Who chose which secondary your dc attends, you the parents or did you let your dc choose?

(82 Posts)
MilkRunningOutAgain Mon 23-Sep-13 22:13:50

dS is in yr 6 primary and wants to go to a secondary with the majority of his school friends. It isn't a great school, it required improvement 2 years ago though now has a new head and perhaps it will improve. The problem was low results, the school takes in a cohort of above average attaining kids and turns out a cohort of below national average kids 5 years later. No behaviour problems at the school that I know of. dS likes to get away with doing the bare minimum and I don't think the school will stretch him, he'll coast along being relatively well behaved.

We moved a year ago, left DS in his old primary as we are currently renting and not sure where we will eventually move to and at the tmie i thought i didn't want to alter the dcs school more than absolutely mecessary. But the catchment school where we are now , and I think we'll buy near here when we can find a house we like, is really good - at least dp and I think so. It gets excellent results, has great sports facilities ( this would suit sporty DS), and generally a good reputation and good ofsted.

DS is a horribly stubborn child and has really started arguing every night (it's helping his debating skills!) for the school closest to his primary. He is genuinely upset at the thought of going to a school away from most of his friends. And he's a child who hates change and is likely to find the whole change to secondary stressful at the best of times.

I am genuinely upset at the thought of him attending a school that may not get the best from him, he can be bright, his mental maths are excellent. Plus now we've moved and can get into a good school.

There would be no problem in getting him into the school he wants to go to, it's undersubscribed.

What would you do? Apologies, I've written too much. And I can only get on the Internet every other day or so, I won't be able to reply for a while, assuming there are replies that is...

ChippyMinton Mon 23-Sep-13 22:21:07

Take him to visit both schools, open evenings and a daytime tour.
Only then, gently talk up your prefered school and point out aspects that might appeal to him - short journey, sports etc - and let him come round to his own conclusions.

We went through this last year, and I was surprised at how few of Yr6 actually went to the local school in the end. Most parents had their own plan, and the friends thing is a red herring.

Arisbottle Mon 23-Sep-13 22:24:54

We chose, although our children have wanted the same as us.

DD1 went through a phase of wanting to go to the grammar , even took the test but in the end decided to go to the local school. Am not sure wat I would have done if she had insisted in the grammar .

SweetPenelope Mon 23-Sep-13 22:46:57

I got into a selective school and my mother let me choose which school to go to. I made the right decision and chose the selective one. One reason was because I preferred the colour of the uniform. I guess I also liked the prestige of it. The other school was the perfectly fine local high school.

However, I think it's too young to make such an important choice. Children don't really understand the consequences or that they will have lots of different friends at different stages of their lives.

I met a woman who was allowed to insist on going to the crappy local school instead of the private school her parents were willing to pay for. She resents her parents now for letting her make such an important decision at that age and for the crappy education she had compared to her privately educated brother.

We chose for DS, although he was happy with the choice.

We did go and look round both options, and I was sure he would want to go to the sparkly new build school instead of the old tired boys school, but he didn't.

He said the school we had put as first choice "felt" better for him. If he has really liked the new school we would have listened to him, and done a bit more digging about it, but as it was we didn't need to.

Cat98 Tue 24-Sep-13 07:25:56

I am concerned with this happening here too, as we have 2 comps nearby- one is good but the closest one is not. I know ds will want to be with his friends.

I wanted to stay with my friends and go to the local comp but I won a 90% scholarship to a prestigious private school nearby. My parents insisted, and looking back I'm glad they did as I was quite lazy and probably wouldnt have achieved the grades I did had I gone to the comprehensive.

ILoveAFullFridge Tue 24-Sep-13 07:38:11

IMO the parents select the shortlist, then the child can vieit them and makes their choice.

But the shortlist mustn't be "This is the school we like and this is the other one". Itus be a genuine choice.

If there is only one school the parents feel is suitable, them they make the choice and explain it to the child.

One reason your ds may want the school local to his primary is that he think all his friends will go there and is daunted by the thought of leaving the group. My ds felt that way, too. But his 2ry had excellent transition arrangements, and by the time ds started he was no longer worried. I also explained to him that he couldn't choose his school by what fitted his friends, it had to be by what fitted him best. In any case, one friend was hoping to go to stage school, 2 were hoping to go to the Christian ethos school, and so on.

