Which school? You can’t have your cake and eat it!

The advice I give to friends who are struggling to choose between schools for their kids is:

you can’t have your cake AND eat it too!

There are so many good schools to choose from, but parents can still find themselves paralyzed, unable to make a choice.

A friend of mine was recently in this position. He had narrowed it down to three before being unable to decide. It wasn’t because any of them wouldn’t be good for their children. They were all (to my mind) good choices. The problem was that choosing one school meant they might miss out on the other two (#FOMO).

It turns out that choosing the right school had turned into a dance with regret.

Here’s the thing, you will not find a curriculum that’s perfect for every child AND meets the academic requirements for every possible university AND prepares young people for every possible career.  

Likewise, schools can’t operate at low cost where they only have the very best teachers AND offer best-in-class facilities.  Nor can schools have the world’s highest exam averages AND be highly inclusive.  

Nor can schools have an unapologetic holistic programme AND then have parents wish to opt out of aspects of the curriculum that they might not value.

My friend was focused on the daunting prospect of losing an AND.  

We probably all do this.  We get nervy about decisions we are asked to make, particularly when it’s our children we are thinking about and we feel the stakes are high. We start to obsess over the pros and cons, become fearful and start to seek the opinion of others.  This sometimes involves trusted experts, but more often than not, we seem content to defer to an unfiltered mob on some social media platform.

Instead of asking what is best for our child? we become preoccupied with what others might say on the parent WhatsApp group.

We want all the ANDs. But each additional AND becomes a constraint that we will then obsess over.

The truth is that picking a school means that you have to make an OR choice.  

And when you finally make that choice, you have to accept that you can’t have that damn cake and eat it too.

Life gets easier when we learn to live with that.

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