Should I move my DC to different school at 13+

(46 Posts)
Dancingdreamer Wed 06-Apr-16 19:33:03

DS in Y6 at prep which feeds to senior school next year. He has passed exam for seniors. Has good friends at school but took him long time to settle. However he seems less happy with general school. He has asked to move a couple of times (linked to way school have handled certain issues). The first time we spoke to school and they assured us he would be fine. He was for a time but there have been constant irritations and disappointment for him and if I am honest he has never seemed really at ease in the school.

He seems one of the lost middle. Not outstanding at anything and never chosen for anything - sports trips, house positions, workshops etc. I think he finds this very hard and demotivating. From all accounts nothing changes in seniors.

We have pushed on as he likes his friends and we aren't sure that he would find things much different in another school. Plus only alternative would be boarding which my DH was dead against. However I heard DS talking to his friend today. The friend was saying how excited he was to be moving to seniors. But my DS's response was that he didn't like the school and wanted to leave. This upset me and I am wondering if I should rethink plans now.

What would you do? We have no 11+ options so earliest I think he could now change is 13+ entry boarding but not sure if too late to register him for boarding schools.

SpikeStoker Wed 06-Apr-16 21:08:37

Dancing your DS's situation sounds identical to our DC's a few years ago. Not telling you what to do, but can tell you what we did. Our DC was very up for boarding and so we moved DC to a lovely boarding prep school. Loads of activities, sports teams, chances to represent the school when you're not in the first team, etc. DC loved it. We had then bought ourselves a couple of years to find the right senior school at 13+. It's a hard decision to make, but we have never once regretted it.

kippersyllabub Wed 06-Apr-16 21:13:15

You're too late for a small handful of highly competitive schools in the Winchester/Eton/Harrow league but most schools accept registrations in y6 and some in y7. It's worth looking now so you can avoid your ds being unhappy for another 7 years

Dancingdreamer Wed 06-Apr-16 21:22:22

Thank you for quick reply. What made you realise it was time to make a change? I have always felt DS is a bit overlooked at school but not everyone can be picked out for things so felt that was my problem not his. Am worried that moving because think grass is greener to find it is not.

May I also ask which senior school you decided on for your DC?

BertrandRussell Wed 06-Apr-16 21:24:12

There are other schools.........

LIZS Wed 06-Apr-16 21:31:39

Why no other 11+ options? Could you look at a late application for September, 12+ or an alternative prep that goes up to 13 for y 7 & 8.

Dancingdreamer Wed 06-Apr-16 21:40:56

Betrand - part of our reluctance to move him was how long it took him to settle at both the schools he has been to. He is has a very good group of friends and we didn't want to disrupt his friendships.

Kipper - he is not Eton material - academically or in terms of confidence. That equally gives me a problem as am not sure he would "shine" as a candidate.

Dancingdreamer Wed 06-Apr-16 21:50:03

LIZS - 11+ locally all made offers so waiting list only. At 12+ these schools rarely have places. Not sure any of these options would suit DS either (another reason we never moved him before). No day preps to 13 locally and DH won't let him board before 13 - thinks he is too young.

I did register DS for for 11+ test at a localish boarding school as alternative option for seniors but DH was furious and made me cancel. Am kicking myself for listening to him now.

Temporaryanonymity Wed 06-Apr-16 21:53:14

Would the state sector be an option?

Dancingdreamer Wed 06-Apr-16 23:08:34

Looked at local grammars but his much clever elder DC failed 11+ so DS would never have passed. Other good schools horribly oversubscribed and we are at outskirts of catchment. Hence why moved him to private at 7.

happygardening Thu 07-Apr-16 08:07:11

I agree with Spike move him to a reasonable sized 13+ prep, either day or boarding. Only a small minority are over subscribed and expect you to shine at 11 lots of happy caring senior schools don't have pre testing. I understand you're DH being "dead against" boarding, believe it or not I used to be, why don't you suggest he goes to look at a boarding prep and senior school he might feel differently about it after visiting.
If you're in the south east (you could be by your description of your local state options) look at Windlesham House in Worthing a prep with very happy children who are very cared for, or Dragon in Oxford. Senior St Edwards?

BertrandRussell Thu 07-Apr-16 08:52:37

Surely if he's not going to pass the 11+ he's certainly not going to pass CE? Sorry if that's too blunt.........

Dotheskankyleg Thu 07-Apr-16 09:27:46

Not passing eleven plus does in no way indicate inability to pass CE. Both exams have very different formats. Plenty of dC in preps who fail 11+ go on to pass 13* CE,

LIZS Thu 07-Apr-16 09:33:12

You don't "fail"CE.

Dotheskankyleg Thu 07-Apr-16 11:01:07

You can fail CE if you don't meet the CE requirement for your school or any school, however this is rare but it does happen every now and again.

Gruach Thu 07-Apr-16 11:13:28

I would try to move him as soon as possible - into yr 7 if you can find somewhere.

Your post is frustrating - both you and your DH seem to be putting up illusory barriers to finding a solution. (I mean that kindly.) And not working together. You need to sort that out.

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Thu 07-Apr-16 11:15:53

Bertrand: There is a world of difference between CE level 1 and CE level 3 papers. Level 1 are not challenging for an average child.