Greythorne Tue 24-Sep-13 07:39:39

You are the parent. You get to choose.

FeetUpUntilChristmas Tue 24-Sep-13 07:47:07

I took both my DD to look around the local schools when the oldest was in Y6, both were good schools but with different a focus. I wanted them to both go to the same school.

Both DD chose the same school and I was happy to support there decision.

SoupDragon Tue 24-Sep-13 08:01:21

I chose the school. DSs were allowed to express a preference but, at 10/11, they are not able to make a proper judgement on what school is best for them.

Fairypants Tue 24-Sep-13 08:06:40

Ultimately we (me abd dh) make the final decision so I didn't tell dd she could decide (or couldn't) but discussed the pros and cons. I also took her to a number of schools so she could see the range. Our local is rubbish so everyone has different plans to avoid it and about 5 girls from dd's class went there in the end whilst dd1 chose the school we wanted and managed to get a v rare place at it (700+ applications for 100 places).
It's worth talking to his friends parents as you are likely to find they are applying for other schools but maybe not telling so they don't get their hopes up.
If you go and visit them, you can always go to the English classes in one and the sports facilities in the other! It is worth trying to get him onside but I wouldn't let him make a decision line that himself really.

exexpat Tue 24-Sep-13 08:15:10

Parents need to make the final decision - 10/11 year olds are swayed by superficial things, like where their friends are going, or not liking a uniform, rather than the bigger picture of academic standards and whether a school meets their other needs and interests.

Yes, it makes the transition a bit easier if they have a few friends going to the same place, but secondary schools are big places, they are usually put in different classes from their old friends, and soon make new ones - even if they think they are going to be best friends for ever, by the end of year 7 most have completely different friendship groups from primary school. And if you have moved, and the school you like is nearer your current house, it will be good for DS to build up a local friendship network.

Talk up the school you choose to your DS, but don't get into negotiations about it - you should have the final say.

NoComet Tue 24-Sep-13 08:43:15

The logistics of getting to the Grammar school are awful.Also they wouldn't let Y4's look round to encorage them to work for the 11+.

Had DD2 been wanted to go and been willing to put in some work she could have tried for it.

She absolutely didn't want to. She wanted to be with her friends and sister. Also she likes being near/at the top of the class, it gives her huge confidence. She is very stubborn, i don't think I could have forced her to work for the 11+ if she didn't want to.

Maybe, at the comp. she'll get some As when she might have got A* or she'd have got fed up with the amount HW the grammar gives and rebelled totally.

Had she wanted to be a doctor A* would matter, she doesn't, she wants to teach. For that being at a much more mixed school teaches her things that may be useful.

You can never know if you made the right decision. All I do know is she's happy and made nice friends.

tiggytape Tue 24-Sep-13 09:04:00

I guess this is the only advantage of living in London for schools.
If I really want to veto any choice, I could just say we live 56cm too far away so cannot get in despite everyone in the same road getting a place - and it would be totally believable (and probably true!)

Mainly I think it should be the parent’s choice but it is up to the parents to sell a school if necessary and not just lay down the law. If going to open days, chatting it over and reasonable discussion about friendship groups always being broken at secondary school still leave a child absolutely adamant they won't go to a certain school, then I probably would listen to that at least to some extent. It depends if the one they wanted to go to instead was basically O.K or not.

Redlocks30 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:15:18

We chose. Our catchment secondary is v poor and we liked the grammar, fortunately DC did, too and passed the 11+ with flying colours. Had he not, we would have gone for an out of catchment school quite a trek away. Our catchment secondary has been called 4 different names since I've lived here, trying to shake off its bad reputation. I didn't think he'd do as well there.

You get to chose, my DS may still believe that I put the local school as number one choice, I did not told him he didn't get in and there was going to school X that I had put at number one. He was very happy there, they tend to find new friends anyway once the start secondary.

roguepixie Tue 24-Sep-13 09:26:48

We took DS to all the open evenings and discussed what he wanted from the school he would go to. We also explained that the final choice remained with us - that we had to consider more than the school "having a pool" (he's a swimmer) and being a boy's school. We have always discussed things openly and made him aware that his views are valued - it meant that when the time for applying to secondary school the process was less fraught.

