DD's reception class 90% boys - will this be a problem?

(48 Posts)
hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 10:32:33

Bit worried. Youngest daughter starts school in September and she will be one of only 2 girls in a class of 15. She's never really clicked with the other little girl who will be starting, this little girl will also be heading off to prep school at 7 years old.

DD is a girlie girl, ballet and fairies etc - unlike my other children who are much more tomboyish.

A lot of the little boys starting are very lively summer borns and much as they are really lovely little boys, my immediate concerns are (1) the class being very noisy and unruly and a lot of time being spent calming down the children (2) DD not having that close female friendship that many little girls have at primary school (I know that does come with lots of falling outs too!)

I'm more than happy for her to play with boys, the princess thing is inherent in her rather than created by me. But I feel sad that she won't have many girls to play with and that she will be left out.

Any advice/experiences very much appreciated.

PatriciaHolm Tue 23-Apr-13 10:37:00

Could she do rainbows or dance or some other club after school to give her a wider friendship group? At reception it won't matter so much, but as they get older it might. Are there lots of girls in y1/y2 she could play with if she wishes?

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 10:39:12

That's a good idea Patricia thank you. I hadn't thought so much of her mixing with the other years (I think it's from me having gone to a huge London primary where you just stuck with your own year group). She is also winter born so hopefully will have more stamina than my other summer born kids to do after school stuff. It would be nice for her to have girls in the class though to be with every day! sad

Bramshott Tue 23-Apr-13 10:41:17

IME in a small school where there's a year which is very boy-heavy or girl-heavy, the kids tend to make friends across the year groups. Presumably they'll be mixed with Y1 if it's an intake of 15?

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 10:45:37

Hopefully year groups will mix..

No, reception is by itself and then the years twin after that..

amidaiwish Tue 23-Apr-13 10:51:03

Personally I wouldn't be happy. Do you have other options?

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 10:54:52

Sadly no. It is an excellent school, which I'm very grateful for with Ofsted grading it outstanding in many areas. Older DC are also half way through there and very settled and we're in a rural area so it's the best and nearest state primary school..

There are private schools locally, where the little girls she is at kindy with are going - but that's out of our price range, vv expensive schools.

I might start campaigning in the local market town with a placard..'Have a 4 year old girl? Send her to our school" etc

vikinglights Tue 23-Apr-13 11:01:08

Does she know any of the girls in the other year groups?

I think I'd ask the school what they are going to do to ensure your daughter doesn't become isolated. I have a similar situation, not so extreme because the class sizes are smaller, but dd1 is the only girl in her year, dd2 is currently the only girl in her year although a family has just moved in with a girl her age and ds is the only boy in his year.

All three are happy and have good close friends outside their academic years

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 11:06:37

Thanks viking, that's really reassuring to hear that your children have thrived in this set up smile It's all new for me as my older DC had gender balanced year groups, so it's never been a problem before!

I'm going to try and grab the reception teacher at school pick up and talk to her about it, she's very switched on so hopefully will be able to offer some reassurance.

DD doesn't know any of the girls in the youngest years as my older DC are in the junior part of the school now. But it's a friendly school and I'm hoping she will be able to mix easily with the other classes once she's found her feet.

Pyrrah Tue 23-Apr-13 11:19:08

I would be very worried and looking for another school.

I was one of only 2 girls in my class at prep school - only 7 girls in the whole school - and I didn't get on with the other girl.

She spent a lot of time excluding me from playing with the other girls - little girls aren't sweetness and light much of the time, but normally if one is being a cow there are plenty of others to play with. I was no wallflower either.

I very much wish my parents had moved me to another school. To this day I'm somewhat wary of women.

You will probably get the opposite view from others.

I wish you and your DD luck!

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 11:26:06

Oh dear! Hopefully as there are a lot more girls across the school she won't be left out, as there will be a lot more than 7 girls in total. But a very unpleasant experience for you.

Pyrrah Tue 23-Apr-13 11:34:42

I think having other girls across the school will hopefully make a HUGE difference - and today schools are a lot more clued up and spot the child being left out or bullied very quickly.

I was the eldest girl in the school, so there were no older girls to keep an eye out for us. I did have lots of friends amongst the boys and did a lot of tree climbing etc - but I did miss out on the girly stuff and having best friends etc

My DD is in the nursery class of a local primary school and I was amazed that all the older girls seemed to know her name as the nursery doesn't mix that much. She is spoilt rotten by them all and if we get on the bus and a girl from her school is there then DD is off at the back holding hand with them.

I would talk to the teachers and see what they can suggest - I imagine they will see the potential for problems.

Any chance that waiting lists may bring in more little girls?

learnandsay Tue 23-Apr-13 11:36:51

My daughter hates boys. I'd have to move her, if necessary to another (even a worse) school.

