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Making the Hard Decision To Change the Boys' School


Making the decision to take your child from a place where they have settled, where they've made close friends, where they are comfortable, happy, content and confident, to put them into a place that they don't yet know, where others are strangers, where their surroundings are unfamiliar, where routines aren't yet established and confidence hasn't yet grown, is a hard thing to do. And I know this, because we've just made the decision to change our childrens school. 

There are a number of reasons why the move is right for us, but one big factor into the decision was the reality that Logan would have been the only one in his year group for the second year running in his current school. Whilst it was a small concern, it was never such an issue for his year in nursery as he'd been happily mixed with the reception children and often the year 1's which included his brother - a very familiar face for him. But as he moves up into reception come September 2019, the school has had no choice due to low numbers joining (or rather not joining) the school, to combine four year groups together - nursery (1 child), reception (1 child - Logan), year 1 and year 2. And because the two bigger years need to spend the day learning, their new setting will be a proper classroom with little space for play stations for the younger children.

And don't get me wrong, Logan loves to learn - he's massively into his numbers and his letters, but there's more to pre-school than just education and at his age we feel he needs that play experience and whilst he may enjoy learning, at just turned four he's not yet emotionally ready for that proper year 2 classroom experience. And sadly, there's more to our decision to take our boys out of their local village school than just this -  the school has other issues that they need to address and whilst I feel that it's not my place to write about those here. I have on a number of occasions addressed several issues involving my boys directly with the school only to be left feeling let down. 

But despite a change of school seemingly being and feeling like the right thing to do, it's still been a massive decision that we've truly agonised over. Our local village school was one of the reasons that we moved here and for a while we couldn't have been happier, especially so when Ethan first joined and had a small, but lovely little class of friends and a wonderful teacher. I really did form an attachment to that school, I really could picture my boys growing up there. And to make the decision to ask them to start again somewhere unknown at such a tender age, asking them to leave the friends they've made and see daily and place them in a setting where they will need to rebuild their confidence has been harder than I thought. 

Our parenting instincts have told us repeatedly that  it's the right thing to do. We've even sat and weighed up the pros and con's by physically writing down a list. Yet even still, as we walked in there today with Logan for his transition morning at his new school and he began sobbing I doubted myself more than I ever have. Suddenly, the responsibility of making the right choice for our little people became overwhelming. Are we doing the right thing? 

I'd been anxious since before we'd even left for the new school that morning, but I had held it together, I hadn't wanted Logan to pick up on it. I wanted him to know that his parents were confident and so he had no reason not to be. I hadn't expected him to get so upset, especially so as that wonderful teacher that I mentioned earlier was standing there waiting for him outside his classroom. Her leaving the boys current school was one of the final marks in our decision to follow suit and we have been very fortunate in that the one school around here with a current place for Logan is the very same school that she is joining. 

I think the hardest part for me this morning was recognising as an anxiety sufferer myself, anxiety in my child. Even as an adult I walked in there and felt overwhelmed myself so I could completely sympathise with Logan - after all 30 reception aged children is a LOT when you're coming from a place where you're the only one. He asked me to take him to the toilet and as soon as that toilet door shut behind us, he just let out all of his emotions and as someone who's hidden herself away in the toilet to let it all out when I've also felt anxious and overwhelmed, it hit me hard. 

A massive part of me wanted to pick him up and run - take him back to his familiar place, take him back to the friends who he was repeatedly asking for. But I reminded myself of the reasons behind the move, I reminded myself of how confident I'd been in my decision after I sent the email to go ahead. I thought about how many more friends Logan will go on to make. I thought about secondary school and how 30 children in one year might seem huge to us now but it's tiny in comparison to how massive secondary school will be. I thought about how more structured the school seems. How they'd ticked all of the boxes around my questions on some issues we'd been having at the other school. And about how many more opportunities he'd have at the new school. And I reminded myself, of my myself - I was always an anxious child, I've never grown out of that fear, but as a 30 year old adult I am now able to recognise that the best way to overcome anxiety is to know that it's okay to step out of your comfort zone sometimes, it's okay to face a short term discomfort for a long term benefit. And that is all this is.


The school that we've picked to move the boys' to only has a space for Logan currently and because of his age, we are having to go through our local council to get his school place moved. Unfortunately, there's no contact number for the school admissions department at our council and we're still waiting for a reply to our email a week later, but the school seem hopeful that the place will go to Logan, so fingers crossed. Ethan will join the waiting list for the school and hopefully will get a place in the near future, hopefully it won't be too long once his brother is in.

Today was Logan's transition morning and whilst it was incredibly hard to leave him crying and walk out of the classroom door this morning, I knew he was in safe hands, I knew that it was the right thing to do as I know he will settle much quicker than I expect and I know that it will benefit him so much in the long run. I sobbed most of the way home, but the couple of hours passed quickly and soon it was time to pick him up. The best part of that was arriving and seeing him before he saw me, because when I did, I saw that he was doing just fine and his teacher confirmed the same. I had wanted to scoop him up in my arms and whisk him home, but in just that split second I realised that actually, he can hold his own and that's exactly what he needs to be able to do.

I sit here now writing this, confident in our choice. I know that we've got some transitioning to do over the next few months and then some more when Ethan gets a place in the school, but I am confident that this short term discomfort of it all will be worth the long term benefit it will bring. 


Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo


2 comments

  1. Mixing four year groups together would be a deal breaker for me. I wouldn't want nursery and reception children to be in the same learning environment as Y1/2. I think you're making the right decision x

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  2. I can understand and agree with all your decisions on why you are moving the boys to a different school. You are hoping to give them the best possible start in their education.

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