So, that time has arrived. The twins will be starting school in September next year, so it is now time to start applying for schools! The process starts in November, but before we send in our application we want to have seen the two primary schools that fall under our catchment area: Castle Hill Infants and Castle Hill Primary (Rooksdown Campus).
Yes, they are both called the same which has led us to a couple of misunderstandings, but now that I know how it all works, it’s easier to differentiate them.
Castle Hill Infants:
This school has got an Ofsted grade of Excellent however, I have heard a couple of mixed reviews about it. We are booked to go and see it in early November, nevertheless, a quick look at its website makes it clear that it will be a great school for the twins if they go to this one. Unfortunately, it is some distance away from Rooksdown, in Winklebury, and walking to it could be done – I suppose – but it would be a painful walk (knowing the twins, they are not the fastest walkers).
The downside of this school is that it is only an Infants school, meaning that they would go there from 4 years old to 7 years old, and then we would need to reapply for them to move to a Juniors school. Not the end of the world, but if the process can be eliminated, much better.
Castle Hill Primary – Rooksdown Campus:
Let me explain a bit about this one. Castle Hill Primary in Winklebury (Greenbank campus) is a Juniors school, meaning that children attend from 7 years old to 10 years old (Years 3 to 6). A new school was built last year in Rooksdown (where we live) and it is managed by Castle Hill Primary. Both schools have the same headmaster, ethos, policies, uniforms, etc. The only difference is that Rooksdown is a proper Primary school, starting with Year R and will eventually grow to end with Year 6.
We visited the Parents Open Day of both Greenbank and Rooksdown campuses earlier this week. For some reason, I was not aware that the Greenbank campus didn’t start with Reception Year, so I booked to go and see it too. When we were there we realised the mistake, however, it was a great experience to get to see it anyway. I was very impressed with it! If the twins ended up going to Castle Hill Infants, then the natural progression would be for them to go to the Juniors in Greenbank (although I suppose we could try for them to go into Rooksdown…)
We also saw the Rooksdown school, where at the moment there are only two Reception classes and one Year 1 class. Each year the school will naturally grow until there are two forms up to Year 6.
I was very impressed with Rooksdown. The fact that has been built recently and everything is so new is a very nice added bonus (I attended run down schools in Spain -especially my first secondary school- and I know how important it is to the overall happiness of a student that the facilities are up to scratch). But not only that: the outside provision is fantastic, with lots of space for the kids to run around too!
I really liked the Headmaster and his ethos. They reward success and are very strict regarding behaviour. From my point of view, children need boundaries and these boundaries are best set in school (with parent help, obviously). There is no point being strict at home if the school where they spend so much time in their early years does not follow through.
It was a great relief to learn that they do not have a policy to separate twins as I had previously been told by someone who I thought could be trusted! Such a relief! It’s not that I was completely opposed to the idea. To be honest, I just didn’t know how to feel about it! I know of some parents of twins who have chosen to separate their twins and are very happy with their decision. But I just couldn’t bring myself to make that decision.
Yes, it is true that Eric and Elisa rely a bit too much on each other and at nursery they play together most of the time. But unless they were completely segregating themselves, which they are not, why would I want to separate them? I do want them to be best friends and get along. We will have many years of them not talking to each other when they are teens… why bring up this process so soon?
So, yeah… More updates soon once we’ve seen the Infants school and when we are in the process of filling in the form!