We have got a place at one of our preferred schools, so she starts there next week and we are so, so happy about it
Our experience at HV still left us with concerns, which was why we took the decision to move DD.
In HV's favour, the new reception teachers appear to be very nice - kind and caring. Hopefully they will do great things this year! My daughter liked her teacher, and liked the school, too, but it just wasn't for us.
As I said before, we really could have done with a settling in period before the summer holidays, which would have given us & our daughter a chance to iron out any little problems before starting properly in September. We felt like we had gone in totally blind, and knowing how much effort other schools in the area had put into making sure children and parents alike had the opportunity to meet their teachers, ask questions, get used to their environment, meet their classmates, etc, it seems a bit bewildering that we did not get this opportunity. Even more so now that we are set to experience the process in fast forward next week because the new school appears to be trying to make the change as gentle as possible for our daughter.
The communication at HV was frustrating - messages weren't passed on, and things that I would have expected to be told about didn't get relayed back. For example, we mistakenly put a carton of juice in our daughter's lunch bag because we didn't know it wasn't allowed and I would have expected to have had a note in her lunchbox or a quick message from the TA/teacher to let us know she wasn't allowed it but we didn't have anything. Thankfully DD remembered to tell me the next morning or I would have done the same again!
Despite the "No dogs" sign at the gate, I saw parents with Staffies bizarrely wrapped in blankets and carried as though they were babies in the playground, and DD claims that in the space of 3 days she was deliberately hit by a boy twice.
The real problem for us, though, was that we never felt entirely welcome at the school, which would have made it difficult to work together with the school to support our daughter in her learning. To be honest, it almost felt as though it was an alien concept to the school that a parent would WANT to be involved, which was quite saddening. Even before we were offered a place at the other the school, the contrast in attitude between HV and our new school was considerable. We have been made to feel so welcome at the new school, and I can't praise the staff enough for their helpfulness and understanding.
I really, really hope things do improve at HV, because this area does need a really good school. By all accounts, the teaching is good, as are the results, but for the school to be let down by something as simple as a smile and a hello, or passing on messages, is quite ridiculous. I don't think we were ever going to feel comfortable with the school after the shouting incident, but feeling welcome and included would have helped.
I hope some of this can be seen as constructive criticism, and that HV seize upon some of the points and look for ways to improve in certain areas. My intention is not to put the whole place down, there are positives there, but there is still work to be done, too, and I wish them luck in that.