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25-02-2021, 13:13   #1
SmithsFan
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Can't Agree on a School

Hi,

Just looking for views or thoughts on this.
There's skin & hair flying in the house over the choice of schools for our soon to be 5 year old. It's either an ETNS or a traditional Catholic School. Both are 2 minutes walk from the house & relatively new.

I'm advocating ETNS because of the ethos, what I think is a broader approach to things like religion, diversity etc. Some people describe this as "airy fairy".

My wife wants the Catholic School due to:
1. The uniform
2. Communion & confirmation
3. Our son "knows" one kid already attending (he's met him maybe 5 times!)
I've argued
1. The uniform still needs to be bought, washed, repaired & replaced. Largely due to Covid getting our son dressed can be a challenge at the best of times. If he doesn't like the uniform, that could be even more challenging. I said we could buy plain inexpensive clothes that would serve as a uniform of sorts for the ETNS (tracksuits etc)
2. They can obviously still make communion & confirmation, it just needs a little more work and commitment.
3. There's 2 classes so he may not even be in the same class. Even then, they may not become friends.
Starting school is about making new friends as well.
There is also a local kid starting in the Catholic School who's older brother is already there, maybe 2 classes ahead. For whatever reason our son just won't go out and play with them anymore Let's call them Cheech & Chong. I don't know what's happened but he refuses to go out with the other 5 or something kids on the road because of these 2 lads. It might be nothing. But my fear is he'll be seeing Cheech & Chong every day, maybe not in class but definitely in the playground. And if whatever issue he has isn't resolved, he'll have the 2 of them to contend with, one of them being the older brother.
This may be nothing. But we are sending him to an environment where there is already a potential problem. I know personality clashes can happen anywhere at any time in a child's life. But this is one we're already conscious of.

Are my fears and reservations about the Catholic School & the scenario unreasonable?
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25-02-2021, 23:40   #2
strawberrie
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At the end of the day you have two excellent schools, both of whom will teach the same English, Irish Maths etc. The difference will be in ethos and religion.

I wouldn't base my choice of school on uniform, or sacraments, one is just clothes, the other as you said you can still access.

I also wouldn't base it on who he plays with at 5 yrs old. He could easily meet other children in either school that he has issues with. He will still live on the same street. That needs to be addressed regardless of which school you pick. For all you know going to the same school could even help there. Tease out what happened or was said with your son and help him to build the resilience to face it and overcome it. That will stand to him in life.

Go walk around each school, check out their websites, ring and see what kind of welcome you get on the phone when you inquire. How will your son fit in this school and how will it shape and support him?

There are no crystal balls or wrong decisions, chances are both schools will do a great job!

At the end of the day home is always the biggest influence on a child's life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithsFan View Post
Hi,

Just looking for views or thoughts on this.
There's skin & hair flying in the house over the choice of schools for our soon to be 5 year old. It's either an ETNS or a traditional Catholic School. Both are 2 minutes walk from the house & relatively new.

I'm advocating ETNS because of the ethos, what I think is a broader approach to things like religion, diversity etc. Some people describe this as "airy fairy".

My wife wants the Catholic School due to:
1. The uniform
2. Communion & confirmation
3. Our son "knows" one kid already attending (he's met him maybe 5 times!)
I've argued
1. The uniform still needs to be bought, washed, repaired & replaced. Largely due to Covid getting our son dressed can be a challenge at the best of times. If he doesn't like the uniform, that could be even more challenging. I said we could buy plain inexpensive clothes that would serve as a uniform of sorts for the ETNS (tracksuits etc)
2. They can obviously still make communion & confirmation, it just needs a little more work and commitment.
3. There's 2 classes so he may not even be in the same class. Even then, they may not become friends.
Starting school is about making new friends as well.
There is also a local kid starting in the Catholic School who's older brother is already there, maybe 2 classes ahead. For whatever reason our son just won't go out and play with them anymore Let's call them Cheech & Chong. I don't know what's happened but he refuses to go out with the other 5 or something kids on the road because of these 2 lads. It might be nothing. But my fear is he'll be seeing Cheech & Chong every day, maybe not in class but definitely in the playground. And if whatever issue he has isn't resolved, he'll have the 2 of them to contend with, one of them being the older brother.
This may be nothing. But we are sending him to an environment where there is already a potential problem. I know personality clashes can happen anywhere at any time in a child's life. But this is one we're already conscious of.

Are my fears and reservations about the Catholic School & the scenario unreasonable?
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26-02-2021, 08:03   #3
joe40
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If you are going to do the communion and confirmation then I would probably just go with the catholic school if other factors are similar.

