Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yorkshire Move Part 5 - The School

In the few days between turning down the job and heading up to York again, we spent ages pouring over school information. Have you any idea how difficult it is to work out whether you like a school from just the Ofsted report alone?
It's very, very difficult indeed.

And then there's the problem of desperately wondering if they have places for your child.

In the end we narrowed it down to 3 schools. 2 in York, 1 in Pocklington. Louise did the phoning and rejected one straight away for just being so bloody rude on the phone and having no spaces in Year 3 anyway. The other two looked very good, were very welcoming and thank god, had a bloody place in Year 3.

St George's in York & St Mary & St Joseph's in Pocklington, a town 13 miles East of York.
And, if you can't guess from the names alone, they're Catholic primaries, both look pretty good on paper and both automatically feed into a good catholic secondary school in York.

We made appointments to go and see them both on the coming Friday.
So yet again, we woke bleary eyed and travelled up to York really early on a Friday morning.

St. George's in York was wonderful. About the same size as St Chad's where Molly is now in Birmingham. Most importantly both Louise and I had the same good feeling about St. George's as we'd had about St. Chad's and Molly's nursery. And our feelings have never let us down yet.
So we left, an hour later, feeling that we'd found the perfect school for her.

Then we travelled to Pocklington and our appointment with St. Mary & St. Joseph's. And we got the feeling yet again. This was just as perfect, just as nice, with the same ofsted results, same SATs results, but with considerably fewer pupils.

Which meant, we sat in a coffee shop an hour later amazed and confused that we'd just managed to find two perfect schools for Molly. Quite bizarre after coming from Birmingham where finding one halfway decent school is good going, and finding an excellent school is a miracle.

What swung it in the end was a quick walk around Pocklington. We decided that it was the place we wanted to live. Again, the good feeling was there and we've learnt to trust the feeling.

Interestingly, the only time we haven't trusted the feeling was when we put Molly into the local before and after school club when she was at St. Chad's. It wasn't run by St. Chad's and we were never completely convinced but put her in more out of necessity than choice. We gradually changed hours at work to enable us to get rid of the necessity completely. But it did prove to us that we should always trust the feeling.

So St Mary & St. Joseph's in Pocklington it was.
It's got 108 pupils across 4 classes. Class 1 is reception, class 2 is combined year 1 & 2, class 3 is Molly's class with year 3 & 4, class 4 is combined year 5 & 6.
It's got great facilities, a good staff, very nice, energetic headmistress, lots of after school clubs and very importantly a strictly competitive sports policy and lots of sporting events going on.
Molly's very, very excited about it.

And so are we.
We'll be very local to the school, within easy walking distance as well, at least until I have to bow to the inevitable and get a job. But until then I'm looking forward to plowing through the rain and the snow to get her to the school gates for 9o'clock every morning.

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