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Choosing a School

My husband and I spent a very happy morning this weekend, checking out a local secondary school for our son. Now you may be thinking that our eldest is due to move school soon, but you'd be wrong. He is only 8 yrs old and he won't be moving until Sept 2017



So why do this now?

I could tell you that it's because the competition for schools is very tight and we need to register quickly. Not true - we are lucky enough to live outside London and down here there is less of a scramble to get into your next school.

A number of my friends in London are going through the process now of getting their children into their next school, and it sounds like a nightmare. Seriously how many normal (and untutored) 5 and 6 yr olds could tell you the name of the Prime Minister in office during the Second World War?

No, the real reason for looking now is that I have a teensy bit of OCD (I put in the word teensy - not sure my husband would). So if I can mentally tick the box of sorting out my son's next school now, I will do it, rather than leave it until most normal parents, which is sometime in 2016.

Ticking the right boxes

The school we visited did tick all the right boxes too. Sighting a couple of minor celebs was for me the icing on the cake - I'm easily swayed by these things and dream of being best friends with George Clooney one day. But jokes aside, how do you decide on the right school for your child?

Visiting on open day

When you look around these schools on their Open Days, it is rather artificial, as the school would have been power hosed to within an inch of its life (so the Mumsnet tip for checking out the cleanliness of the loos was pointless).

The pupils chosen to take you around are the cream of the crop - the dunces would have been told to stay at home that day. There's a group of children speaking Mandarin in one classroom, another group doing a play in Latin, and out in the courtyard there's a dance troupe performing to the strains of the School swing band.

And then to top it all, they usher you into the PE department to shake the hands of some of the best looking PE teachers I've ever seen.

Frankly I'm sold. But I'm sure that is not what makes a good school (although it certainly would have brightened up my school days).

So how do you decide on a school?

Well I've not got there yet so watch this space. I've booked in to see another 5 schools at least, if only to shake the hands of a few more PE teachers around Sussex.

I will keep you posted.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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