Move a shy child from a 3 x form 30 class school to a private 1 x form 10 in a class

(45 Posts)
Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 13:54:36


I cannot decide if I am about to make a massive cockup.

My DS (reception age ) is very shy . It has taken him all year to be at a normal level and play happily with his peers. He is doing well academically ( just above average I expect ) I am happy with this side of school.

He tells me he sometimes has no one to play with at break but then I usually find out he does find someone at the end.

My dilemma is due to DH working in an independent school we can get DS fees massively reduced and he could go to the same school with a single class of 10.

DS has had a trial day and as he was so shy ( didn't speak or look at anyone ) came home and basically said he really doesn't want to leave current school.

He is 5 and I know cannot make informed decisions but I am stressing that will he have enough of a social mix with 10 kids , will it bring him out of his shyness or will it make it worse?

The main reason to move him would be so he doesn't get lost in a crowd , will be more confident to talk with only 9 others listening and not 21 etc etc

Sorry for long post as you can feel I am stressed and have days to make our decision

mam29 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:03:37

Ok sometimes they very different around others .

my eldest used to say mumy I not got many freinds.

I used to go sw class in hall next to school and saw her in playground all by herself upset me.

I think receptions hard year. I know mix in rception was very girl heavy felt sorry for boys.

It was 1half intake so 45 and dd knew most of them from attached preschool so transition was easier.

shes since moved to 20per year school but mixed classes so 30 still and has quite a few year 1 freind shes in year 2 now year 3 next year.

My husband was worried about small pool freinds but seems like shes has more freinds.

But her freind moved to small indepedent school with class /year group of 9.

Although her parents say its gone well have my doubts.

she as always bit loner at old school and had few freinds.

shes started having meltdowns and panic attacks crying at school and think as they go swimming every week, lots trips, more homework shes worn out.

Shes found the change very hard.

but know another little boy who moved same school half way through reception and hes getting on well but hes more socialble depends on personality.
I say if you happy with school give it bit more time.

They often mix classes around for year 1 and 2 anyway.

Looksgoodingravy Wed 26-Jun-13 14:05:00

Ds is currently in a class of 15 (although mixed year group) and I'm currently deciding whether or not to apply for a larger school!

There are only 7 boys in his year and sometimes I feel ds would much better suit a larger school as there would be a much bigger friendship opportunity, he's the opposite to shy, outgoing by sensitive. He is however thriving academically.

Out of the class of 10 how many boys are there?

I think as they get older having a larger mix of friendships prepares them better for Secondary School but that's just how I feel about ds school atm. It may change.

It's hard isn't it.

Looksgoodingravy Wed 26-Jun-13 14:06:27

by* but

notverymaternal Wed 26-Jun-13 14:11:26

So there are 2 things to look at here. The educational side - which is probably better in the private school, not necessarily because it is private, but because it is easier for a teacher to provide for individual needs in a class that size.
however, socially there could be a problem. The reason for this is because there are many different type of souls out there, and if your child is shy/introverted, they will need very sensitive peers, who will understand them even if they dont make a huge noise about things. Statistically, in a class of 10, you are less likely to find that... HOwever, being in a small class may allow him to become more confident, which will wipe out the problem above.... I would find out if the school you are looking into ever mingles with other classes, what opportunities for public speaking/drama etc there are and the likes.

NB. I'm not sure a 5 year old of any personality would want to leave a place they r comfortable with, for a brand new "scary" school

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 14:12:43

There will be 7 boys including him and 3 girls . So boy heavy which will be good for him but still very small pickings

OldBeanbagz Wed 26-Jun-13 14:23:15

I'm not sure you can change a shy boy whether they're in a class of 10 or a class of 20+. It's just not in their nature.

My 8yo DS is just the same, took months before he spoke at school and sticks to his close group of friends. Over the years he's got slightly more confident around the others in his class but still won't enter into converstaions with adults or children in new groups.

We have the opportunity to move him in September as the senior school his big sister is going to has a prep school attached. While i can see the benefits (slightly smaller class than where he is now, better sports facilities and having 2 kids at the same school), i also realise that we'd be going right back to square one. With this in mind we're keeping him where he is.

