Decision making for secondary school

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Dear Marcie

My former partner and I are visiting potential secondary schools with our daughter who is in year 6.  We cannot agree on the best one for her or whether she should have the ‘casting vote’.  We need to decide in a few weeks and I want to try to agree it nicely.  How can I best navigate this conversation?

Charlotte, Beaconsfield

Dear Charlotte

Possibly the quickest way through this conundrum would be to depersonalise it.

If the three of you can come up with a checklist of criteria that the schools must have in order for your daughter to thrive, then you can objectively go and visit the school and tick off your checklist. I wouldn’t just think about practical things however like sports fields and science labs, I’d invite you to have things like pastoral care on the list, distance from home, how she will get to school.  One thing I know from my own experience of choosing secondary schools is that ultimately, she will learn and be taught, but the environment needs to be right in order for her to feel happy and thrive.

You can also use a scoring system if that’s helpful so you can both objectively see which one is in the front runner. Best of luck, it’s a big transition and having a joined-up approach will really help your daughter feel safe and stable.

Be mindful that if you're not able to agree what's best for your daughter, you may need to consult a family solicitor who would then make a court application for the court to decide. When you look at it like that, do you really want a stranger (Judge) deciding what's best for your daughter? Thinking and understanding the long-term implications of not being able to reach a decision can be helpful for all sides if you're having to compromise.

Take care


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