First Choice!

Last Thursday, like thousands of other parents up and down the country, we had the nail-biting wait to see if Harrison had got a place at his chosen primary school for September.

We were told that if we applied by email (which we did), we would get an email on Thursday with our place, followed by a letter on Friday. Wednesday night went very slowly, and I didn’t sleep particularly well.

When we applied for the school, we lived in the next road to it – we couldn’t get much closer if we tried. As he had settled so well into the nursery there, it made sense to put that as our first choice. Our second choice and third choice were two other local schools, both about a half an hour walk away.

Then we moved.

We moved to a house that was literally 2 minutes (if that!) walk from our second choice school. We had the agonising decision whether to change the options, as our first choice was now a thirty minute walk. That’s not easy when you have two other little people to drag along as well. After much discussion we decided to keep our choices as they were – he was settled, he had made a good group of friends and I had built up a great circle of friends. Yes, it’s a pain in the arse sometimes to get to, but the benefits outweigh that. Obviously, when we moved house we had to phone the council to change our address on the preference form.

From midnight Thursday I found myself waking up every couple of hours to check whether the email had come through. At around 6.30am, I started getting texts from friends at the school saying they had their emails and everyone on Facebook was getting theirs. We had nothing. I wasn’t too worried about it even though we are out of catchment.  The school is a three form entry, and there are two nursery classes. I hoped that the fact he was in the nursery would go someway towards it. Lots of children from Harrison’s class had got a place at the local Catholic school, freeing up a few spaces, and another friend who lives even further from the school got a place. It was still nerve wracking though. We had been told that it could be anytime up to 3pm. My heart missed a beat everytime my phone beeped to say an email had come through (I get a lot!). By 2.45 I’d heard nothing. Someone pointed that because I’d made a change via telephone, I may have to wait until the letter came the next day. I couldn’t wait that long – our post doesn’t come until 1.30, so I phoned the council.

To my surprise I got through straight away. They didn’t know why I hadn’t had an email, but they gave me some good news: Harrison had been offered a place at our first choice. What a relief!

I know we have actually been quite lucky. A few friends haven’t been offered their first choice, and one of my friends didn’t get a place at any of her choices. Instead, she was offered a place at a school that has been deemed unsatisfactory by Ofsted. Needless to say, she is furious and is appealing – I don’t blame her!

We never did get the email, but the letter came the next day confirming it. Seeing it in black and white made me realise that Harrison is no longer a baby or a toddler. He’s growing up! I took him for a drink to Costa on Friday and left Alex and Ben with Graham. I want to make the most of the afternoons that we have together before he goes off to school every day. He suddenly seems really grown up, losing the silly behaviour and becoming so thoughtful and kind.

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