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Choosing the right school

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Hi everyone, happy Christmas, New Year etc! We are soon to make our school choice & have narrowed it down to two very strong contenders. We’ve done loads of research & have found perhaps our current favourite option where all teachers are trained in attachment & the head has personal experience of adoption, a number of LAC within the school & it’s fair to say we feel we are on the same wavelength in the few meetings we have had. Our son would be assigned a key worker whom would be his attachment figure throughout his time, giving him to opportunity to build a strong relationship with a key individual whom we could regularly link in with. This school doesn’t use public behaviour systems which we feel is ideal.

The second option has less experience of LAC & only one teacher currently trained in attachment, the head has committed to training the early years teacher too should our son go there. This head appears more relaxed about homework which we understand to be important. They also employ dedicated music, forest school & PE teachers & have a large pastoral support team. The school also encourages outdoor learning to the extent their aim is for all children to have the option to learn outside throughout primary & junior school with outdoor classrooms that are available all day everyday to all children. Our son loves being outside so in some ways this approach seems ideal but we are cautious that generally our children need structure, routines & firm boundaries & maybe the ‘choice’ to learn inside or outside could be counterproductive?

Would welcome the views of others whom have children at school, we have absolute confidence in the head of the first option & feel she really gets it. The second feels like more of a risk due to less experience of children who have suffered developmental trauma but the dedicated teaching staff outlined above & outdoor learning option does appeal, please help we so want to get this right.

Many thanks in advance xx


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No advice but I must say that both of these schools sound fantastic and I wish I had found either of these before starting my son in his disastrous reception year. Well done for being so savvy and proactive. Good luck


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I would say do not get too excited about attachment persons in school, the reality learns that this will be for relative short periods as people leave, get sick, etc. You can be lucky with this or not.

Also a teacher trained in attachment sounds great, this is no guarantee they also really understand it, my experience has learned that you can explain until you are red in the face but in school they do what they think is best, and if your child has true attachment disorder (what's not that commen, if there ate behavioural problems the cause is more likely one or other disorder) it is good possible the teacher 'falls into the lies, tricks, manipulative behaviours'. The truth is some people get it and others not, unfortunally this has little to do with training.

I would choose the second school, homework is not important, it might help some kids but it's not a deal breaker for outcomes later in life. I advise you also to get tests done as soon as it becomes obvious your child is behind in school, do not wait and hope for rhe best and think it's all neglect and he'll catch up. If that's the case it will be obvious in the tests. If (it does not have to be at all) there are developmental problems going on, you save yourself a lot of headache by knowing it as soon as possible. Good luck with your school choice, it is a bit of a gamble and unless your child is at the school you have no real idea.

Some people can talk very smooth, and the head teacher is not the one in daily contact with your child!


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Great to have a choice! I would be drawn to the first school as it is so hard to 'educate' teaching staff who just don't get it and you can always do outdoor stuff out of school hours.


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And think about other aspects as well. There is the twice daily school run, what are the distance and route like? If that grinds you down then that will affect you and your parenting.

Is there an option to walk or cycle to school? If one is more local they may make local friends instead of remote ones that are more difficult to see outside school.

It may be that the attachment side outweighs everything else - but don't go by "generally", look at what you know about your child and how they have dealt with situations so far.


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Agree these sound like two great options. Would also second kanga's advice about thinking logistics. Primary schools are generally close-knit communities, and there are huge advantages in having this geographically close to where you live. It may well be that some of the other parents become, if not bosom buddies, at least people you get to know pretty well over the next seven years. Hopefully your child will (in due course) be going on play dates and having other children round, and so being able to do all of this without having to get into the car (and for your child to be able to do this independently towards the end of the primary school career) is hugely useful. In a similar vein, I'd check out if there are any breakfast/ after school clubs. You may well not want/ need to use these now, but again thinking forward a few years if you may be looking to try to combine work and childcare knowing that the school has facilities on site is a plus.

LB


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Hi. I would probably go for the first school. The second school sounds a bit 'trendy'. Often this comes down to the interests of the head and it can all be wiped out if they leave. This happened with my daughter's school. It had meditation and massage etc but the head suddenly left. New head goto rid of it all. I would also caution that schools with money to spend on this sort of thing often don't have so much for sen. My other daughter went to a school with an orchestra and dedicated music room. They were pretty focused on grammar school stream type kids and hopeless at inclusion etc ( it's why I sent my younger daughter to the other school, the one with the massage etc). Forest school etc sounds they have a lot of able kids to me.


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I would give them both some specific 'how do you handle' questions. 'How do you handle the topics around belonging'' / Mother's Day / loss?'. 'How do you approach awareness raising around neglect/abuse and impact of this' gives an idea of what they understand in practice. Our school is great on the whole but it was around teaching of belonging that I felt they didn't 'get it'. They didn't make me aware in advance, asked for baby photos the night before teaching it, and brushed off any potential impact on little one because he'd be 'too young to remember.


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