A little over a year ago, I was faced with the hardest parenting decision that I’ve had to make.
The decision that I had to make was which secondary school to apply to for Miss Frugal. There were two choices really – the Academy less than five minutes walk from our house with the not so great Ofsted report or the school that’s further away with the excellent Ofsted report.
On paper, it looked like an easy decision but in reality, it was so much harder. I had to take into account that there wasn’t a single one of her classmates that would be going to the school further away so she wouldn’t know anyone at all which was a major concern as she can be quite shy with new people. I also had to consider the fact that the other school was catholic (which we’re not) and that the other students travel in from the surrounding areas so even when she made friends, they probably wouldn’t live close enough for her to spend time with outside of school until she was a bit older.
I spent weeks going backwards and forwards and I ended up writing a list of all of the good and bad things that I knew about each school. I spend ages writing my list but ultimately, it came down to the two words that were in the good column for the other school :
I understand that it’s as much to do with the pupils and the support they get at home as it is to do with the school but when the school is so much better, it follows that the quality of education is going to be so much better, doesn’t it?
We applied, knowing that only around 20 non faith students each year from the whole area get in and kept our fingers crossed – me, that she got in and her, I suspect hoping that she didn’t!
The email came at 3am in March this year and was waiting for me when I got up the next day. I was absolutely over the moon and she seemed happy enough although a little subdued and overwhelmed at the idea of leaving the friends she’s had since nursery and moving to a whole new school away from them.
I then spent the next six months going backwards and forwards worrying that I’d done the wrong thing and at one point, I almost declined the place and applied for the other school. But I didn’t and in September of this year, she set off for her first day at her new school, very nervous and looking way too little for her blazer.
That was a little over two months and the difference in her is amazing.
She is just so much more confident which means that she can do things she was reluctant to do before – things like going to Zumba with one of my friends each week and joining the gym to go on her own twice a week wouldn’t have even been considered before but now she does them both and loves them.
She loves everything about school and even enjoys her homework – it amazes me every day how happy she is!
I stopped myself from asking the all important question until a couple of weeks ago because, no matter that I knew how happy she was, I really dreaded hearing her answer. I finally asked her if she was glad that she had gone to this school and not the one with all her friends and I could have cried when she told me that she was. She said she loved school and her friends and gave me a big hug!
I’m so pleased I made the right decision but I know I’m lucky as it could have easily gone the other way.
How do you make decisions like this?
Some people do what I did and write a pros and cons list or ask the advice from your friends and family. Others might go with their gut feeling or take time to reflect on their options. Some people might even ask a psychic for advice or base a decision on a simple toss a coin. But ultimately, you don’t know what’s going to happen whatever you decide do you?
Why did no-one tell me being a parent would be so hard? 😉
Disclosure: in collaboration with The Circle