They are still big occasions in a child's life so it is nice to share with classmates.
(Even for kids that aren't particularly religious or from religious families)
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27-02-2021, 15:25   #4
byhookorbycrook
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I wouldn’t evaluate any school on the fact the child can make sacraments more easily . Nor would I on the basis of wearing / not wearing a uniform.


A 5 year old chops and changes friends all of the time, they will tell you X is their best friend at “ small break” and by lunchtime it’s suddenly Y . And in a way , they are better off starting without being tied to one particular child as they will mix better with the entire class .

I’d consider things like what secondary school the primary feeds into ( yes, really )
Does the school have after school care? What about provision for children with additional needs ? The principal is probably the greatest influence on a school’s day to day “ culture .” They will, of course , “ sell “ their school , but try to see past the PR - are they genuinely interested in your individual child as a child or as another enrolment?


For some people , the school’s involvement in extra curricular sports/music/drama etc. is important.Do you know any parents whose children attend the schools -whilst their view will be subjective relative to their own child , you will get some idea of a parent’s view of the school .

Don’t be swayed by pictures of iPads etc. Any resource , from a playground to an Aistear room is only as good as the use made of them.
People sometimes think an entirely young staff is fantastic , but I would prefer a mix of age / experience .
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27-02-2021, 15:42   #5
Kathnora
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I agree with byhookorbycrook,s points above.
The ethos of a school is most important and more important than a stash of fancy ipads or expensive playground equipment. How the school cares for the child and in particular a child with additional needs should be to the fore. And what about discipline? Are the children given a long rope to play with or are they kept in line? There's not much learning taking place in a classroom where the children have too much freedom. Also, while it's important that the child makes friends and is happy at school the primary function of going to school is to be educated.
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27-02-2021, 17:18   #6
jlm29
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Look at the opening hours too, and consider these carefully if you both work. I can drop my kids at 8.45 and go to work, while my nephew is in a school where they only open the gates at ten past nine, so his parents either have to drop him to someone else to take him to school or be late for work.
I would disagree a small bit with people who say not to consider the uniform- if everything else is equal, and you’re happy with both schools for all the other (more important) reasons, then I would take it into account. I have a child who is particular about what he wears, and it does make life a lot easier when there’s no rows about school clothes in the morning
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27-02-2021, 19:05   #7
Millem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithsFan View Post
Hi,

Just looking for views or thoughts on this.
There's skin & hair flying in the house over the choice of schools for our soon to be 5 year old. It's either an ETNS or a traditional Catholic School. Both are 2 minutes walk from the house & relatively new.

I'm advocating ETNS because of the ethos, what I think is a broader approach to things like religion, diversity etc. Some people describe this as "airy fairy".

My wife wants the Catholic School due to:
1. The uniform
2. Communion & confirmation
3. Our son "knows" one kid already attending (he's met him maybe 5 times!)
I've argued
1. The uniform still needs to be bought, washed, repaired & replaced. Largely due to Covid getting our son dressed can be a challenge at the best of times. If he doesn't like the uniform, that could be even more challenging. I said we could buy plain inexpensive clothes that would serve as a uniform of sorts for the ETNS (tracksuits etc)
2. They can obviously still make communion & confirmation, it just needs a little more work and commitment.
3. There's 2 classes so he may not even be in the same class. Even then, they may not become friends.
Starting school is about making new friends as well.
There is also a local kid starting in the Catholic School who's older brother is already there, maybe 2 classes ahead. For whatever reason our son just won't go out and play with them anymore Let's call them Cheech & Chong. I don't know what's happened but he refuses to go out with the other 5 or something kids on the road because of these 2 lads. It might be nothing. But my fear is he'll be seeing Cheech & Chong every day, maybe not in class but definitely in the playground. And if whatever issue he has isn't resolved, he'll have the 2 of them to contend with, one of them being the older brother.
This may be nothing. But we are sending him to an environment where there is already a potential problem. I know personality clashes can happen anywhere at any time in a child's life. But this is one we're already conscious of.

Are my fears and reservations about the Catholic School & the scenario unreasonable?
Gosh I wouldn’t even give any of the friends’ situations above a thought (good or bad).