If your DS is doing well academically then i'd leave him where he is for now, especially since he's said he doesn't want to move.

rabbitstew Wed 26-Jun-13 14:23:22

It does seem like extremely small pickings. However, it depends on the children! If it's a class of 6 outgoing boys and one shy boy, I wouldn't want to be the shy boy at all.

tumbletumble Wed 26-Jun-13 14:30:34

This may sound like a silly question, but does he like football? In my experience, from year 1 onwards, the boys seem to be divided into those who like football (which tends to be the majority) and those who don't. So if he doesn't like football, at the bigger school there will be other boys who don't like football, whereas at the smaller school there may not - or alternatively they may be less into football there in general, because there aren't enough of them to have a proper game at playtime. If he does like football, IME that will make the social side of things easier for him (at either school).

singinggirl Wed 26-Jun-13 14:32:18

Having taught classes of twelve I would be wary of the social issues. Private schools will often have changes in the classes as parental circumstance change, as well as people moving etc. How would you feel if four of the other boys left in a years' time? Even one child leaving will have a major effect on a class of that size.

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 14:32:50

Yes he loves football, plays u 6's on a saturday but he is a little dink ( gets called messi at football) so tends to be the one pushed /knocked over everytime at school

BrianTheMole Wed 26-Jun-13 14:33:03

Could you go back for another trial to see if its any easier as it will be a little more familiar?

Somanychanges Wed 26-Jun-13 14:40:39

I hope you don't mind me adding my opinion. Obviously I am only basing this on what you have written and my own experience.

Our daughter is a few years older than your son. But she also has always been sensitive and never really been 100% happy at school. She was always saying she had no one to play with, this has been going on since Reception and she is now in year 3.

We finally decided to move her to an independent school which will have 8 in a class, she is also coming from a 3 form entry school. And honestly speaking I cannot wait. She has become more sensitive as the years have gone on in her school. I think it's all just a bit to chaotic for her. Of course she has said she doesn't want to leave current school. But that is normal and I am sure your son is just scared about making friends.

I went to a really small school myself there were only 3 in my year group and about 30 in the whole school. It was fantastic, really nurturing and I just played with children of all ages.

My feeling is that a small school is exactly what my daughter needs. I am hoping she will flourish there and that the calm and nurturing environment will allow her to come out of her shell. It's been horrible watching our daughter become more and more unhappy as the years go on.

I would choose small classes over large ones any day. I hope you get some reassurance but ultimately just go with what your instinct tells you to do. We definitely still have some concerns about the whole move but if we don't try we will never know.

Good luck

Laura0806 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:54:27

Oh I did the opposite, I moved my dd from a class of 12 girls (independent) to a large mixed state school and she is becmoning more confident by the day. She was stifled in her small class and found a skewed group of children( and parents!) that just bossed her around. In the larger school, she is able to mix with a wider group socially and it is helping her grow as an individual. Obviously every situation is different. I would be inclined to leave it a little longer if I were you, say till year 3? and see how it goes

CecilyP Wed 26-Jun-13 16:26:38

Would you think that the place in the independent school would be a great opportunity even if he wasn't shy, or would you leave him where he was? What age does the private school go up to? Do boys stay at the school till they are 11, or do they move on at 8?

If he is shy and starting in Y1, he might find it hard to break in to established friendship groups. I know this happened with a friend's DC when they went to a tiny village school. One thing about a larger school is that even if you don't have close friends to play with, there are often things going on (like football or skipping) that involve a lot of children that anyone can join in.

LIZS Wed 26-Jun-13 16:29:32

tbh 9 is a very small social group , too few to make sports teams etc. He may , ironically, end up feeling more isolated unless he has something in common with a reasonable number of potential friends.

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 16:41:49

The school is 3-16 ,,, I just spoke to his teacher who thinks he is very able and would thrive in a small environment but I am thinking more like most of you that the social side may just be too small

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 16:42:11

( current teacher )

LIZS Wed 26-Jun-13 16:56:02

do they share many activities with other year groups and perhaps expand at year 3 ?

celestialsquirrels Wed 26-Jun-13 16:56:44

Many prep schools have an influx of boys later on - mainly in year 3 but also year 2. A small year group might suit him for the first couple of years as he gets his confidence, with more people joining later to deal with the social issues? Or you could keep him where he is for another year and move him when there is a bigger intake?

