Applying for a school place…again

September 15, 2017

It’s been a little while since we’ve written about school. But applying for POD’s junior school place is already filling me with dread and that’s without the months of waiting. You may remember POD didn’t get offered a place at the local school when she was four (in 2015). She ended up starting reception at another school, which was a faff to get to, and she didn’t know anyone. That said, after a bumpy start, POD ended up making lots of friends and finished her reception year with a glowing report. We decided to stay on the waiting list for the local school “just in case” although we did question whether we’d move her if she was offered a place.

Year 1 began well. POD was thrilled to be back with her friends again and relished being in after school club. There was a distinct change in POD however after a few weeks back. While she didn’t mention anything the first time it happened, a older boy had developed a bit of thing for her. Not in a good way I might add – he started bullying her because she didn’t want to play with him. Aside from what he said to her, there were instances of pushing POD up against a door, taking her shoes and the most serious of all wrapping her up in a skipping rope.

Each playground incident was reported to a teacher, either by POD immediately afterwards (if she remembered) or the following day. No-one seemed to write anything down and it had little impact. POD became very aware that telling a teacher, even straightaway, wasn’t making a difference. She no longer wanted to go to school and went from being very sociable with lots of friends to seemingly becoming isolated. It was awful to see a child normally beaming with confidence much quieter and even withdrawn on occasions. The bully had been reported to one of POD’s class teachers five times before we went to the Head.

The situation was dealt with swiftly and we were assured in a meeting just before Christmas 2016 that it wouldn’t happen again. However, when POD returned from the school holiday in January, the same child (with his mates) was approaching her daily. Added to which being on her own in the playground more often meant six year old POD was being approached by much older boys – she thinks around the age of 12. It was a dreadful time for her and we really were at our wits end.

After two weeks of not being left alone in the playground and seeming no action from the school, POD was offered a place at the local infant school. She’d been on the waiting list 21 months. I cannot tell you how relieved we were. POD left the school she was at the following day, it was a Friday, and started at the local infant school on the Monday. We were amazed at the speed of the transition but absolutely delighted and it was better for everyone. POD already had friends at the local school and that really helped her settle in, remarkably quickly in fact. It’s a wonderful school and she’s been very happy in the time she’s been there. She’s commented on how much she’s missed school all summer!

POD started Year 2 last week with new teachers and many new classmates. She’s loving it and really likes the teaching staff too which is great. This is her final year at this school though, she will have to go to a junior school from September 2018. The majority will go to one nearby which is where we hope POD will go too. However places are not guaranteed and after what we’ve been through already, we’re understandably apprehensive.

The infant school she’s at is a feeder school for the primary and while that means we should be alright. The general view from parents and school admissions is that we “should be fine” but there is of course that niggle of doubt. We were told much the same before, as we were in the catchment area, and everything went against us. We can apply for a junior school place between 30th October and 15th January 2017 (we’re keen to do it sooner rather than later) with the outcome confirmed on 16th April 2018. I’m not sure yet whether we need to include supplementary information in our application, if there’s the opportunity to do so we will. Here’s hoping it all goes to plan and our fun-loving six year old can remain with her friends.

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