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 11:43:05

DD doesn't dislike boys, luckily, she would just prefer to play with little girls if she could.

Pyrrah, girls can be so catty can't they! So glad your DD is happy. My school was incredibly bitchy (all girls - tempered at least by my having 4 brothers at home!) and I'm relieved that my kids are at a mixed school following my experiences. It's amazing how strongly your school experiences stay with you through out life.

It's a popular school with lots of children applying when they move into the area. My older DC's class has let an additional 5 pupils in as they've progressed up the school. Hopefully triplet girls will move locally and join DD in reception!

learnandsay Tue 23-Apr-13 11:57:44

I've seen boys pushing past, hitting each other with party balloons and doing all manner of (not unpleasant) but boisterous immature behaviour. Once or twice I've asked them to tone it down (I hate asking strangers' children to behave a bit better) but sometimes it's an accident waiting to happen. My daughter is a very girly girl and to be honest I do see her point. I think she'd rather have her skin peeled off and be rolled in a vat of salt than sit in a classroom of boys.

Dusteverywhere Tue 23-Apr-13 12:08:40

Hi Hattyyellow

I have recently posted a similar concern here. Have found out that in September DD (starting school in reception) will be going into a very, very boy-heavy class.

Like your DD, she is very 'girly' and while she doesn't dislike boys at all, just loves being part of a group of girls at her nursery.I am worried about it and hate the thought that she will be sad. However I received some positive advice on here and hope things will be ok.

Hope things go well for your DD too.

Llareggub Tue 23-Apr-13 12:09:40

I have 2 sons and have done my best to ensure that they don't conform to stereotypes. Ow ever, they can be boisterous at times. My eldest is in a Yr 1 class which is predominately boys. I know that the mums of girls have an issue with this, but surely it would be better to see each child as an individual and respond to their interests and personalities. There is no reason why boys need to be muddy and boisterous whilst girls are all pink and fairies. I'd better talking to the teacher to see how he or she might address it.

Bramshott Tue 23-Apr-13 12:15:06

Things also can and do change a lot in small schools as yeargroups go through the school. DD1's year started out fairly balanced and now has only 2 boys, and another year which started with only 2 girls is now split 50/50 (we also have a PAN or 15).

SvetlanaKirilenko Tue 23-Apr-13 12:18:29

Hi hatty, my DD was in a very boy heavy nursery before she started school, I think a lot depends on how the school deals with this.

At DD's nursery the staff were very careful to ensure that the boys did not exclude her from their games etc. DD adapted very happily and loved playing with boys and made friends easily. I was worried about her making friends with girls when she started school - and again she has adapted very happily and now plays well with boys and girls!

I agree you should speak to the school about this to ensure they help DD settle in and make some good friendships, and that she is not excluded from group play in any way.

Hope it goes well for you and DD.

Floralnomad Tue 23-Apr-13 12:18:45

When my daughter started school she was in a class of 3 girls ( her included ) and 10 boys . ( private school) . There were 2 other classes with a few more girls in but TBH although they mixed it up every year the original friendships stuck and unfortunately the 2 other girls in the original class left in yr 2 and yr 3 . I took my daughter out in yr5 and should have done it earlier. I'd be looking for a different school if I was in your position . I should also point out that my daughter is not a girly girl and would happily play with boys and was in the cricket and tag rugby team but often ,especially as they get older the boys don't want to play with the girls for fear of being ostracised by the other boys ( well that's what we found ) .

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 12:21:56

Thanks so much all, it's so nice to have the reassurance that she will be okay. Planning to talk to the reception teacher tonight and get her views on the subject.

I really have nothing against little boys and have two older DD's who are both utterly anti-pink and spend their lunchtimes having running races across the field and climbing trees with both other boys and girls.

But I do wonder if a gender balance is best ideally, i'm not an education expert, but I can see that a mixed group would have advantages. DD plays with the boys too at nursery but her best friends (who are going private) are all little girls. I do think it's nice to have the option to have some close friends of your own sex, who like doing the same things as you, as well as playing with children of different genders and who have different interests.

Boy in my son's class when they were in lower classes used to quite happily bring in his Barbie dolls etc to school and play with the girls - she may not be without more girlie pursuits even in a class of boys. 1 or 2 others enjoys singing and stage stuff too - she may find a kindered spirit and close friend amongst the boys.

Or, she may get to be the princess and be in charge of all the role play games with her hoard of Knights and Princes smile

hattyyellow Tue 23-Apr-13 12:23:06

Sadly just no option to send her anywhere else - we are very rural and can't afford private - so another school would mean taking the older DC out and a very long drive which would also be very tricky with work..

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 12:24:55

I would have concerns. Have you talked to the school about it?

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 12:27:17

Sorry, I see you are going to.

