- I was genetically squashed by my wife in our children’s features and appearance;
- Having been born in London, the kids are Southern. Unlikely to support Huddersfield Town and, worse still, I caught my daughter pronouncing it “grarse” recently;
- I didn’t know what pesto was until I was about 25 – it’s currently my 1yr-old son’s favourite food
… until I realised that (see Learned Wisdoms #21 below) I don’t actually want my children to be the same as me. I want them to be better*. And school choice is probably the biggest life-shaping lever we have for the kids outside our direct relationship and interactions with them.
In theory at least, they should have more career and lifestyle choices if they get a better education.
As is the case in most of London, the schools we’re in catchment for are a real mixed-bag with staggering competition for the decent ones (which is what led us to start thinking about private in the first place). Plus, private schools generally have better sports and extra-curricular facilities/programmes (something that was a significant frustration for me growing up at state school).
- Having siblings already at the school (which apparently only leaves another 4-5 spaces each year): Unless we attempt some sort of hostile adoption, we’ve got no shot on this one.
- Being regular-attending and active members of the church congregation: We do our bit, but I have never seen such a busy and busting congregation… suspiciously skewed towards young middle-class parents
- Proximity of your address to the school: We don’t live ultra-near. (And I can confirm that bribing crows to fly by more favourable routes is impossible)
Funny piece about trying to get your children into the best local school in this episode of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (from 04:20)
If you’re not a natural negotiator (for example, maybe you once found a massive disgusting hair in a chapatti and, after talking to the restaurant management, agreed the position of getting zero pounds taken off the bill and actually paying more for an additional chapatti to replace the hairy one), then it might be worth getting some tips in advance.
* Though I’d settle for them being happy and living the lives that they want. (I suppose)
** Another sweeping generalisation, which my ex-private-school-going mate Matt picked me up on last night at football (having annoyingly defied my lazy stereotypes already by being much better than me at that)