Failing My Children ~ School Saga Continues

I feel as though I’m between a rock and a hard place, with no where to go and it’s my children who are going to suffer.

Last week we got the news we had been dreading, they are unable to offer places at our preferred school, instead my boys have been allocated places at an academy.

I’m trying to be optimistic, but when an academy run by the same people ranked as “inadequate” in the Ofsted report conducted earlier this year, it doesn’t give me much hope.

I realise that it’s a different academy, but as it’s run by the same people who run the one my children have been allocated places and it doesn’t sit well with me.

This is how the report was described

The report said students underachieved and their progress was too slow.

It added that those with special educational needs were not provided for well enough in lessons, and that students should attend more regularly.

"Teaching is not of sufficient quality, or improving with enough urgency, to enable students to make up the ground they need," the report said.

"Teachers expect too little of students."

The document said the academy's governors were "too accepting" of low standards.

Would you send your child to a school like this? Would Mr Gove? No, so why am I expected to?!

I’ve also seen the allocation for places in our preferred school, they had 90 places and 234 applicants.

Of those 90 places 44 were allocated to children who have a sibling at the school the remaining 46 to children in the immediate catchment area.

My children fit none of these “priorities”, out of the 6 categories, my children fall into priority 6, the lowest.

This is the same for all the primary schools within our area, my boys haven’t been christened, which puts us on the shit list for about 80% of the schools, the remaining 20% want siblings, SEN Statements, looked after children or those children with exceptional medical or social needs.

My children fall in to none of the little tick boxes, so instead they fall into the cracks.

I’m happy for the parents and children who have been offered a place at their preferred school, because the situation I now find us in sucks, and that is putting it mildly.

I’m frustrated, upset and more than a little angry that my children have been shuffled off to some academy which may turn out to be wonderful, but as yet has been unable to prove itself.

I received a letter, almost gleefully informing me that some lucky children have been offered 2 places, one at their preferred school and one at a new free school, bully for them, awesome, how nice it must be to have such a choice.

Meanwhile, I need to look in to appealing a process which clearly puts my children at the bottom of the priority list, and those waiting lists for each school are scarily long.

I’m trying to look at the positives of the academy my boys will more than likely be attending in a few months…it has playing fields, I like the idea that it’s not all concrete, they have a nice range of after school clubs and ummm…… yeah that’s about it at the moment.

On the down side, no Ofsted report for the academy, we know little about the curriculum they teach (it’s based on an American system), the boys will spend over 2 hours travelling to school and back everyday and I will spend over 4 hours dropping them off and bringing them home.

What would you do? What can I do?

I’m truly feeling lost at the moment, as though I have somehow let down my children.


  1. I can't really offer any advice on this as we are not at school age yet but I just wanted to say I can 100% understand your anxiety - and I too would not be at all happy if I were in your situation. I really hope it works out for you.

    One thing I would say is that I truly believe kids make of school what they will. I didn't go to the best school but I got A levels and a degree so I'm sure they will shine through x

  2. Oh that is rubbish, I can't offer any advise, we are in Scotland where the system seems a lot simpler. It does seem perfectly reasonable to appeal, expecting you to travel that far to school is ridiculous.


  3. My children are still small, but as a Year 6 teacher often picking up the pieces of families who haven't got their choice of school, I can empathise with your situation. It sucks. The whole system sucks and I'm not quite sure what the answer is... only to say that Ofsted aren't everything. They get a snapshot view of a school and base their judgements on that, and a lot can be different from one school to the next even with the same leadership. I would definitely appeal... there tends to be a fair amount of movement over the next couple of months so its worth being a bit pushy and chasing, chasing, chasing. I know its a pain, but it could well pay off... Sorry I can't offer any advice! We're all rooting for you... Claire x

  4. Really, really sorry to hear you're having trouble and disappointments. The only suggestion I can think of is writing to your MP and explain the journey to and from school at least. That's madness.
    Back in the 70's my parents kept me off school for two weeks at the start of the new school year because I hadn't got into the school of their choice. A place was eventually 'found' in the preferred school by speaking to the headmaster. These days you'd probably be hauled to the courts for keeping your boys off school but I just wanted to let you know my own experience. Good luck. xx

  5. I found your blog via 3 children and It and I'm really glad I did - your post of school nostalgia was perfect and sums up everything that used to be right with education. I really sympathise with your situation but know that you are not failing your children at all. As a teacher I can say that children with good support at home and from a loving environment do best anywhere and results are just that they are just statistics at the end of the day. Ofsted cannot not assess the strengths that are not easily measurable and some schools focus quite rightly on the children and not the system and are then penalised by a bad report. You also have the right to educate 'otherwise' and chose to home educate. You do not need to be a teacher and there are tons of free resources and programmes out there. I don't know your situation and whether this is a possible or desired possibility but making such a lengthy journey seems barmy - virtual hugs Helen

  6. Oh that is trash, I can't give any guide, we are in Scotland exactly where the system seems a lot a lot easier.

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