Fortunately he got offered a place that met all his wants smile and also all our's too. It's a truly excellent school so everyone was happy.

To my mind it is, ultimately, the parents decision but hopefully, with open discussion and treating the child fairly and with consideration for their views, you will come to a mutually happy decision.

hatsybatsy Tue 24-Sep-13 09:31:01

I think the parents get the choice. But our primary school does not feed into one particular secondary school so we don't have the same issue as you.

In your shoes, I would refuse to discuss it with him at the moment (nightly arguments sound very wearing?) - and would take him to an open day at the school I wanted.

Are there any families near where you've moved to who have sons at the new school? Get to know them - maybe your ds would feel happier knowing people there? Are there holiday clubs at the new school that he could try?

Not possible to make a 10/11 year old conform to your opinion but you are doing it for his own benefit - you need to stick to your guns but be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Scholes34 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:31:18

Our school chose itself. It's the local comp. DD did very well and now at sixth form college with excellent GCSE results. DS1 and DS2 doing well too. It's close by and all their friends are there too. No problem getting a place. We're lucky. It's not London.

dotty2 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:37:53

Only Y4 here, but was talking to my DDs about this just this morning and the question of who gets to choose came up, so I said that I hoped we'd agree and that there were things that they might need to think about that might not seem so important to them, but really were long term. Will see what happens over the next year - I think we might be in a similar position with friends going to one place and me preferring another for academic reasons, so am very interested in the responses.

FWIW, I won an assisted place to a private grammar school age 11 (having seen the advert in the local paper and asked if I could do the exam). We lived in an inner city area where the secondary choices were pretty poor - only a handful of people passing any A levels in a year, etc. (This was 30 years ago). My parents gave me a completely free choice over whether to take it or not, not trying to sway me either way. As a parent now, I'm slightly awe-struck that they let me have that much autonomy - I think it was brave of them.

Elibean Tue 24-Sep-13 09:46:14

I have a Y4 dd, and we're looking at schools. Parents look at a selection, then kid with parents (at the ones parents are ok with), then kid has very big input and we decide together.

We have the right to nix ones we loathe, and so does she smile

17leftfeet Tue 24-Sep-13 09:55:44

I made the decision but I took dd's opinion into account as part of my decision making process

we are actually very lucky that we have 2 good schools and equal distance appart and our area doesn't operate a catchment system

I was actually quite suprised when she told me she would rather go to the school that her friends weren't going to as she prefered the school

3 weeks in she seems to have developed a lovely friendship group and is very happy

she was the only person from her primary in her new form

AgadorSpartacus Tue 24-Sep-13 09:58:06

It was a mutual decision. He vetoed some, we vetoed some but what we did do was visit them all.

BackforGood Tue 24-Sep-13 10:04:40

We guided our dcs towards the schools we thought would suit them.
We looked round with the dc though, and then we all talked about the pros and cons.
I pointed out that ultimately, we were expressing a preference and the LA did the allocations.
As has been said upthread, there's a lot of talk in Yr6, but the dc actually end up going to different places from those they said they wanted (I have 3 in secondary) ~ whether that's because their parents over-ruled them or not, I don't know, but 10 and 11 yr olds are easily swayed by a well thought out open evening,(tasters of warm cookies straight out the over in the cookery room anyone? or letting them see real fire coming out the bunsen burners?) whereas I, as a parent do a lot more investigating than that one 'show evening'. Indeed, once they get to secondary, it's really common to be split from those from the same Primary school and to make new friends anyway, so I really wouldn't put a lot of emphasis on that.

MortifiedAdams Tue 24-Sep-13 10:34:24

The parent chooses. Fine to reasses at the end of year seven if they arent settling, but there is no way dd will get free rein over which secondary school she goes to.

FrauMoose Tue 24-Sep-13 10:34:35

I think sometimes children have very good points to make, and see things parents might miss.