In my experience, they play all together til about 5 or 6, then, despite anyone's best efforts, gender divisions kick in, and stay firmly in. I wish it was different.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 23-Apr-13 12:27:41

how old are the older DC? No chance of them walking to school while you drive the younger one elsewhere? I pulled my DD1 out of her original primary as she was one of only 4 girls and even that wasn't enough.

jamtoast12 Tue 23-Apr-13 12:28:46

In my dds reception class there is very much a divide between the boys and girls... My dd wouldn't play with the boys and all the kids are the same! And they are in equal numbers.

If they do mix in year one, she will still be the new girl which may or may not be a good thing. I'd have to move her I think which is a nightmare given you have siblings in there. Such a hard situation. My dd1 is 8 and is in a reading group with 2 boys and her teacher said she reads totally different in class (no expression) etc because she is so shy in front of them. I'd ask the teacher what they could do but would be very unhappy with the idea.

I was one of 3 girls in reception in a year group of 48ish. I loved it but was moved to a girls school for year 1. I found the move very hard as I went from being 'special' to being one of lots of girls and moving into existing friendship groups. If you anticipate needing to move your DD at a later stage then this could be a consideration. Otherwise it sounds like it is for one year only, until going into mixed age classes and reception isn't a bad year to do it as there is less "boys smell" and "I hate girls" at this younger age.

Dusteverywhere Tue 23-Apr-13 12:33:09

Agree with you Llareggub. Think it is better, ideally, to see all the children as individuals and hopefully both in Hattyyellow's DD's case and in my DD's case the teacher will have great strategies for integrating children properly.

In my mind though, it all boils down at the end of the day to the fact I have a little girl who lives in a world of pink, purple, flowers and butterflies who has come to enjoy these things herself and have her own opinions on them (we've not led her in this at all!) and just generally enjoys the company of girls. She likes boys, but will always play with girls out of preference. Just want her to be happy.

I think that in a small school this often happens. At my primary there were two boys in a class of 12.

Fwiw my own dd is in year 1 and her dear friend is a boy. She calls him 'the best boy ever' grin

Oh and at least your dd will have strong chance of playing either Mary or Gabriel in the nativity grin

Quenelle Tue 23-Apr-13 12:37:01

Out of interest, why are there so many boys vs girls? My son's preschool is very boy-heavy, so the attached lower school's next Reception year will be too. Are these examples just random accidents? Or is there a statistical significance?

I went to a small primary school too - 8 in my year group, two girls, six boys. I didn't really click with the other girl. I tended to play at break with girls in the year above or below. In class I was sat according to my ability with two boys so didn't have to sit with the girl in my year. After reception we were put in larger classes - three year groups to a class and I sat with my friends. I loved it.

One summer the girl in my year and I (probably Y5 equivalent) had a lovely summer biking around the country and looking after a sick pigeon but when we got back to school it was back to normal so I did play with her on occasion.

kaytola Tue 23-Apr-13 12:55:06

This is very interesting as my daughters nursery class is very top heavy boys and the school that I work at has another very boy heavy nursery. This will obviously spill into reception classes - I think there will be about 15 girls out of a cohort of 53 for Septemeber.

I'm not unduly concerned about the sheer number of boys but it does seem a bit strange that lots and lots of schools are boy heavy this year.

ryanboy Tue 23-Apr-13 15:08:06

Ha ha only a problem for the teacher!!
My DD is one of only 2 girls in her yr group of 9. I have to say 2 girls is infinitely preferable to 3!
Seriously don't worry she will play with children from the other year groups too

lljkk Tue 23-Apr-13 16:15:10

It doesn't matter in reception, their friendship tribal rules about gender aren't that fixed yet.

Come y2 the odds are that more girls will have come to the school, or she will have found her own way.

Chocovore Tue 23-Apr-13 18:24:43

My son is in y2 and there are 21 boys and 9 girls. I really feel for the girls tbh. Everything is focussed on engaging the boys - dinosaurs, machines etc. and a lot of things (particularly treats) are decided by voting. The boys always pick the DVDs of interest to them, the poor girls never got Angelina Ballerina!

hattyyellow Wed 24-Apr-13 09:43:11

Thanks so much for all your thoughts and experiences, all really helpful. And it made me smile re her chances of playing Mary/Gabriel in the nativity!

Went to find reception teacher yesterday but she wasn't there, so hoping to catch her later in the week.

More worrying news yesterday though, caught up with the dad of the other little girl who is due to be starting to get their thoughts on the ratio. They are thinking of sending her to prep school now, rather than 7 years as was the case for her big brothers. Spoke to mum in the current reception class, there are only 4 girls in that class - so even when they twin it will still be very boy dominated.