Each to their own on Catholic v ET.
Are either schools feeder schools for secondary? I know enrolment policies change...but still something to think about.
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27-02-2021, 19:20   #8
Kathnora
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlm29 View Post
Look at the opening hours too, and consider these carefully if you both work. I can drop my kids at 8.45 and go to work, while my nephew is in a school where they only open the gates at ten past nine, so his parents either have to drop him to someone else to take him to school or be late for work.
I would disagree a small bit with people who say not to consider the uniform- if everything else is equal, and you’re happy with both schools for all the other (more important) reasons, then I would take it into account. I have a child who is particular about what he wears, and it does make life a lot easier when there’s no rows about school clothes in the morning
I would consider uniform an important issue too. It's so much cheaper on parents and if it's girls you have there may be a bit of a fashion competition going on in the senior classes (don't mean to be sexist but ...) Uniform is the great equaliser. Everyone looks the same and children can avoid being bullied about what they are wearing at school.I always think uniforms look better too when children are representing their school at quiz competitions or choir performances and the like. There's great school pride in a uniform.
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28-02-2021, 19:32   #9
byhookorbycrook
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlm29 View Post
Look at the opening hours too, and consider these carefully if you both work. I can drop my kids at 8.45 and go to work, while my nephew is in a school where they only open the gates at ten past nine, so his parents either have to drop him to someone else to take him to school or be late for work.
I would disagree a small bit with people who say not to consider the uniform- if everything else is equal, and you’re happy with both schools for all the other (more important) reasons, then I would take it into account. I have a child who is particular about what he wears, and it does make life a lot easier when there’s no rows about school clothes in the morning
Since Covid, the drop off times may have changed, so that needs to be factored in.
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02-03-2021, 15:29   #10
shesty
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Oh, the uniform is a godsend. (I have a Senior Infant). Up front once-off payment, put it on and they can destroy it as much as they like, job done. Even better if it is mainly plain and the bulk of it can be bought in Dunnes/Tesco/M&S or similar. No worrying about needing more clothes all the time for them, or not letting them wear "good" clothes in, or the wanting the same clothes as some other child. Also when he realises that everyone wears the uniform, there is very little fight - they just want to be like everybody else. And as they get bigger not having to kit him out with brand name stuff for daily wear to school - yes please, give me the uniform any day.



As regards the other children, I know in our school - and possibly many others? - that the kids are separated at yard time (or they were up til Covid). Senior and Junior infants were not allowed to play with each other or the older classes, and the older classes at the top end of the school were in another yard also. Now none of the classes play together, they each have their own yard slot and yard space. So he will literally only be seeing his own class and nobody else (and honestly I would not expect that to change come September).


Outside of that it is very much the ethos of the school and to a lesser extent pick up and drop off times too. Discipline, the general feeling of the school and anything you know about them around how the school is managed - are there good bullying policies and similar. As regards sacraments, I would not get too worked up about that in the decision making either. No matter which school he is in, you will probably find he just wants to do what all the others do in that regard.
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23-03-2021, 11:58   #11
The One Doctor
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I was adamant about my daughter going to an ETNS. Nothing would change my mind until one day I went into the Catholic school to take a look and chat to the principal (pre-covid).

Never looked back after that, and my daughter loves the school.

Frankly I'd go to each one and have a look (if possible), talk to the principals by phone, get recommendations. We had loads on recommendations for the Catholic school and none for the ETNS. Make of that what you will.
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23-03-2021, 12:14   #12
Piollaire
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It depends on what basis your marriage was established - did you have a Catholic wedding? Was the child baptised as Catholic? She has a right to expect to give the children a Catholic schooling as a result. What are you going to do about it if she digs her heels in - bring her to court? How do you think a judge would rule.
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10-04-2021, 10:13   #13
Doggos
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I would consider class sizes, resources, and get feedback from people you know who's kids are in/have been in both those schools.

The school my kid is in is a lovely little rural school, but it's under resourced, the play yard is very small and mainly seems to feature broken equipment, and the principal is hard work which sort of taints things on a wider scale.

Though my husband and I were both raised in the church we are not practicing and in fact lean towards atheism. We would have jumped at a ETNS, but that's not the case for you. If you want to rear your child as Catholic and the school has great feedback and all else equal, I would probably give the catholic school greater weight. I wouldn't pay much attention to the uniform. Schools will have 1-2 PE days for tracksuits anyway.

I also wouldn't worry about the 2 lads either. Kids are supervised and sort of 'get in where they fit in' anyway. They can change friends often enough. And if there's some adversity there it will help your child in learning how to work through that which is all part of life!

Best of luck
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13-04-2021, 19:35   #14
byhookorbycrook
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Resources are more than a playground or other physical items. Support for children with additional needs (be they academically exceptionally able or children with dyslexia) should be high on any list, but the biggest resource of all is the staff.You can have all the i-Pads and astro-turfs you like, but unless the staff is very good, they are meaningless. A child with a supportive home will generally do well wherever they go, but a good teacher is priceless.
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