We - spouse and I - were quite impressed by an improving local school with a charismatic head. However my daughter, who went to a taster morning there found it off-puttingly noisy - and had also heard some very negative stories about the place. After discussing it with her - and going to see the Head! - we ended up putting the school lower on the list, than we otherwise would have done.

KittiesInsane Tue 24-Sep-13 11:00:08

We let DD choose, but the circumstances were a bit odd.

We didn't really think about school choice for her older brother; there is only one local school with a bus service, so he went there. It was a disaster, and he moved to a school he much prefers (and probably would have from the start).

DD, who is a very different character, looked round both those schools. In the end she chose DS's school despite the greater distance, and the cobbled-together arrangement of shared pickups, cycle routes and occasional 4-mile walks home. Frankly, she needed to be fully on board with the choice, as she was going to be the one most inconvenienced by the arrangement for the next few years.

She was also the only one going to school B from her primary, so she had several months of feeling like a complete oddity as everyone else merrily discussed which form they would be in at school A.

School B wasn't the obvious choice on paper: bigger, further, historically slightly poorer results (though this year's GCSEs were great, in fact) -- but we're three weeks in and she is very happy.

FrauMoose Tue 24-Sep-13 11:39:09

I am - or try to be - a rather laidback parent. However my daughter when in Year 5 informed me that she wished to take the exam for the local grammar school. I duly took her round there - plus other of the secondary schools nearby - and entered her for the exam. She later get offered a place there.

In some ways it was much simpler than the 'Shall I/Shan't I put my child in for a selective school, that some parents go through.

But I think my daughter is the proactive type!

topicofaffairs Tue 24-Sep-13 11:43:51

Me with heavy input from dd but if there's argument I get final choice.

Why? Because I was in ops situation as a child, I went with all my mates against where my mum wanted and it was a disaster and I ended up moving anyway.

TallulahBetty Tue 24-Sep-13 12:11:25

DD is 22 months so not at this stage yet grin However my own parents let me choose my secondary school and I remember being pleased that they had. Obviously they did like the school but they let me pick between my top 3 and I am grateful that they did.

LaQueenForADay Tue 24-Sep-13 13:38:38

We chose for our DD1, and it's the main reason why we moved to where we live when she was born, because we wanted a grammar school education for her.

DH is a grammar school boy, and he really wanted the same for DD1. I was slightly more relaxed because I was Steiner educated so wasn't familiar with the grammar school system.

DD1 was fairly meh about going to grammar school, because she just perceived it as being 'all very hard maths, playing rugby and lots of Latin' - because she'd listened to DH's school boy memories. hmm Which just shows you don't know what's going on in their little minds...

Luckily, we took her to the Open Evening when she saw how fantastic it was, saw the amazing art rooms and the drama studio, and met lots of the girls there - and driving home she was 'I really, really want to go, please' smile

Luckily, most of her close friends from her junior school will also go to the grammar, so she'll move up with her peer group (hopefully).

At only 10 years old, there was no way we would have allowed DD1 to decide which school she went to, no more than we would have let her decide which house we bought, or car we drove.

Some decisions are way above a 10 year old's pay grade.

You can always assess their schooling, and discuss it with them when they're older and more informed.

TeenAndTween Tue 24-Sep-13 13:59:38

DD1 was too immature at age 10 to make her own choice. We looked at the options, then took her to the open day of our preferred choice (which was also catchment school) to sell it to her.

About to look at 6th form colleges now, which will be a different matter. Though she doesn't actually have much idea what she want to do ...

difficultpickle Tue 24-Sep-13 14:06:55

We are looking at schools now. Ds has an involvement in that he comes to the open days and can express his opinion but he knows that they ultimate choice rests with me as his parent.

I never saw my secondary school until the first day of term (and I didn't expect to).

5madthings Tue 24-Sep-13 14:07:09

We decided, we looked around a few and took the boys with us but ultimately it was our decision which the boys are aware of. Ds2 would have wanted to go to a more local school where more friends are but we removed ds1 from there as we weren't happy about it.

Luckily one close friend has gone to the school we chose and he has quickly made other friends and seems happy, we picked the school we thought would best suit and support him.

