On Monday the 16th of April, anyone with a child aged 3 or 4 who would be starting school in September, found out exactly what school it would be that their child would attend. It was a big day, and I felt it. As the hours began to fade away and midnight drew closer, I hoped against everything that I'd get an email at midnight or be able to log onto the system to discover Noah's fate. I'd heard tales of people being left till five o'clock in the evening before they could know the outcome, that to me was torture, I mean I'd gone four and a half months already since submitting the application yet a few more hours felt wholly unreasonable. 

I felt physically sick on Sunday evening, it's usually a work evening for me but I had to log off as my concentration levels were at an all time low. See Noah attends the school we wanted him to go to in September, we took the opportunity that because he turned four before January, he was able to start half days in their foundation class. It's done him the world of good, we noticed an almost immediate improvement in his vocab, coming out with little sentences that would make us double take. Our boy was growing up fast before our eyes and really developing into a smart little cookie, coming home with tales of penguins in the Antarctica and how Bee's make honey, I've loved seeing him flourish at a rate of knots since he's attending that school. Our first choice. I say our first choice, because we were encouraged to put three other schools on the list, but in retrospect it was our only choice and I knew it wouldn't have mattered what alternative school we could have been offered, none would have compared. The thought of having to unsettle him from a place he was comfortable, happy and had made bonds just wasn't something I wanted to have to think about for too long, it makes me sad now to think there are parents that will have to do that, because unlike us, things didn't go their way yesterday.

I know we could have very easily been sat in a different boat today, sailing on unfamiliar seas and into uncharted territory. In truth I didn't allow myself to think of Noah not getting into our first choice school, I applied a ignorance is bliss method and up until about eight o'clock on Sunday night, it worked a charm. Then in rolled the sickness, I didn't feel this nervous preparing for either of my inductions but somehow finding out what school my first born was going to, made me want to retch. I know how important education is, I was lucky that my parents were pushers and they really didn't give me any other option but to do well. I intend to be the same for my boys, I know that primary and secondary education isn't everything, but I think it does set people up with a good work ethic and life ethos - you have to work hard. I want my son to attend schools that will push him as much as I intend to do, whether that's into sports, maths, drama or art, it doesn't matter where his passions lie I just want him to pursue them, and pursue them fiercely. Luke warm is no good.

We didn't celebrate with bells and whistles yesterday, an evening trip to the park post-teatime was enough excitement for our boys. Noah wasn't even aware of what yesterday had signified, he had no idea of the ramifications the wrong outcome could have had, instead he just knew that he was getting to go on the big slide at the park when he most certainly should have been having a bedtime story. I thought about all the parents that didn't get their first choice, some not receiving an offer from any school on their list and how differently their day would have felt. I couldn't imagine being in their shoes, the sickness I felt leading up to our offer disappeared as soon as I read we had our first choice, but not everyone got that,  a lot would be battling through with that sick feeling buried in their stomachs. I guess when it comes to Patrick we'll be in the same situation all over again, though hopefully a safer option in terms of gaining a place thanks to his brother already attending the school. I hope anyone else who found themselves fiercely refreshing their emails on Sunday night got what they wanted, and if not, have a solution, sometimes life has a weird way of figuring out what we need, before we even realise it ourselves.


  1. Lovely words - I remember feeling so anxious when it came to the day we found out about Lily's school place. She didn't get our first choice however we are happy as long as she is happy and she definitely seems to be happy at school most of the time.

  2. It's great that he got his first choice, especially as he is already so happy there. It must have been nerve wracking altogether! I do feel sorry for parents who don't get the school they would really like.

  3. Congrats on getting your first choice! I've heard from friends in England what a stressful process it is. Here in Edinburgh everyone pretty much just goes to their catchment school, unless you go private. Our little one starts school next year, so this Autumn we just need to go and register him at our catchment school and that's it. The other side of that though, is that I have heard of people moving house before their kids start school just to get in to their catchment area of choice, which is equally crazy as the English system.

  4. Those photos are just so cute! That's brilliant you got the first choice of school, I hope he really enjoys it which I'm sure he will since he's already there.

  5. It’s great that he got his first choice , I remember that feeling of dread the night before too. I remember filling in the application forms and trying to think of something enticing to put in the space for extra comments as to why he should attend that particular school!