I promised myself I wouldn’t get wound up about this as there is nothing I can do about it. However, when I was filling out my daughter’s application for pre-school I found myself getting angry that when the time comes she will not go to the school closest to our house. We have two schools which are near our house. One is a 5 minute walk and the other is a 45 minute walk. On paper they are both very good but the one closer, in my opinion, is better for Madame and the latter would require driving to school everyday as I don’t have 3 hours to give up a day to walk back and forth. Plus, we will lose our childminder which she has been going to since she was 4 months old. I blame the arbitrary Sibling Rule!
We live in an area with smaller houses (2-3 bedroom) terraced housing. People tend to buy them as childless couples, have a child, and get them into the school and then high-tail it across town to the bigger houses. There is one woman at my school of choice who has 5 children in the school and lives clear across town. One of our old neighbours has 3 children in the school but she moved two years ago but still has the gull to park on our road. It takes me all my power not to nut her! I wish I had statistics on this but I can tell you there is a lot if you saw the number of vehicles that converge on the school in the morning.
I’m confident that this isn’t unique to our area. It’s happened to so many of my friends as well and you see loads of stories similar in the local paper every year. One of my friends lives at A, there is a school at B but in fact she has to travel to C every morning. There were 29 siblings that year, which meant they only had space for a couple of children. In addition, her resident parking permit has increased by 16% this year for the 2nd car. The Department of Transport really needs to speak to the Department of Education as the only reason she has a second car is to take her child to school.
The sibling rule has always been a sore spot with me even when I was a teacher myself. I strongly believe that if you move out of the area you should move your children to the closest school as there are so many benefits from children going to school locally:
- Childhood Obesity: kids could walk to school, this is a no brainer
- Sense of Community
- Neighbourhood Watch: If you know your neighbours you’re more likely to look out for them.
- Traffic Congestion: if you’ve ever tried to get across town during drop off or pick up time you’d know what I was on about.
- Pollution: less car journeys mean less air pollution
- Road Safety: less absent minded mums ploughing their way through town in 4X4s and a reduction in dodgy parking outside of schools where kids can dart out!
- Childcare: bit of a selfish one but wouldn’t it be great to know neighbours with teenagers
- House-sitting: we all need someone to feed the animal menagerie when we go away.
The only time I’d bend the rules is if you had a child who had started Year 6. I’m not suggesting that children go to different schools but if your child has started year 6, they and the rest of the siblings should be allowed to finish the year and then move. This is something parents should consider when they decide to upsticks! But, if they throw the SATS out then this would no longer be an issue.
Bottom line, it’s very unfair that we will be unable to attend our local school unless there is some type of divine intervention. I wonder why they call them local schools anymore?????