At ten he would have just chosen on the basis of where friends are going/the sweets the tuck shop sold etc!

hardboiled Tue 24-Sep-13 14:45:50

He chose. And he happened to choose the school we would've chosen smile

3rdnparty Tue 24-Sep-13 14:56:52

If you've moved nearer to the school you prefer and hes worried about friends are there any local clubs /sports/scouts he can join before going to the school it may make it easier even if they are not friends at least he will recognise faces...

for us - it's our choice not ds's and we are probably going to have to move or go private- he knows already (yr4) that it is possible he won't be going to the one most of his class are going to.....

LaQueenForADay Tue 24-Sep-13 15:14:19

3rdparty that's very good advice, and it's what we've done with DD1 because we simply didn't know which of her school friends would pass the 11+ - so for the last year DD1 has played on the same cricket team as lots of the girls from our local prep school (who always send lots of girls to the grammar), and a lot of the girls from her tennis club also sat the 11+.

bruffin Tue 24-Sep-13 15:46:50

DS chose- he walked into the hallway at open evening and said "this is the school i want to go to" and we felt the same. It wasnt a local school and until a few years previously had a bad reputation but a new head changed everything. He had to take an aptitude test to get in which he passed and DD got in on sibling priority 2 years later. We half heartedly looked at local schools for her, but she wanted to follow DS.

BackforGood Tue 24-Sep-13 16:10:49

I think that's it's important to remember that whereas some posters on this thread, who say their dc can choose, will often be comparing 2 schools that are very similar to each other, whereas other families have schools that are very different to choose between. Makes a big difference to how happy you are with handing over such an important decision to a 10 yr old.

hogwash Tue 24-Sep-13 16:14:14

DS wanted to choose a school which would have involved a house move. He particularly liked the food they handed out on the open evening!

I'd keep your options open and go to the open evening. Make sure you see the fun things your son likes at the secondary school you like (in our case it was lego robotics). If you try and make the over-all experience enjoyable (ie go for a pizza afterwards) - he may be less anti it.

Also, in our case, lots of people said they may go to the local school (which isn't very good) but actually everyone dropped out until only one person was left to go and her parents withdrew her as she would have been alone.

Personally I think it's too important a decision for a 10 year old to make and if you have a really good school that you are genuinely in the catchment areas of, I'd do some heavy persuading.

Kahlua4me Tue 24-Sep-13 16:45:13

We are trying to decide between our 2 local schools. Both have good grades and reputation. One is a 15 minute walk from home and the other 25-30 mins.

There are equal pros and cons for both so may be swayed by ds' choice in the end although haven't told him that. I think he is too young to be allowed to make the choice by himself, but can work with us to choose which would suit him more.

3monkeys Tue 24-Sep-13 17:40:02

DD has just started year 7. We wanted her to go to grammar school if she passed, she wanted to go to a girls high school with most of her mates. We argued, DH and I stuck to our guns and insisted she went to the grammar. So far, it has been totally the right decision and the moaning about not going to the other school has virtually stopped. We didn't feel she could make that decision at 11

TheHattifattenersBarometer Tue 24-Sep-13 18:00:17

My Mother would tell you to put your foot down and choose the better school, her stubborn daughter (me) was desperate to go to them same comp all as her friends. My parent were regular church goers so I would easily have been able to go to a really good faith school that people would have given their high teeth to get into.

Even I wished that I'd gone to the better school, the school I chose didn't work out so well, it was also an improving school but the facilities were rubbish to the point to being distracting (windows that didn't shut properly in winter and holes in the portakabin walls).

The better school also had a sixth form and most kids saw A levels as a definite option.

In the long run I wish my parents had put their foot down, I can see why they didn't though, I think that I was probably capable of being a right PITA!

marzipanned Tue 24-Sep-13 19:10:15

I agree with FrauMoose. I made a shortlist of schools and visited them all with my Dad. He wanted me to go to the school that had the best results academically and was also free (one of those state schools that's effectively private as everyone who gets in has either had private primary or tutoring).

I knew it was wrong for me, and insisted on a school that had quite average results but what I felt was a much better atmosphere. I ended up doing very well there. I later learned that the school I had felt 'wrong' about was a complete pressure cooker and a hotbed of eating disorders etc.