One of my children was v shy and started in a v small reception class of 10 and it was a great thing for her. But it all depends on the peer group really and that isn't something you can control or know about unless you try.

If you put him in the prep school would you get your place back at the state school if it was all a horrible mistake?

curlew Wed 26-Jun-13 16:58:16

I think it's just too small. And if you're very shy it can be agony not having anywhere to hide- which you won't in a class of 10. It he's happy(ish) and achieving, leave him where he is. Making him start over again might well be really hard for bim- he's started to make friends at his current school.

And looking ahead- you say this new school goes to 16- that's far too small for a secondary school. Subject choices will be limited. So will sport and drama and music. I'm afraid it sounds like a disaster to me sad

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 17:02:12

The numbers do seem to jump.. The secondary part seems to average 3 x 20 per class per year . So numbers do really jump so maybe I am fretting over nothing confused

Iwaswatchingthat Wed 26-Jun-13 17:08:30

He is doing well academically and has told you he really does not want to leave his school. I think 5 is old enough to know what you basically want and where you want to be. To me that would make moving him a non starter and possibly detrimental to his confidence. Shy does not automatically mean lonely.

Good luck OP with a hard decision.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 17:14:30

The softie in me says go with the private school, but the reality is that growing up takes a long time and he will go through phases and grow out of this shyness. Someone will come along and be his friend and things will change. That is less likely to happen if there are only 7 boys in the class.

Brace yourself and have faity in his teachers.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 17:14:36


GW297 Wed 26-Jun-13 17:17:46

Could he do a trial day at the prep school between now and the end of term?

NotFluffy Wed 26-Jun-13 17:21:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Myliferocks Wed 26-Jun-13 17:24:04

We moved DD3 from a school where she was in a class of 38 ( year size 76 ) to a school where the class size was 23 ( year size 125 ).
I know it's not quite the same numbers!
DD3 is quite a confident child but she really struggled with going to a smaller size class. She found the dynamics difficult to adjust to.
In her old school there were 19 girls in her class but only 10 in her new one.

MumnGran Wed 26-Jun-13 17:24:11

I would go with the move ..... your child is shy rather than socially inept (as much as any 5 year olds are skilled socialisers!) so a smaller pool will absolutely offer more benefits than downsides.
Even the current teacher has said there will be real benefit to the smaller group.
Few 5 year olds want to change anything for something else that is an unknown. Parents just do have to decide the 'best interest'. Children adapt very quickly (even the shy ones) and it is much better to make the move now than in a few years time.

dippywhentired Wed 26-Jun-13 17:30:53

We aren't in the UK and when we moved here, my August-born DD would have been going into reception in UK. Here, there is only one small international school with just over 30 in the whole school (goes from 3-11), so we didn't have a choice.
She was a very shy 4 year old, who made friends, but was painfully shy with new adults. In her first year, there were only 8 in her class, and she was the only native English speaker as well. She is now coming to the end of her second year and has had 15 in the class. She has thrived in the family type environment, will stand in front of the group and give a presentation, will put up her hand to answer questions in whole school assemblies, and absolutely loves school.
Do what you feel is right for him.

everlong Wed 26-Jun-13 19:01:12

I took ds out of a boy heavy class of 30 into a mixed classe of 15 in reception.

He's August born and was quite reserved and not much confidence.

The difference has been amazing. He's end of Yr2 now and has grown in confidence, his learning is where it should be and he adores school.

I wouldn't hesitate.

wonkylegs Wed 26-Jun-13 19:07:26

We're having a similar dilemma. We are relocating due to work DS will be going into a new school in September. The local school to our house is full so the LA have offered us a place at a primary school 4miles away that is far bigger than DS is used to 3x30 per year, total nearly 500 children (currently at a 1st school with only 1x30 per year, total 120 kids). There are also some concerns about KS1 progress at the school.
We have looked at a local prep school which is approx the same distance in the other direction. That has a class size of 14 for his year and a total of 380 kids aged 3-18.
I've been to visit both and frankly am in no better position as to know what is best. Both have pros and cons and neither is the ideal situation of getting into the village school which we can see from our new house.
After trying to be rational about it I'm sitting here feeling terribly torn, convinced that I'm going to fuck it up.sad

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 19:27:07

Its a nightmare Wonky!

