Sunday, April 29, 2012

Not before time!

When I got divorced the last thing the kids needed in the upheaval was to be made to change school too. Initial plans for me to buy my ex out of our house fell through... and the housing market hadn't hit the fan yet so I didn't manage to buy a new place in the same catchment area. We are literally two minutes across the catchment boundary. So when it came time for them to start moving onto high school, both Marcel and Lots unsurprisingly opted to stay with their friends of seven years and move on to the high school they should have been going to, had I never moved out.

I have to say however that the way the council deals with placing requests is fairly stressful for for the children in question. For some reason, the child's application goes in to the council on Dec 1 of the preceding year. The child is handed a form to take home to their parent stating 'I wish to accept the place on offer at my catchment high school or I want to make a placing request'. Charlotte, of course, saw she had a place at a school that not a single one of her (approx 100) classmates was going to and looked vaguely panicked. Over the course of the next five months, on numerous occasions leaflets and handouts were brought into the p7 class sent by the council and handed out to everyone except the three or four kids who were in the same situation as Lots - parents had divorced and moved just across the boundary. Each time the leaflets came round Lots claimed not to be upset, though one of the other girls spent the best part of the last five months bursting into tears every time they were handed out. Five months is a very long time for an 11 or 12 year old already dealing with puberty and the rest. The very kids who had already been through the upheaval of their families splitting were put through five months of stress.

When the letter accepting to grant her a place in the high school attached to the feeder primary she'd been in since five finally dropped through our letterbox on Saturday morning, Charlotte had already been through asking me appeal procedures and the rest. I just think there must be a better and more sensitive way of dealing with this type of request. At the very least, keeping the kids themselves out of the loop would help. If Lots isn't getting her handouts till next week, frankly there was no need to hand out the leaflets in front of these kids as much as two months ago.

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