All that said - I was a very aware and grown up 10 year old and didn't have close friends going to any of the shortlisted schools, so that wasn't an issue. In your circumstances I can see why you want your DS to go to the more academic school and I do think you should visit them both, together, and try to explain to him why that's your preference. Talk about the long run, the bigger picture, etc. I honestly do think that most 10/11 year olds are mature enough to think carefully about these things even if they will play stubborn on the surface.

VivaLeThrustBadger Tue 24-Sep-13 19:24:59

I kind of let dd choose.

There was one school we looked at and I said no way to, bad results, uninspiring teachers.

There's a really good school which dd refused to go and look at but I had a feeling it wouldn't suit her so didnt push it.

Then there were two other ok schools and I let her choose between them.

Sunnymeg Tue 24-Sep-13 20:09:57

We decided and told DS. DS was the only one to go there from his primary, all his friends went elsewhere. DH and I were more interested in DS getting the best possible education than letting him be with his mates. A lot of schools split up children in Year 7 so that they are in different forms from others they went to primary so they may hardly see their friends anyway. I think DS has actually benefitted from making a totally fresh start and has had a chance to reinvent himself. He didn't have the greatest time in a small village primary school and he loves the anonymity of a large busy secondary.

lljkk Tue 24-Sep-13 20:30:44

DC chose. We discussed lots of factors. I couldn't form an overwhelming preference anyway.

DS chose from the shortlist we had provided.

Around the end of Y6 he was in a terrible state about leaving his friends behind and wanted a different school. We stood by the decision, because friendships are fluid. True friends will find a way to stay in touch and meet up regardless of school. Finally, he will make new friends in the new school. Which he has, 3 weeks in. He is very happy with his school, even if he is the only one from his primary going there. He keeps in touch on instagram.

I let DS3 choose the order of his top three. He wanted to go to the same comp as his brothers, despite none of his friends going there. I would have chosen the other comp, where all his friends have gone, but my exH had recently left and DS3 wanted to stay with his brothers. He felt family was more important than friends. The grammar school he passed for was our back up option if he didn't get into either comp as it was a boys' school and in the next town. This was just to avoid the nearby sink comp.

I'm still not sure it was a wise decision. His group of 5 friends are all in the same tutor group at the second choice comp and DS is now very left out. sad But I hope he'll make new friends. Trouble is I won't know their parents, so I've lost a lot of my social network as well.

SummerHoliDidi Tue 24-Sep-13 20:51:46

I chose dd1's school. I will be choosing dd2's school when the time comes.

For us, the choice came down to logistics, there are 3 schools within walking distance, travel costs to other schools would be difficult for us to manage. Out of the 3 within walking distance, one is so awful I wouldn't send any child there (I did teaching practice there and it truly is terrible), one is really small and can't offer a large variety of options at GCSE, and they don't seem to have very many academic pupils. We went for the third, it seemed like the best fit for dd1.

Pupils from dd1's primary went to about 5 different schools though, so it wasn't a case of us sending her to a school without any of her friends.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 24-Sep-13 20:55:56

I would choose. Wouldn't even think twice.

Jaffakake Tue 24-Sep-13 21:11:05

My Dad chose my school - 3 miles away & I only knew 2 people. At the time I hated him for it cos my friends were all going to the school I could see from my bedroom window. He explained it was cos my cousins went there & weren't brought up by their parents or the school to have aspirations for their future. At the time that isn't mean a lot cos I was 11 & wanted to be cool!

In hindsight, he was right. It was a good experience to go & make new friends & that is something that has stood me in good stead ever since. It also meant that at 16, when moving to sixth form, not only was I more used to that new environment, I also had a friendship group from home & one from school & had friends all over the place. At 16 that's definitely cool (even if your friends aren't!)

There was no negotiation in out house. It was decided where I was going cos I was the child & they were my parents.

MrsTedMosby Tue 24-Sep-13 21:54:11

DS chose his school, I was quite happy for him to go the catchment school. He mentioned this one as his friend was going to look at it and he loved it from the second he walked in. As it happens, so did I, and I wasn't too impressed with the catchment school though it was our 2nd choice.

DS has done really well at the school, I'm really pleased with it.

