. We had prayed that God would send us where he wants us... and maybe this was it.  We had no grounds for appeal. We would simply go on the waiting list and see what happened, trusting him. I was sad, but honestly feeling at peace that waiting and watching was the best course of action.

Except that at 4.40am I sat up in bed, in the middle of my sleep with the sudden conviction that we did have grounds for appeal.

We are committed Christians. It won't come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog, that our faith is central to who we are as a family. For that reason, I trust that God has this utterly in his hands, and his purposes will come to pass.

Our grounds for appeal rest on the fact that despite all that, we were denied any right to a Church School placement within our town (despite their being two Church schools) due to their conflicting criteria...

Let me explain...

First Choice School...
We live five minutes from our local Church School. But this Church School has a clause which means that only certain Churches are considered in their bracket. This means that despite the fact that our Church is only 10 minutes from the School and we live only 5 minutes from the school, we are not considered as it is not part of their "group".

Second Choice School...
Accepts applications from any Church members in our town (our church included) but stipulates you can only apply for a church place if it is your nearest church school.

In other words, we are not considered for a Church place in the first school because we are not part of the right Church, we do not qualify for the second school because although we are part of the right Church, it is not our closest Church School.

Therefore at no point in the application process did we ever stand a chance of getting into a church school on anything other than distance.

Is it just me, or does that seem wrong?

I think the hardest thing about it all, is that the second choice school was so oversubscribed that a lot of people who live right over the other side of town have got church places at our School and therefore taken up all the spaces, because our School does not stipulate that it has to be the closest church school.

So now I face a dilemma. Do I simply accept and trust? Or is it possible that God has allowed this situation so that someone can challenge the seeming injustice for it for anyone who lives on our side of town but doesn't go to the right church...?

I don't know.

And that's the dilemma that has me up at 5am. Because I'm finding it hard to distinguish what the right thing to do is, and what is my protective, wanting what I think is best for my child nature kicking in.

So I'm up and praying. Watching the sun rise. Asking for peace. Asking for direction. Asking for God to continue to hold our little girl in his hands.

I'm so thankful that I know He does.


  1. It must be so hard for you. All I can say is that you will be able to continue to nurture Ava and she looks like such a bright girl who will do really well wherever she goes to school. GAPNS was our third choice for Laura and we hadn't looked round but she flourished there under the care of incredibly caring and competent staff so our initial concerns were unfounded. Good luck x

  2. Go with your heart and if appeal is what you really know is right then appeal. Use the facts and if it is where little A is meant to be it will happen. Also get the church to write a statement etc if you feel it's needed. Yes will be hard to tell little A that she hasn't got in at the moment but it will help her understand that we don't always get what we want in life sometimes we have to want it that little bit more. Praying that A will go where God wants her to xx

  3. Thinking and praying for you x

  4. Sorry to hear your news. I hope things work out for you and Ava. X

  5. Oh that's very very naughty of the schools/council! How ridiculous and how unfair.
    In Scotland each child has register at the local school nearest to them (you check postcode) once registered usually the November before they start following year, if you wish your child to go to another school you put in a referal and explain why you want to send your child to another school and what school. It seems a bit fairer than the procedure down south because everyone just wanting to all go to same school so everyone will be getting 4th choice. I think you should appeal on the basis that it's very naughty about the Criteria, plus I don't understand how a church school can exclude some churches in area? I just fail to see how Christian that is. You could explain that childen that attend a nursery at a particular school should also get priority to that school as well due to confidence, knowing school making friends etc. I hope this helps. I would be feeling immensely upset if anything angry if that was me. X

  6. Eg veit at vår Herre omringar Ava med sin kjærleik, og Han veit kva som er den beste skulen for vårt kjære barnebarn. x x x

  7. Sorry to hear this news. I know how it feels but we took the stance when J didn't get in that his spiritual needs were being met by church and us and surrounding family. Despite some of the problems we encountered he flourished at Lovelace and I'm sure wherever A goes she will to. With secondary we stayed on the waiting list for 2 schools and he got his 2nd choice. Keep strong

  8. It didn't go our way either! I know how you feel, I'm not going to appeal as I think it all happens for a reason and maybe Amelie will be much happier at the school she has been allocated xx

  9. Lauren Louise Nardin17 April 2015 at 23:39

    Really feel for you Claire, Appeal first and foremost x do you know how far down the waiting list she is? Xx

  10. You need to appeal and fight. If in the end you still don't get in then you will know you have done everything possible and won't have the what if's to worry about. I'm so sorry that you are in this position. I'll be keeping everything crossed for you. Xx

  11. Clarina, I've followed your blog for a while and we really feel for you. If your little girl was born after 1st April, you might have the option for her to go into reception a year later as the Dept of Education guidance changed last december. Different LEAs are being more or less cooperative, depending on their stance but it might give you another year to apply for the c=school you want. We're applying for out little boy to go in a year later as his birthday is end of August and he's just not ready (even though we got a place at a church school whcih we love). I know it's a lot to consider and take in but there is a very supportive Facebook group called Flexible Admissions for Summer born children which has helped us get up to speed. We hope to give up our recpetion place once we've had permission to educate 'out of cohort'. Whatever you do, very best wishes for your sweet girl. I know this is really hard.

  12. I'd appeal. There shouldn't be any 'wrong sort' of Christian you either are or you aren't, denominations are just different styles of worship and it seems crazy that as a commited and actually practicing Christian family you are being excluded. I'm probably coming across a bit militant but before they changed the criteria for our village school we saw so many baptisms of almost 4 year olds in our church that we never ever saw again and it seems crazy that we were being used to con the admissions criteria!

  13. Oh Claire I so feel for you - this must have been really tough news to hear. The not knowing what's happening I think is the hardest isn't it. I'm a big believer in what happens happens for a reason and lets hope that is the case. Like you we have appealed (no date yet) and we haven't got the only school we can walk to where all POD's friends are going.

    We've not talked to her about which school she's going to yet because we don't know. We'll see where she is on the waiting list next week and hopefully that will provide a guide (it might not). We saw the school she's been offered today - it's in a horrible area but the school seems nice enough as do the teachers and kids attending. Getting there will take 45 mins by car (in rush hour) vs a 15 minute walk up the road. Here's hoping! Will be keeping my fingers crossed lovely, do keep me posted xxx


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