I wish it wasn’t happening

There are big changes coming in the Household this week as the eldest gears up to switch schools.

The current school has been a source of deep unhappiness for more than a year and push finally came to shove.

I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but it’s very hard to score an enrolment if you’re out of area in my part of Sydney. Every school we called turned us down flat.

One good thing about being a separated couple is that you have two addresses ,,, so we ponied up my ex’s place as collateral for his local school.

It wasn’t an ideal outcome – that would have been to stay at the school that’s close to my place and the eldest’s friends and gets awesome results in the HSC.

Instead it will be a 45-minute-plus commute on two buses, hundreds of total strangers and OK results in the HSC.

But, when faced with an increasingly unhappy kid who got the school counsellor to organise a parent meeting so we’d sort something out, we finally conceded defeat.

Geez it’s been a palaver though. Paperwork at the old school, paperwork at the new school. We still have to sign a stat dec because my ex likes to tell the whole truth – generally – so we have to swear in front of a JP that the eldest lives at Dad’s place half the time.

I’d have just said “We’ve moved into the area, here’s proof of our address” and been done with it.

Yesterday we trekked over en masse to attend a meeting with the deputy principal, who seemed very nice.  My ex and I were a little freaked out by the schoolyard. It was chaotic and noisy and intense. The current high school is low-key and polite and ordered because it’s single sex. Co-ed is a whole new, crazy ballgame.

I hope the excited eldest copes OK with the change.

And then there’s the tricky situation with uniforms. The current one at the new school is being phased out at the end of term one. Riiiight. It looks nothing like the new uniform. Totally different colour.

Fortunately there will be a two-year change-over period where kids won’t be penalised for having old stuff.

Also fortunate is the fact it’s the ex’s weekend with the kids, so he’s the one who has to head to the uniform shop in Woop Woop to get all the new stuff for first day on Monday.

And pity about the camera the eldest got for Christmas for Photography. Photography class is full at the new school. Instead it will be Philosopy and Multi-Media. Decisions were made on the spot, which isn’t ideal, but I’m sure I saw something about goblins in the Philosophy rundown. Weird and cool.

Oh and another thing I’ve realised on the unfortunate side is that I will need to start volunteering at two schools again after just a few short weeks of enjoying the thrill over only having to volunteer at one … with the second school half an hour away if the traffic is light. That will go for presentation days and band performances too.

Happy days.

Well, I hope they are for the eldest, even if they’re not for me.

Actually, I’m terrified … and I’m not the one who needs to walk into a new schoolyard in a few days time.

Song of the day: Pink Floyd “Another Brick In The Wall”


10 thoughts on “I wish it wasn’t happening

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  1. Hi Alana,
    As the Year 6 to Year 7 Transition Coordinator at my current school, there is a massive change to how schools accept kids and they are pretty much told that if you are outside the school boundary you need almost ministerial approval to go to your school of choice. Boundaries have always been around just not enforced and some schools took the option to pick & choose. Good luck to your eldest – my Alana started High School this year at my school – fun and games.

  2. If your kid is bitterly unhappy, then results at the old school for the HSC were only going to be so-so at best. The mark of a good school is not high HSC or NAPLAN marks (I HATE Naplan), it’s how they teach their students, how they lift them, how their school community works, how they help students improve their learning. And if a child is happy, then school is going to go better for them, and so will their marks. Plus… the HSC is largely irrelevant. It’s a lot of stress for little return. Even getting into uni, there are other ways than the HSC, other ways to get an ATAR or to go in later after being in the world for a bit. And we survived co-ed, so don’t worry about that side of things.

  3. Good luck, Alana, that’s a tough move. Wishing you all lots of happy. A good friend of mine has a saying: ‘You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.’ So true in our house, with one emotionally volatile child. If she’s OK we’re all happy. Also, I have been delighted and a little surprised at the many upsides of a co-ed school for my three so far. Noisy, yes, but good too. Jx

  4. I agree with above comment, if you’re doing it for a particular reason (and an unhappy child is an excellent reason) then it’s just a matter of soldiering on through the change. We had a change of child care for the 8yo in the first week of term which was unplanned and not ideal, also resulted in a bit further travel time and the daily routine changed quite a bit. Combined with the 11yo starting high school this year and having to organise after school activities because the local after school care doesn’t take high school kids, it was a nightmare but a friend of mine said that the new routine and will soon become normal and a bit of extra travel time is better in the long run if the outcome is better overall for the kids. We are now 2 weeks into our changes and although our mornings are a hustle and our afternoons are slightly longer, we make it work. The 8yo has made some new friends and seems to be OK on the whole. They tell me it will build resilient kids. Here’s hoping! All the best.

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