I'm going through this again next year when my twins move up. At the moment they are insistent that they want to go to Ds1\s school, even though none of their friends will probably go there (only 1 other from primary went up with DS1 to his school) They don't seem bothered but we will look round the catchment school too.

I can't help feeling that I gave DS1 the choice so his brothers should be free to have that choice too.

I wasn't given a choice, my mum sent me to a school I really didn't want to go to, where none of my friends were going, and I had an awful few years as I'm so socially awkward. Then she sent my brother to the school she refused to let me go to! That's probably why I'm so keen to let my lot have their say.

Hulababy Tue 24-Sep-13 22:00:09

Mix of both really.

Took DD to the open days and 1:1 visits. Took her opinion into account and aded our own thoughts. discussed it together and agreed on first choices.

MiddleRageSpread Tue 24-Sep-13 22:01:45

We did it together - but in your shoes I would ensure that he ends up in your new location.

Because if his choice is mainly about friends in the longer term it will be better if he settles with friends local to your new house and has school friends near by.

Try the open days, go to any events, and see if you can help him make friends with a local (at your new home) child. Try Scouts, or something.

And tell him that now you have moved house his address is too far away to go to the one near his primary.

Mix of both. If multiple options for you to be able to get into, then select two/three of schools which you would be happy tf or them to go to. They make the initial decision- saying they have a preference for this school, for example, then sort through reasons WHY and hopefully this is therefore the best school available for them- something they and you want.

valiumredhead Tue 24-Sep-13 23:46:19

I've let ds choose but that's because our options are excellent, we're really fortunate where we live. Dh and I would decide if it was different though. Going with your mates wouldn't be a good enough reason imo of the school wasn't what we I wanted.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 00:15:07

Our choice was a combined effort - but DD was sensible and engaged in the process, and the one criterion that she herself discounted was where her friends would be going.

In your position I'd send my child to the better school, especially as it will probably also be the local one.

When I went to school back before the notion of 'choice', virtually all my primary friends went to the same school - but my class only contained one girl I didn't know that well (though we did become friends) and within a couple of years I had a whole new set, none of whom had been at my primary. Going to the same school as your mates is no guarantee that they'll stay your best mates. Its not something to base your secondary education on.

invicta Wed 25-Sep-13 08:07:38

We all went around the schools together, and had discussions on pro and cons. However, we had the final say, although fortunately wasn't in your situation.

Although friendship is important, children rarely stay with their junior school peers when they get to senior school, and make new friends. Also, we live in a very strong grammar school area, and the children ended up at nine different senior schools - not bad for a class of thirty!

alreadytaken Wed 25-Sep-13 08:55:39

I'd take him to see the school you prefer. Explain in detail why you feel it will be the best school for him and that he will still be able to see his old friends at social events. Ask him to try it and if he really hates it and doesn't make friends let him move.

I'd make a real effort to ensure that he does see his old friends - could they do scouts together?

KittiesInsane Wed 25-Sep-13 09:01:17

EllenJane, can you offer lifts to things outside school? Just having a couple of boys in the back of the car for 15 minutes on the way home from sports practice or whatever at least means they talk to each other.

In fact all of DS's friends are from extracurricular activities, not from his form group.

willyoulistentome Wed 25-Sep-13 09:46:04

I would only let DS decide if all the options were equal and I needed a tie breaker. In our case DS1 has SN and the school that would suit his needs best is not his first choice, purely as it's not where almost all his class mates will go. We live out of town and so are not in the same catchment as his buddies for secondary school. I can't say to him that his AS is this is the reason I want him to go there. He would be so upset. He doesn't really realise that his AS means he has special needs, as we have tried to big up the positives of AS and downplay the negatives to help his confidence. He would definitely get more support at our catchment school. Both academic and pastoral. It's a better school overall. Ofsted 'outstanding ' rated. Ony 600 pupils. Nearer. It's a no brainer for me. But he wants my second choice. rated 'good' but 900 pupils. "I am telling him that "the government" decides, and so that way I can deflect the blame if he goes to my first choice school.

