Should we change schools - need advice please!

(12 Posts)
Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Fri 16-May-14 12:38:02

Sorry, this has turned out to be long....

DD1 (10) is miserable at school at the moment and has been for most of the school year. She's been having friendship issues which she is finding hard to deal with. On the one hand, the issues are not major in themselves - not bullying per se - but constant fallings out with her friends due to fairly standard 10 year old girl behaviour. It is just that DD takes it all very much to heart, and I think this then compounds the issue as she perhaps isn't then an 'easy' friend to be around. On the other hand, it is not just all due to DD as other girls have been struggling and the school admits that their year does have friendship issues generally.

She is getting counselling support from the school, but they are being very ineffective at dealing with the wider yr group issues (which have been ongoing for probably 2 yrs). The stress is then, I think, coming out in complete over reactions to how her hair is, how her clothes fit etc. currently she at least has friends in yr 6 (the school has split classes which perhaps contributes as there is only a small pool of yr 5 girls in the class), but they will have left next year.

There is an option to move to another school for year 6, but it would be complicated as I will still have 2 children at the current school, in yr 4 and reception. DD would probably have to get the bus to and from the other school (about 5 stops). Apart from logistical problems, it of course won't magically cure DD's approach to friendships, and we may have the same issues with new friends but without the counselling. Plus the other school is even smaller so there may be even fewer friend options. (And maybe she would still be just as stroppy about her hair! Maybe that's just her being hormonal...)

But... I can't bear her being so miserable for another year and surely anything else is worth a try?

What should I do? I would really appreciate views from anyone else who has suffered the same sort of issues and has changed school.

HolidayCriminal Fri 16-May-14 13:11:19

I am a big fan of moving schools, have been in this situation, moved DS and my only regret was not moving him sooner. I was also bullied as a child but only at one school, not the schools before or after. If you think she can handle the bus ride aspects, I think I'd go for it.

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 16-May-14 13:20:43

We are in the same situation as we'll with DD in yr 3 who has anxiety issues and is now under the care of CAMHS. While I can't fault the school on their teaching their pastoral care for those who fall between the gap is somewhat lacking and we would prefer to move out DD and her brother now in the hope that when she tells the teacher their is a problem they might do something about it. Good luck

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Fri 16-May-14 13:45:42

How did your DS fare after moving holidaycriminal? Did he get any of the same issues or was all ok?

HolidayCriminal Fri 16-May-14 14:09:23

DS1 is the Ds I moved, he had a wobbly start at new school but settled within 3 months & no recurrence of his problems. This did not surprise me. He had been fine until yr3-4 and had no problems outside of school.

Was same for me as a kid. I was bullied badly & labeled a socially difficult antisocial child at my 2nd school. Not my 1st, 3rd or 4th school, or even outside school. Just the 2nd school. Sometimes kids get stuck in social ruts & it's the environment not the kid.

DS2 has problems wherever he goes; moving schools wouldn't be much solution for him.

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Fri 16-May-14 17:56:35

Just had another chat about moving schools, and it doesn't look like I'll be able to convince DD to move anyway. The next school in the other direction is full, so there's no other school alternative either. I can't face her being so unhappy for another year - it must be completely destroying her sense of worth. sad

WasWildatHeart Sat 17-May-14 08:15:27

My DD struggled in Yr5, lots of falling in and out of friendships, causing plenty of angst for her and for me. It took me a while to realise that she was off loading at home and I had to learn to just listen to her woes and commiserate rather than try fix it for her. I took the approach of telling her it was normal for girls to fall in and out and every day it will be different. Did a lot of out of school connecting to support the positive friendships too.

Pleased to report that Yr 6 was wonderful by comparison. Not sure if they all grew up a bit, had a better teacher, were more challenged academically, she was more resilient or they were enjoying being at the top of the tree in school but all the girls (12 in total) got on much better.

Transition to Yr7 has gone mostly well and she is vey happy now with a mixture of new and old friends. Took a while for her to sort out new friendships but she is in a good place now. I am so relieved as it is awful when they are finding it hard. I She has found her own way to cope, though I suspect there will be rocky patches to come! Hope you find solutions OP.

Iseenyou Sat 17-May-14 08:31:09

Nosleep would your dd agree to go and have a look round the other school - 'no obligation, just see what you think.' your dd might change her mind once she sees it, and for you, just seeing her in the environment might also give you a bit of an idea how she'd 'fit in' there.

If you do think there's no choice but to keep dd at current school, all is not lost - Things can change in yr 6 as they change and grow (a bit) more mature, and the knowledge that they're about to leave can make it seem not so awful anyway. I would also push as much as you can friendships with dc outside school - family friends' dcs, neighbours, relations, anything! Don't have to be exactly the same age, but it is very useful to have another life outside school when things are fraught there. Also is there an out of school activity or club your dd would like to join - preferably that other girls from school don't go to - sport, music, or drama maybe? Anything to make her feel that school is only a small part of life. Brownies or guides can be good, although often there are school mates there, so that might not be the answer!
Good luck - school friendship issues can be so upsetting,

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Sat 17-May-14 18:41:43

Thanks for the further thoughts iseenyou and waswild. I do try to listen rather than fix but I just feel really helpless to change anything. and she is now just so negative about them all.... I've told her to take a book in next week so she can read on her own if it all gets too much. She does do swimming club where she had friends but has just stopped brownies.

Anyway, it's nice to know things can change. Perhaps the long break will give a chance for things to blow over.

HolidayCriminal Sun 18-May-14 07:28:14

What Iseenyou said; just convince her to be openminded enough to look around another school. Build up the idea to seem manageable.

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Fri 23-May-14 18:09:15

Well we did go and see the next catchment primary on Thursday but I think she's decided to stay where she is for next year. The other school was lovely but things have seemed to get better anyway this week (and logistically it's much easier for all of us if she does stay put). I wonder if just having the option of moving made everything a bit better. It's always nice to have options after all. Fingers crossed things continue to improve after half term.

Iseenyou Sat 24-May-14 09:32:04

Glad things are going better! Yes I think that the 'I can always leave if I want' can make a huge difference to the way you feel about somewhere, so that may itself change the dynamic with the school friends.
I have to admit I would also push to keep up the outside activities - not just because of the current position but for the future, it is so useful to have something outside school. If dd's just left Brownies, would she move on to scouts or guides, or some alternative like Woodcraft folk - preferably not one where there are lots of dcs from dd's school? Or maybe another sporting activity if dd is sporty, like a martial art?

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