I know for fact if something happens I don't like at either schools I will say I knew I should have stayed put/ moved ( delete applicable)

mrsvandertramp Wed 26-Jun-13 19:45:31

We did this a year ago - moved DS and DD from school of 4 form intake to a small independent school and we're really glad we did as they have really come out of themselves and become much more confident. I always felt before that because they sat quietly in lessons and did what they were told that they were overlooked and weren't given much attention. In their small classes now the teachers are really able to know the children well and they have made so much progress academically. Also as they get older they have more chance of being in plays and sports teams, not that they are particularly sporty, but when you have nearly 100 in your year group you have to be pretty good to get chosen and that's really good for their confidence as well.
We are really glad we moved them and although it's hard financially they have never been happier at school which makes us feel that the sacrifices are all worthwhile.

curlew Wed 26-Jun-13 20:42:03

I know this is anecdotal, but I have never met a child who, looking back, says that they loved their teeny tiny school. I have met very few parents who don't think teeny tiny schools are wonderful. I think it's because we think of our children as little precious flowers who need to be nurtured, while children think of themselves as needing to grow and burst out all over the place. Even the quiet shy ones in the corner....

dippywhentired Wed 26-Jun-13 20:55:39

I loved my tiny school, Curlew, (50 pupils from 7-11), and yes I was also very shy. I would have been lost in a class of 30, as would my DD, and she does love school.

ipadquietly Wed 26-Jun-13 20:59:18

'The difference (of being in the smaller class) has been amazing. He's end of Yr2 now and has grown in confidence, his learning is where it should be and he adores school.'

You can't use that as an example of the advantages of a small class, as, chances are, the child would have grown in confidence whatever school he was at. The growth in self-confidence and social awareness between YR and Y2 is phenomenal in nearly all children.

To the OP - I agree with some of the other poster that 7 is a really small number for a friendship mix. What if 2 like football, 2 are 'bookish', one is unsociable and the other one's into Moshis (not an impossible situation)? Who would your ds play with?

curlew Wed 26-Jun-13 21:00:42

Dippy- as I said- anecdotal!

Piggychunk Wed 26-Jun-13 21:04:03

Ok drum role!.. Me and DH have come to a decision tonight after reading all the views on here and going round in many circles.

We have decided to keep him at his current school. We feel the larger choice of friends was the deciding factor. I couldn't bare the thought of him being left out or not liking certain games and him wondering around on his own.

I'm sure if we moved him he would excel academically but I just not sure this move is right for him.

Fingers crossed we are making the right decision

curlew Wed 26-Jun-13 21:31:57

Well done for making a decision! And for what it's worth, I think it's that right one. I think that aware, switched on parents can always fill in any educational gaps, but it's much harder to fill in social ones. Him being happy is the absolute key. Yay- I feel ridiculously pleased!

PanicMode Thu 27-Jun-13 08:14:17

I only saw this thread this morning, but we had same dilemma and decided to leave him - it was a really good decision. It's taken a while for him to find his confidence, and a group of friends he is happy with (non football loving, chess playing, maths loving boy!) but now he loves school, is flourishing and mixes with a very wide group of people.

FWIW a friend of mine moved her child into a class of 12 only to move back again due to the very narrow social opportunities!

Presumably you can always review again at 7 and see what you think.

ICanTotallyDance Thu 27-Jun-13 08:27:44

I have read the thread and I am too late to comment but I will say that I am pleased you made a decision and of course if it doesn't work out, don't beat yourself up because you can always change your mind later.

xylem8 Thu 27-Jun-13 10:12:02

I moved my very quiet DS from a large town school, to a tiny rural state school (13 in his new class) and it was the making of him.

wonkylegs Thu 27-Jun-13 10:21:00

We've decided to give the bigger school a chance, keep an eye on things and review in 6mths-1yr.
I'm still swirling in doubt but we tried to look at it as practically as possible and this seems the best idea at this time. I'm hoping it's the right decision.

GW297 Thu 27-Jun-13 11:55:10

Yes, you can review your situation periodically and act accordingly.

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