Feel so sad for DD sad

Trying to remember that life throws up unexpected things all the time and that other girls may move here in the summer etc.

irisha Wed 24-Apr-13 10:09:53

We had this experience and had to move DD after reception. There were 4 girls in a class of 16 and she didn't really click with any of them. But the main thing was not even that, but the concern you raise - boys very boisterous and noisy, lots of rough and tumble games, DD just never felt comfortable and at ease. We moved her for Yr1 to a different school with 50/50 gender balance and she loved it.

That said, other girls seemed to be OK (many of them had brothers there - it was a pre-prep until 8+). So may be your daughter will be OK, especially given she has siblings there. You need to make sure she is not overlooked by the teacher in a class of lively boys - it's likely they'd be getting a lot more attention just to keep them on track.

Bramshott Wed 24-Apr-13 10:12:46

Oh that's a shame about the other girl. Still, lots could change between now and September, and now and the end of Reception.

To a certain extent gender imbalance is par for the course with small schools (like mixed classes) and if you want to support your local, small school you have to suck it up, or at least try it out and see if there's a problem.

Fingers crossed that either the other girl's family reconsiders, or another girl moves into the village before Sept, and that it all works out well.

vikinglights Wed 24-Apr-13 10:58:54

Don't panic until you have talked to the teacher /headteacher to see if they have any plans in place. These things aren't unknown in small schools.

And that IS important because it also changes the way the kids react to them and the group dynamics. I see from comments further up the thread (and truely believe) that other people have experienced firm gender divides from age 5/6. But thats not my experience, our school is small and there is no room for that kind of devisiveness.

Last night an 8 year old boy called round to play with my 7 year old DD. She was out but he and my 5 year old DD had a whale of a time. I've been so conditioned to this small school mentality that I feel sorry for the kids coralled in 'year groups' now blush

hattyyellow Wed 24-Apr-13 11:02:40

Thanks all.

I think you're right Viking, our small school also does have a great family feeling as a school - my older DC were playing with some reception children at breaktime yesterday - with the number of years between them making no difference. That cheers me up. Yes, hoping teacher will have some words of wisdom..

Agree with Viking I was pals with all the boys in my small school and can still play a bloody good game of football as a result of my primary school years.

The benefit being that my DSs think I'm cool when I'm not being embarrassing

I feel sorry for my DSs as they were/are at a large primary where girls and boys segregate themselves by gender.

hattyyellow Wed 24-Apr-13 17:34:23

Thanks tea, yes hopefully she will be brilliant at football!

Seeing teacher on Friday so hopefully will gain some more reassurance then.

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 17:38:52

"Agree with Viking I was pals with all the boys in my small school and can still play a bloody good game of football as a result of my primary school years.

The benefit being that my DSs think I'm cool when I'm not being embarrassing

I feel sorry for my DSs as they were/are at a large primary where girls and boys segregate themselves by gender."

But isn't that segregating by gender- by virtue of the girls joining in with the boys? I always remember one of the Famous Five boys- not Julian, the other one, saying admiringly to George that she was "almost as good as a boy"

BooksandaCuppa Thu 25-Apr-13 22:24:29

I'm not saying I wouldn't be concerned if it seems she will now be the only girl in her year; but it really is true that at very small schools not only do the children play up and down with different year group members, but also that the 'only playing with your own sex' thing can kick in a lot later, if it does at all.

Ds's primary had an average of 10 children per year group and he always played with a mixture of ages and sexes. In year 6 his main playmates were a yr 5 boy, a yr 2 boy and TWO yr6 girls. My sister has just moved her children from a much larger primary to this small one and is delighted that her girls (yr 5 and 3) are now playing with boys again.

I think with how lovely your school sounds and how happy you've been with it thus far, I would think very hard about moving her somewhere else without even trying it.

Sorry I missed seekers question - it didn't feel like the playground was segregated by gender. I chose to play football, i had other play options - girls and boys in other years. I remember clearly believing, and the boys agreeing, I was second best at football in the school (all 46 of us wink) .They wanted me to join in. I'm still in touch with four of the six boys 30 years on.

My DSs on the other hand look slightly shocked when I ask whether girls play football with them. After Y3 at their primary there is little playing with children of the opposite sex. I feel sorry for them missing out and for the girls missing out on a) extra pals and b) games they might want to take part in because the unwritten playground rules are they belong to one sex or the other.

In my opinion small schools don't have the same issue.

hattyyellow Mon 29-Apr-13 10:55:10

Thanks so much all, some encouraging experiences. Spoke to teacher this morning and she said she could see why it bothered us, but that she would try her hardest to integrate DD - making sure that topics weren't too boy dominated by activity or voting and that a fair number of topics would be unisex -ie water/the sea etc.

She also said she had a number of boys in reception each year who were quite happy to dress up as princesses during any dressing up/imaginary play in class so DD may well have some princess friends after all! smile

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