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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Playing the School Places Waiting Game

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It could be argued that there are many “most” nerve-wracking times in a parent’s family life, from your child being born, to their first steps, leaving them with someone else and now, waiting to hear about school places for both infant and senior school (I didn't plan that very well did I?)

LLP - Playing the school place waiting game

Aside from having two new lots of uniforms to buy, the stress of actually getting the school place we want hasn’t exactly made us go grey overnight, but it has certainly added to my husband's silver stripes, as my youngest calls them (thanks, princess!) So. Much. Pressure. Will we get our first choice, or even our second or third? Are the horror stories from parents of previous years about massive oversubscription true? Is that red rated school really as bad as Ofsted say and, if so, can we afford private school, because I am quite certain my sanity can’t afford home schooling.

Private School

Fed up with the stomach-churning sensation that surely means an ulcer forming, I have come up with a variety of distractions.

  1. Play School Brag Bingo. Score points for every time you hear a nursery parent confidently name drop a governor they know. Score double points if they know a head teacher.
  2. Look into the cost of private education. Sit down. Debate whether avoiding a poor school is worth paying off a re-mortgaged house for the rest of your life.
  3. Investigate the process of home schooling.
  4. Investigate the cost of hiring a tutor to home school.
  5. Give evil looks to every old person you see living in catchment area.
  6. Consider moving.
  7. Write a list of reasons that “bad” school may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise. At least you won’t have to fork out hundreds of pounds for school trips each year.
  8. Eat cake. Not a new distraction, but a good one all the same.
  9. Start running. The endorphins exercise release feel almost as good as the smug satisfaction you get from arriving at the school gates in running shoes that have actually seen some action. And it will help negate the effects of that cake
  10. Try to avoid turning too much to wine for solace. Actually, do what you like - I’m not going to judge (though I bet you a bottle of Prosecco that there will be a parent at the school gates who will. It’s ok, you don’t want your child to play with theirs anyway).

Keep things in perspective. Your child’s life won’t be over if they don’t get into your first choice of school. Life is all about rolling with the punches. Who knows, your child could turn out to be the next Muhammed Ali.

Speaking of keeping things in perspective, I love this letter Harmony Hill Primary School sent pupils recently, reminding them that they are worth more than a grade. Whether or not your child is accepted does not come down to how good a parent you are, but factors largely outside your control.

And in the end, while education IS a serious matter, don't take this blog post too seriously .... well except the bit about cake, I am very serious about that!

 

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  1. Waiting to hear about school places is tough. I considered moving area and significantly increasing my mortgage to get my son into our first choice, however he actually ended up getting in on the waiting list anyway!

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  2. Wishing you lots of luck with getting the places you want, from my experience with friends who have been through this, it is so stressful x

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  3. I do not yet have kids but i remember a few years ago one of my colleagues talking about registering her 2 year old for school near there home 5 years in advance I mean how crazy is that but such is the school system in most places in UK

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  4. I am lucky that I live literally 100 yards from our chosen school and having had 5 children all go there they have to let number 6 in.........will still nervously wait for that letter though

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  5. I am really not looking forward to this whole waiting game, and to be honest I am sorely tempted to look into homeschooling so we don't have the worry... and eat cake...

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  6. It must be really tough for some people. I can't imagine the worry to be honest. I'm really lucky and live in an area where all the schools are good, but of course that comes at a price.

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  7. My friend is currently waiting to see if her daughter gets their first choice at primary school and she is stressing about it. Fingers crossed you get the schools you want x

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  8. And it is just getting worse and worse, they need to limit the waiting game and spend more money on focusing on successful school placement.

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  9. Wow, that sounds so stressful it almost makes me not want to have children here in the UK. :/ I'm originally from the States and school placement is nothing like this over there. We all just went to the school nearest where we lived basically (by district and zoning) and you were rarely allowed to go to a school that wasn't your corresponding one. I don't know if I could handle the stress of having to have back up choices. The school system here is still a bit of a mystery to me.

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  10. We are waiting to find out the school my daughter will be attending. It is really a nerve wrecking time for us and these distractions will help make things easier. Thank you for sharing, this is just what I needed to read.

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  11. Even though Rowan is only 19 months old I'm already worrying about what school he'll go to. At the moment we rent a house and are now trying to work out if we can buy a house somewhere before he starts school. All very stressful so I'll take your advice and eat some cake! Laura x

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  12. Love, love, LOVE the School Brag Bingo! I have all this to look forward to, Ugh :-( Fingers crossed for you. x

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  13. And cake should be taken very seriously! We are still in the midst of relocating and still don't know where we will be, luckily I have another year before I have to play the school game x

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  14. I do feel for parents and children that don't get into their first choice of school, after all, parents just want the best for their children. A point to note however is perspective - every school has different strengths and is the 2nd or 3rd choice school really that worse than the 1st choice?

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