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Pressure to choose right school can be overwhelming for parents

Marie Louise is nervous about choosing a primary school for Abbie as the open day and open night season at schools gets under way
Marie Louise McConville

My nerves are wrecked.

Somehow, the past four years have passed by in the blink of an eye and now, here I am, about to start the search for a primary school for Abbie.

It may almost be Christmas but turns out, it is also the season for open days and nights and really, I'm freaking out.

Somehow, this next step in the adventure of parenting has sneaked up on us and I feel out of my depth.

This week, we experienced our first primary school open day for Abbie, and I just felt like lying down crying.

Honestly, you would have thought it was my first day at school, given how fast my heart was beating as we walked through the doors.

While part of me was trying to take everything in and ask the right questions, the other part of me was just trying to remain conscious and not throw up.

When I first realised this decision was before us, I went online to do some research.

Suddenly, I found myself looking over criteria and reading inspection reports - with not a clue what I was looking for.

I then realised that as well as finding out about the schools, how well they are run and perform, other issues also had to be considered - is it located near our childcare, and what time does it open and close?

Soon, my head was spinning.

Then, this week, off we went to see the schools and really, I was so nervous.

Thank goodness for Darren for always being calm.

Walking around one school, it look so sweet and seemed to have a great community and Abbie was just buzzing as she investigated all the rooms and looked at the pictures on the wall.

Then we got chatting to staff and tried to cover all the basics.

I just felt and still do feel so much pressure.

What if we chose wrong?

What if Abbie doesn't like it?

How are we meant to know which school is right for her?

Soon, we were walking to the car as Abbie skipped along between us.

She was smiling and laughing and talking non-stop about `big school'.

With no pause button to hand, I suppose I just have to take a deep breath and get on with it.

She's depending on us and I hope I won't let her down.

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I'm giving a big festive shout out this week to Royal Mail for displaying it's wonderful Christmas spirit by installing singing postboxes.

The four postboxes, which have been installed in Belfast, London, Cardiff, and Edinburgh, are adorned with snowflakes and will be in place throughout the festive season.

The sound of sleigh bells or a jolly message from Santa Claus will greet anyone sending mail in the special postboxes, which have built-in sensors.

I just love this and intend on hunting down the Belfast one just so I can hear the festive cheer.

Well done Royal Mail, Merry Christmas.

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