Changing schools - really worried my children will be devastated. Would welcome any advice

(31 Posts)
mimosa Fri 14-Jun-13 22:53:25

We are moving our 2 children (5 and 7) from our local village school to an independant school. Mainly because the school has fallen short of what we had hoped for. The children are happy there but we think they will do better in a different school. I am confident this is the right thing to do however am really worried that they will be really sad to leave their school. Any advice about how to make the change?? We havent told them yet..........

Euphemia France Fri 14-Jun-13 23:08:44

In what ways has the school fallen short?

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 23:11:53

So they are happy, you think they will be devastated to move- but you are moving them, no discussion, no warning and you haven't even told them. And you think this is a good idea because.........?

JewelFairies Fri 14-Jun-13 23:22:42

Any reason why you haven't told them? I would normally expect them to visit on an open day, then do a trial day and also have some sort of assessment even if very informally. How did you manage to get them accepted at the school without the school meeting your children?

acebaby Sat 15-Jun-13 00:28:32

Children move schools all the time. They will be ok, but it will take time. What helped my ds1 when he started at a new school in y3 were (1) having a couple of settling in days at the new school, (2) plenty of play dates and (3) arranging for him to do beavers with his best friend from his old school.

I would say it took about 2 terms for him to settle fully, and we did have some ups and down. But he is fine now smile

Good luck!

sashh Sat 15-Jun-13 06:15:19

At 5 and 7 what more do you want than them being happy?

How bad is the school? What's wrong with it?

I went to 3 primary schools due to house moves.

1) faith school, went by bus, had to leave before neighbour's kids and got home later after they had finished playing out and gone in for tea, so friends at school but not at home.

2) Local village school, would meet other kids walking to school and walk home together. Had the same friends at school and at home / brownies etc.

2 kids in the village went to the faith school, we didn't really know them and they were never included when we (local kids) were playing.

3) faith school again, by this time I had decided there was no point in making friends as I would be moving again soon. (we didn't move).

mimosa Sat 15-Jun-13 06:59:55

Hi, thanks for comments. Changing school for lots of reasons, no need to go into why, just to say that it is a better school and it will fit into our domestic situation better. I was really looking for advice about how to make the change with minimal upset. Thanks for your comment Acebaby. We have arranged settling in settling, and I do plan on trying to arrange play dates. Also, DS will still be able to go to beavers wtih his friend from current school.
Sashh, your experience sounds heart breaking.

ohforfoxsake Sat 15-Jun-13 07:30:37

They'll be fine. The best thing is you can maintain current friendships and out of school activities.

sashh Sat 15-Jun-13 07:43:43

Glad ds can keep up with beavers, please try to have playdates with children from the old school as well as the new.

Take them to look round the new school. Change at the end of the year, my moves were all mid term and I'm sure it makes a difference.

Also I didn't get the opportunity to get people's addresses to write to them, my older brother used to write to his old school friend occasionally.

Oh I forgot to mention the faith schools had different holidays to the other kids in the area, check your new school to see if they match.

dinkystinky Sat 15-Jun-13 07:53:02

My 2 - aged 7 and 4 - are moving to an independent school next term. I'm going to arrange a couple of play dates for them over the summer with friends from the new school. We've talked to them both about it, been very open about our reasons for moving them and talked about the things the new school focuses on (more of a liberal education). We've also promised to keep up play dates with their local friends (the school they go to currently is just round the corner) and ds1 does swimming and karate after school with a couple of friends. I don't think our 4 year old really gets it but am taking him to the new school next week for an induction meeting so will hopefully help in meeting some new classmates.

exoticfruits Sat 15-Jun-13 08:09:47

I wouldn't present it as a shock- I am surprised that they haven't heard discussions, been to see the school, done a trial day etc. I would try and get contacts and meet some of the new children in the holidays and take them around the new school before the term ends.

TeenAndTween Sat 15-Jun-13 11:55:56

OK, you have a month of school then the whole holidays, that is plenty of time to prepare a 5 and 7 year old.

Of course they will be a bit sad, but there is no need for them to be devastated if you sell it to them the right way. lots of children move schools for lots of reasons and survive.

What I would do is ...

Take them to look at it, sell to them the positive features of the new school - the things that will appeal to them (eg better play areas, more sport or whatever). Tell them they can still see existing friends at after school/weekends. Give them the opportunity to meet their new teacher.

Don't slag off existing school (they may repeat to their friends who will then tell their parents). Say different schools suit different children and you think that this new school is what they will need for juniors so you are moving them. Be upbeat and reassuring.

Chandon Sat 15-Jun-13 19:35:44

I did this when children were 6 and 9.

The 6 year old was very upset and it was important for me to have time and emotional energy to listen to him. I also had a few of his friends over for a tea party, and took time to get to know parents so we could help new friendships to be established.

I had to be patient and accept that he missed his old school.

Two years in, he is very happy in the prep, and loves all the sport. He still sees his old friends regularly too, as we still do a few clubs locally ( so not just through school).

It requires a bit of effort, but it really can be managed.

