Now there's an emotive title for a blog post. But before you click away, fear not. I have no wisdom to impart, no magic bullet and I certainly don't have any shortcuts to the endless round of open evenings and late night soul-searching that choosing the next level of your child's education entails.
In Oxfordshire, secondary school applications for September 2016 have to be lodged by 31st October so we're starting to make appointments, take tours, meet head teachers and consider transport arrangements this term because after the summer holidays, that Halloween deadline will come around before we know it.
We're lucky compared to many in that we live in an area served by several good secondary schools. Privately educating our sons isn't an option for us. My husband was European-educated and I am a product of my local comp. Even if we had the spare cash, I'm still not sure we'd choose the independent sector, so we're looking to our (good) state options to provide our eldest son with safe passage through the next phase of his educational journey.
And it is JUST as difficult as it was to choose a primary school, if not more so, because this time you have to consider the thoughts and opinions of a 10-year old who worries about sticking with his friends and the colour of the uniform and the type of transport involved ("luxury minibus or coach, Mum?'). All of which are, admittedly, valid concerns when your universe has been the same cohort of 24 kids since the age of six.
We've been on a couple of visits so far, to two very different schools. One is our partnership school and attached to our local pool, so Louis is already comfortable with the environment and familiar with some of the teachers through workshops, sporting challenges and swimming lessons. The other is one of the last remaining state boarding schools in a chocolate-box Cotswold town, with fabulous facilities and an enrichment programme like you wouldn't believe. Then there's third, outside option which is miles away, but rated outstanding and its easy to see why.
Each of our tours so far has been informative and impressive. We've seen each school as it is day-to-day, rather than relying on the spruced-up experience of an organised open day (although we'll definitely be doing the rounds for those too). We've seen students moving between lessons and watched teachers gathering in homework. Louis has asked a few questions and peered at GCSE exam-sitters. On the way home from each visit, we've scored each out of ten and he's given five things he liked and three he didn't.
I have a clear winner in my mind. Louis has one too. Some days they are the same, some days they are not. Each time we swear that's it, choice made, no need to think about it any more. But then the next day, we're wavering again. And that's ok, for now. Because until we hit send on our online application form on 31st October, we're allowed to be lily-livered, fly-by-nights who JUST can't make a decision, right? In fact, there's probably a GCSE for it...