BabyGanoush Thu 07-Apr-16 11:58:09

I would work on helping him to shine at something (anything)

If the school is good (enough) and he has a nice group of friends, that's what I'd do.

My "quirky" DS has taken up fencing outside school. He turns out to be quite good at it, has entered competitions, even won a medal. It's a nice "world" as well, the fencing world, lots of nice people.

So maybe try some new things (drama, fencing, archery, cadets, riding, anything) and if he likes something, runs with it.

SpikeStoker Thu 07-Apr-16 19:13:08

I think you were asking me, Dancing what senior school we chose for DC. We chose Rugby, but had a choice of three offers. We chose Rugby because we got the house we'd all fallen in love with and all thought the HM is brilliant. Even at that early stage the HM seemed to get DC. We also got the houses we wanted in the other schools, so please don't worry you'll get stuck with a house you don't want, but we'd just fallen in love with Rugby.
It was mad visiting all the schools and liaising with DC's new prep head for suggestions, which should always be taken seriously as they know what they are talking about. DC moved just before Yr7 and there were still excellent schools open to us.
It also turned out that DC is good at acting and also at maths (CE level 3), none of which had been apparent to the teachers in DC's previous school. Basically DC blossomed.
I've always said that you should choose the school to suit the child, which is why my DCs have always gone to different schools, but moving our DC to boarding prep made such a difference and it was like we got our lovely DC back.
DH and I are also enjoying each other's company, with some weekends to ourselves, which is an added bonus.
Just for completeness DH did not want DC to board, but now says it was absolutely the right decision. We chose a prep where DC could come home at weekends to ease DH DC into boarding and we make sure we are at matches, plays, etc. Initially distance will be key.

Dancingdreamer Thu 07-Apr-16 20:29:59

BabyGanoush - we have worked on getting him to shine at something. He loves hockey and has joined well respected local club where he plays now for U14s despite being 3 years' younger than other players. He is only boy at school who currently plays in club (never mind for older ager group) but didn't get selected for captain. Instead chose boy who is also captain of 3 other sports team.

DC always subbed off during match when others aren't. School sports teacher after last match kindly informed me that they were only selecting my son to help boost his confidence. This is despite the hockey professionals at club telling me he is capable of making county!

This is typical of stuff that has happened.

Gruach - it is interesting you think am putting up illusionary barriers. I have struggled perhaps because worried about being a bit over precious. My DH has certainly felt i was over sensitive and DS should just get in with things.

Gruach Thu 07-Apr-16 20:46:47

I meant your husband too! I wouldn't say you're being over precious - but perhaps it might be an idea (once you have agreed to back each other up) to actually look more deeply into things.

You have dismissed the entire possibility of grammar school for no concrete reason whatsoever and, while plenty of children don't get on with boarding at any age, your husband's blanket refusal to even consider it (unseen!) seems somewhat obstructive.

happygardening Thu 07-Apr-16 21:15:05

"You've dismissed the entire possibility of a grammar school for no concrete reason."
Perhaps a little harsh? The OP did state that her older cleverer DC failed the 11+.
Many parents are unhappy about their current school but just don't know what to do for the best; they worry about whether to move them or not. Sometimes it just so difficult to know what to do for the best.
OP I think in your position I'd go and look at all your options, can you talk to the head of the senior school and explain your worries? Assuming it will be a new head and will it be new staff especially sports staff? Do new children join at yr 7? This might change the dynamics a bit those currently on the "A list" might get diluted down by new pupils arriving and new staff looking at things differently. Can you leave your DS at his current school and move him at 13+ if it's not working out? Would he get sufficient preparation for CE?
I completely understand your gripe and frustration about the captain of hockey thing but I do think your being slightly over precious about this. Maybe the current captain has played hockey for the school team all his school career and in his final year his loyalty to it is being rewarded by getting the captains post? Being captain isn't necessarily that great anyway and maybe the boy who got it had lots of experience of being captain if he was already captain of three other team sports. If he's subbed off during a match maybe he just doesn't play with that well for the school. Few if any sports coaches would sub off their best player.

Gruach Thu 07-Apr-16 21:28:43

But I don't think comparison with a sibling is, by itself, sufficient reason to dismiss a whole avenue of investigation.

I have no experience of applying to grammars - but I do know that where exams are concerned the most unexpected people can succeed where a dead cert has failed. Perhaps your other child had an off day OP - or perhaps their preparation just didn't dovetail with the exam? (You may of course be completely right that your DS wouldn't get in or thrive or whatever - but that's not dependent on what their sibling has done.)

happygardening Thu 07-Apr-16 21:32:56

Maybe the current school advised the OP that he wouldn't pass the 11+?

Dancingdreamer Thu 07-Apr-16 23:40:42

Thanks everyone for feedback.

Re 11+. We have superselective grammars where we live. So competition very fierce. DS just not in the academic league for these schools. DD was just one comparator. As I said in middle of his school and most in top set of his quite academic prep would just not get into these grammars.

On hockey. All started playing at same time. Captain is good player - no dispute. My point more to demonstrate some of his frustrations and why he is feeling overlooked at school. We have shrugged and said it doesn't matter as long as he plays.

I suppose though I am looking for a sense check here. Am I taking these things out or proportion? Are these the sort of normal frusrations he will get anywhere? Do I keep saying to DS that it doesn't matter and keep soldiering on?

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