THE TIME HAS come to choose a primary school. It seems a mere couple of years since we first carried Harvey home in his car-seat from the maternity ward, yet soon we’ll graduate to posting a Facebook photo of our all grown-up son, standing at the front door, grinning in his school uniform, unaware that another 14 years of Physics, PE, and early starts stretch ahead of him like freshly laid turf.
The county council have sent us a rather austere four-page guide to the process, referencing nothing of the joys of education, or indeed any kind of joy. Instead they provide a timetable of impending deadlines—when to contact schools to arrange a tour, when to send off our application form, what the last date would be to change our allocation area, etc. Apparently we need to select up to four schools in our area and rank them in order of preference.
This feels a little daunting because what had seemed a straightforward decision—we live in a village, our son will surely attend the community primary that lies a short walk from our doorstep—now presents itself as a process we should somehow be gaming. Do we vote tactically? Do we download Ofsted reports? Should we be trying to get Harvey into an "academy" school, or a "community" one? Do we gamble on the school we want, and put that in pole position, without considering any others?
To ease the burden, I’ve devised the following three criteria:
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