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For years, I’ve had Rightmove Daily Emails about properties for sale or for rent in our area that meet certain criteria. To start with, it was out of sheer curiosity (what could you buy for a certain price near here?) but more recently, I’m taking more of an interest in seeing what kind of properties I’d like us to be considering next. Our current home is just getting too small, and we need to think bigger. The thing is, unlike our pre-children days when I felt like there was far less to consider, the biggest concern to me now – is what catchment area does a house fall into? I can’t believe that he’s only two, and I’m already starting to think seriously about primary school choices.

Drawing with Chalk on a massive chalkboard at 360 Play Redditch

It’s not far away…

Although I keep trying to remember that a school choice isn’t everything, I can’t help but disagree with myself a lot of the time. It’s less than two and a half years before he’ll be starting school, and once he’s there, it’s where he’ll spend the majority of his week. The teachers he learns from and the other students he plays with are going to be hugely influential. I absolutely loved my time at school (both primary and secondary), and I want him to be the same. I want him to be inspired and nurtured. I want him to make lovely friends that come over for tea and birthday parties. I want him to learn all those important lessons that happen outside of the classroom as well as in. I want him to remember exciting school trips, take part in extra-curricular activities, and maybe even a school football tour* one day!

Kids learning at school stock image

I hear and read so much about young children becoming stressed about the pressure they’re under at school. There are so many standardised tests and examined hoops they have to jump through, that I’d like to find a school that doesn’t place too much importance on grades (which I know may be wishful thinking). I want school to be a place where curiosity is encouraged and where learning is exciting; a place that ignites a fire for learning, not somewhere that drums out little fact reciting robots, dragging their feet through those double doors because it’s just not very fun. We’ve probably all seen those letters from headteachers that do the rounds occasionally on social media – you know the ones, where they buck the trend and advise parents to let their children play outside and have fun rather than get wound up about upcoming SATS or numeracy homework (is it even still called Numeracy these days?). That’s the kind of school I want Pickle to go to.

How do I go about choosing?

The thing is – I’ve never done this before. I’ve never had to choose a school and knowing what to look for is somewhat daunting. I don’t just want to pick whichever school in our area has the best Ofsted rating as I know enough about the Education system to know the Government probably doesn’t care about the same things that I do. I’ve started having a read of the BBC Schools website for Parents (it’s archived, so no longer updated but hopefully the information is still relevant) and I know my lovely blogging colleagues with older children will have some fantastic insights to offer too. I have some friends and family who are or have been Primary school teachers and I’ll definitely be asking their advice too. In fact, there’s an interesting article on the Guardian website written from the perspective of a teacher which offers a new perspective on what things to look out for on a school visit.

A Pile of children's books ready for learning and school

What’s the next step?

It still feels a bit early to be thinking about these things, but the time to equip myself with better knowledge is fast approaching. As I continue to pick out houses I like the look of, the School Checker section of Rightmove continues to be something I feel a bit clueless about. Before we start to get the ball rolling on any future house moves, I need to really familiarise myself with the current school ‘climate’ in Redditch. I’ll be keeping a closer eye on our local newspapers and chatting to as many local parents as possible.

Looking towards the future at school choices - Mommy and Pickle at Peppa Pig World

Do you have any advice?

If you’ve already been through this process, I’d love to know what was important to you when it came to Primary School choices? Did you move house to have a better chance of getting a place at the school you wanted? How much did catchment areas play a part in your decision of where to live? Has your child’s school been what you expected? I’m a sponge for advice and information right now, so please leave a comment or drop me a line on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post.