Being back at work full-time, whilst having drawbacks, does give a certain amount of financial freedom. Enough freedom for us to consider pulling YD out of the state school system and having her privately educated. We have given serious thought to home schooling but public school fees are far less than the financial loss we would suffer with me giving up work to teach her at home. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but since moving back to
Essex we have been shocked by the poor standard of education in the local primary schools and watched her lack of progress with horror.
We have spoken to her current school on numerous occasions about our concerns, yet despite their assuring us that they were improving differentiation and re-writing/adjusting the curriculum to meet her needs, we have yet to see any real change put in place. The disparity between the schools is such that she is, in fact, losing some of the learning she had done in previous years – just because she hasn't used it – which is completely unacceptable.
We recently received a letter from the school informing us that YD is 'gifted and talented' in all areas (like we didn't already know that) but all they offer in support of this achievement is a one-off 'workshop' for each subject later in the year. Her last school had regular sessions for the G&T children to encourage and nurture their strengths. There's no comparison really. We had no idea that the standard of education between 'comparable' schools could be so different – according to Ofsted, they're both 'outstanding' schools. Maybe Ofsted need to make sure that their 'standards' are actually standard?
Apart from that, she sticks out like a sore thumb in her current setting anyway... unlike most of her contemporaries she is polite, well behaved, well spoken, neatly dressed and articulate. She is bright, diligent, conscientious and takes enormous pride in her achievements. She is upset by people swearing and teachers shouting, she uses cutlery at the dinner table and sits up straight instead of slouching. She is bubbly and confident and constantly erupting with questions and ideas.
We spoke to YD last week about whether she was happy at school and she said yes… however when offered an alternative she jumped at it… surely not a sign of a truly happy child.
So, yesterday afternoon we took YD to view the first independent school on our list. The fees are within the range we expected and the uniform is quite cute. The boys wear caps and the girls wear little felt hats in the winter and straw boaters in the summer. Parking might be an issue, but YD will catch the school bus in the morning so it'll only be afternoons I need to worry about.
We really liked it. The school building is quaint but the facilities are excellent. YD however isn't sure. She says the school wasn't what she was expecting, although she can't actually define what she was expecting. An hour looking around wasn't long enough to give her an impression of what being there full-time would be like, so we have decided to ask for a 'taster day' so that she gets a real feel for the place before committing.
It's so important to get it right this time, for her sake.