It is also important never to badmouth the old school imo. As that will be relayed back to old friends ( and their parents!)

We still go to the old school's fetes and guy faulks etc.

pennefab Sat 15-Jun-13 22:50:39

My DC changing schools for 2nd time in 2 yrs.

First due to job relo. DC never really fit in at new school. As parents we were sad to see DC change to sad child, acting more immature, etc. After certain events, decided to change schools again (rather abruptly). DC not too keen to leave the known and be new kid again. However, DC can see the positives to the new school. And, throughout all, kept touch with old old dear friends and return to original town several times per year.

Have to say that at some point, as the parent who can see the long-term picture ... If a change needs to be made, do it. Be compassionate, enable old friendships to continue, but also embrace the new and keep forward looking.

My DC made moves starting as new Yr 4 and now new Yr 5. Also, summer born and less mature in some respects.

Good luck!

joanofarchitrave Sat 15-Jun-13 22:53:35

I moved schools at 8 from a school I really liked. Sat next to two really friendly girls that first day and they are still my closest friends 36 years later.

Have confidence in your decision - you're the parent and you know why you have made this choice. Explain it to the children as a positive move. I don't remember a moment's difficulty tbh.

We moved DS to a new school when he was going in to P2 so aged 5. I arranged play dates with children from his new school over the summer so he went in to the class knowing about 5 or 6 of the boys. It helped that DS is quite a genial, unflustered boy so he seemed to just adjust with no fuss.

However, I did put a lot of effort in to play dates etc. and I kept him at activities where he met his friends from his old school.

xylem8 Sun 16-Jun-13 10:08:08

I think with things like this it is something to present them with a fait acomplis rather than have them worrying for months.
New kids are always flocked around like a honeypot.

exoticfruits Sun 16-Jun-13 12:55:59

It depends on the DC- I would have liked the slow build up when a child.

exoticfruits Sun 16-Jun-13 12:57:34

I have been the new child 'flocked around like a honeypot' and still remember it with horror now! ( I was 6yrs at the time)

LoveSewingBee Sun 16-Jun-13 19:09:42

I hope the new school meets your expectations sonyour kids don't have to move again sad.

I think happy settled kids are a prerequisite to learning.

dixiechick1975 Sun 16-Jun-13 21:58:43

If the new school offers onsite holiday care see if your children can go - will be a good chance to meet friends.

toosoppyforwords Mon 17-Jun-13 14:10:35

I moved my son at the end of reception year from local state primary to local independent (for a whole variety of reasons). I made the decision in the new Year time but did not tell him until the school summer holidays that he would be going to a new school - mainly becuase i knew he would have the 6 week break to get used to not being at the school each day. Of course he was upset at the time but i reassured him he would make new friends (and could still see some of his old ones) and highlighted the positives of new school - eg weekly swimming lessons and so on. TBH i think friends come and go at that age anyway
His first day at new school in Y1 he came home very happy and settled in really well and is doing very well nearly a year down the line.

Remember that children change schools all the time for a variety of reasons and usually settle very well. If you are confident and happy with your decision there is no reason why he wont be happy there, but of course when you first tell him it is natural he will be upset and worried.

TinaSurrey Mon 17-Jun-13 23:27:00

We are moving our two from state primary to independent in September. They have both had opportunity of trial day, induction party, charity day etc at new school since passing entrance tests. By the time they break up for summer holidays next month they will have had 3-4 opportunities to spend time at new school (that is not counting the second open day they attended with us. It was just the first one I did alone).

I believe that this is crucial to them feeling positive about the move. The eldest is much more at ease than he was and the youngest is bursting with excitement!

Every single interaction with both the current school and the new serves only to reinforce my decision. I now just pray it was right and they thrive there.

DStone Sat 22-Jun-13 19:31:57

Is moving your child from one school to another at aged 6 really a bad thing? I have agonised over this decision for months. I've been open with my Dd from the very beginning, she loved the new school on settling in day and couldn't wait to go back for another day, I have 2 more scheduled before she starts. I think in the long term she will get a better education from the new school compared to the current one plus the opportunity to try more activities because there is more on offer at the new school. She's excited about the move to the new house and the school and being close to family but I've been made to feel like such a bad mother by mums at the current school. I've had comments like it would break their heart to move their child away from their friends etc, I just feel like they are judging me as a bad mother. My Dds best friends mum has avoided talking to me ever since I told her we were moving and I just feel like an outsider. I do worry that the excitement my daughter has shown so far will be short lived when the reality of being away from her current friends sinks in when we have actually moved. Maybe she's not mature enough to have really understood what it all means and how it will affect her. My Dh thinks I over think things and I shouldn't care what other people think but I do..

TinaSurrey Sun 23-Jun-13 16:36:35

DStone - some parents have been like that with me too. Only goes to show they were not good friends really doesn't it. I just want to make the move now and put effort into making new friends for the children (and me!). Those that matter will stay in touch and for them I will also make every effort.

Hard as it is to feel on the outside I KNOW beyond any doubt the current school has terrible leadership and that we are moving to a much more honest, transparent and happier place. Counting the weeks...

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