People who follow this blog will know the complete fiasco we encountered last year when we didn’t get any of our original school choices. People who follow this blog will remember too the knife in the gut moment when we later realised that this in turn would mean we would not get a place at any of our local secondary schools.
In a nutshell the whole starting primary school thing has been incredibly shit. But despite all that and some initial upset with Alice settling in last year, she now loves school and really enjoys learning as well as being with her friends.
We found out last week that we had a place at another school. Not our local school which is in walking distance (I’ve given up on ever getting in there), but our original second choice which is a lovely old village school, very small and friendly.
I was completely amazed to get the offer and almost immediately my husband and I felt it was the right thing to do to move Alice. It will still mean we have to drive to school (always one of my biggest bug-bears) but the biggest advantage is that if we move her now she will get a place at the local secondary school which is in walking distance of our house. I can’t believe we even have to think about this when she has only just turned 5 but the thought of going through what we went through last year in another 6 years’ time is unbearable.
This Past Week:
I got the email last Friday and have spent this week in turmoil. I’ve not slept and barely eaten for worrying about how Alice will handle the move. Whilst I feel deep down like we are making the right choice, it doesn’t stop me feeling like the biggest bitch ever for separating her from her friends and the teachers that she loves. She is so happy and settled at the current school. Can I really upset her all over again?
Like most things in life I also got incredibly bogged down in the detail of the process. When would I tell her teacher? When exactly would we tell Alice? When should I mention it to the other mums? All this and more were keeping me awake every night.
On Wednesday after school we took the girls out for Pizza and before we got out of the car I pitched the idea about moving schools using my most excited, super confident voice wearing my most calm mask.
For a moment Alice seemed quite taken with the idea until she realised it would mean giving up her current school, and she then wasn’t too happy. We managed to distract her with dinner and shopping but at bedtime – reality had hit. As she lay sobbing in her bed I couldn’t help wonder, “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?”
I also can’t help but feel incredibly resentful all over again. Why are we seemingly the only people going through this? Why am I putting my daughter through all this again because the local schools and authorities can’t cope with the pressure of too many people living here and not enough schools? Why does no one seem to care that the individual school rules are unfair and do not join up.
Alice’s last day at her current school was on Thursday. She took it all in her stride and seemed happy to be handing out sweets to her friends. I on the other hand was an emotional wreck watching her wave goodbye to her teachers and friends as they gave her a fab send off. It really did feel sad and unfair to be uprooting her.
We took her to meet her new teacher and the new school. We were anticipating some upset but was totally surprised that Alice enjoyed looking around the school and talking to her new teacher. After an hour and half we had to drag her away from the amazing outdoor space and play equipment. Sometimes, kids do surprise you. It doesn’t always end up as bad as you think and maybe, just maybe I have totally underestimated how she will handle this.
I know we are not out of the woods yet and I know that we are bound to have some upset next week when we start at the new school and a new routine.
I know it’s natural for all of us, not just kids, to dread and fear change. I know we need to push ourselves to do things sometimes that are hard and out of our comfort zone. I need to keep telling myself this next week. I need to remember why we are doing this. I need to keep wearing my happy face and practising my bright and breezy voice. I need to remember that it will get worse, possibly a whole lot worse before it will get better.
Wish us luck for Monday.
Has anyone else changed schools? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.