Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Tuesday, April 24

School blues

We sent off our school preferenes list to the local council many months ago.  Today was the day when we found out what school our daughter has been allocated to.

Not our original first preference - which is probably a good thing now that we are moving church and that choice was very much linked into our vision for that parish

Not our second choice - the school where she currently attends nursery and has her best friend

Not our thrid choice - the school all her siblings went to.

All of the above were oversubscribed.

So the local council has allocated her to the school closest to our house.

This makes sense, but there is a reason there are vacancies there - it has some of the worst outcomes in the town.

This is partly a consequence of the catchment it lies in, with many immigrant communities that have been recently disrupted as they move to the UK and which struggle with the English language.

It is also a school that does well with 'special needs' children - in the sense of learning difficulties etc, so it attracts them and this brings down the average marks.

But it also means that the brighter pupils are left to fend for themsleves as the attention is diverted to the needy groups.

I don't in any way resent the attention given to them - it is good.  But it is inaapropriate to mix my very bright daughter in amongst them, as she will suffer.  She needs to be at a school where she will get 'special needs' attention for her high ability level.

You might argue that by taking her away we will be part of the problem that causes that school's results to be skewed down.  But we have had friends whose bright children have gone downhill there, and our first duty as parents is to put our daughter where she will flourish.  It is not right for her to be a tool for your social engineering.

Oh and did I mention - the family of the curate we had trouble with goes there.  Mrs would have to see his wife every day. 

So we will appeal and try agian to get her into the second choice school.  And if they don't accept it, well, my daughter is actuually young in the year and isn't legally obliged to go to school yet.  And Mrs is a qualified teacher, so she will homeschool her until a place becomes available.  And beyond if need be.

Not that we approve of homeschooling - children need to get out of the home and develop wider perspectives and learn to interact with otehr people and ideas.

But what is God doing in all this?

Perhaps the local school needs a Christian influence?  It's closest to the church we are re-joining.  And those deprived families need someone like us to link them with their local church.  So should we trust our daughter to the Lord and accept the council's decision as his will?  Maybe.  If this is the case then our appeal will fail, and Mrs will come round to the idea in due course.

It is hard for her to be accepting of this situation, when as someone passionate aboute working with chidlren and pasionate about her own chidlren she is asked to send her own child to the worst school.  It really is a kick in the teeth for her.

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