I chose their schools, at primary and secondary, but talked with them about it, explained what was good about them, and basically sold it to them!
At one point DS expressed a preference to go to the secondary school that most of his friends from primary were going to, but fortunately quite a few of his best friends have ended up going to the school we preferred, and where his sister is. By the time we made the choices he was happy with what we put. And a few weeks in he's very happy there and making new friends too.
I think it would be hard if DC had strong preference that was different from your own, fortunately we've never experienced that. I think it's only natural and good that children care about their friendships but these need to be considered alongside other things. I've been impressed too at how well my Y10 DD has kept in touch with friends going to various other schools, as well as making some great new school friends.

catslave Wed 25-Sep-13 10:54:49

OP, I feel for you as we are having the same dilemma with ds1. He is one of the top in his year at primary (Yr5) but they are a weak cohort - I don't think he's stretching himself currently. Teachers are just glad he is quiet and behaves and does all he's told without extra demands on them...

Have been around the local secondary which is best in the area and which his primary feeds from as they are pretty much next door to each other. So all his friends will be going and he is dead set on it. The school is only a few years' old and so has great facilities and gets good result - very much improved recently, also - but has just had a possible bullying related suicide, and I know someone else whose daughter was text-bullied there. Call me shallow but I also hate the American-style layout with huge corridors filled with lockers.

I have been gently talking up the local private school and we are off to look round soon. I've also signed him up to a sports course that takes place there. I'm hoping he'll gradually come round if it's not entirely unfamiliar territory. Luckily we are in a small city so he will probably end up with all his friends at 6th form again anyway.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Wed 25-Sep-13 20:44:51

We're looking at the moment. Maths brained DC has so far read the prospectus for the three options and assigned a score to key features (his idea....) and has decided to do the same after we've been to look round. I've visited two schools on my own, I was OK about them both but that gut feeling was missing so I'm really not sure what to do at the moment.

topicofaffairs Wed 25-Sep-13 22:57:32

We have just been round one, head ignored us, a child started punching another child in head while serving us and a teacher told me if a child didn't get a subject in yr 7 they would never get past a g grade because lower teaching is set so low.

tiggytape Wed 25-Sep-13 23:16:01

So.... what you're saying topic is that it's a maybe? wink

In all seriousness that sounds bloody awful. There's nothing like being on best behaviour and keeping it positive for prospective parents is there?

Topseyt Wed 25-Sep-13 23:58:07

We made the choice, so no arguments. Simple as that. I am happy with all of our local schools.

My youngest went up to secondary school this year, and is doing fine there.

My choice. but also open to variants as parental choice is just an expensive piece of bollocks as far as I am concerned.

My choice being nearest school to me, nearest school to ExP, and hope to fuck it went my way. It did.

Solo Thu 26-Sep-13 00:08:00

I wanted school A, Ds wanted school C, so we went with school B.

topicofaffairs Thu 26-Sep-13 08:06:05

Exactly tiggy, I don't expect a royal fanfare but hello would be nice!

5madthings Thu 26-Sep-13 09:54:12

When looking at a school for ds1 we ruled a school out for similar reasons topic like you I didn't expect a fan fare but the staff basically seems like they couldn't be arsed, they didn't introduce themselves, or say hello etc, total contrast to the other schools where they spoke to us and ds1 and made an effort!

Flatiron Thu 26-Sep-13 10:26:25

Going to a new school with friends can be a double edged sword, tbh. I remember (still!) going to my new school and being put in the same class as a friend smile, who promptly spied greener grass, and went off with new friends, blanking me sad. (I did make new friends, too, in case you were worrying, wink but it just goes to show....!)

KittiesInsane Thu 26-Sep-13 11:03:34

Yes, DS went to a school with his mates and was very hurt when they promptly abandoned him.

DD has gone to a school where she knew no one, and has made half a dozen new friends already, and arranged to meet up with her old friends at weekends.

bruffin Thu 26-Sep-13 11:19:25

Same happened to my DS Flatiron and KittiesInsane. Took him a long time to trust friends again.

Flatiron Thu 26-Sep-13 11:48:53

Hope both your DSs are happy at school now, Kitties and Bruffin. Children can be so cruel sometimes, but I suppose we survived...

KittiesInsane Thu 26-Sep-13 12:36:02

DS is very happy now, thanks, but he moved schools in the end (there was some unpleasant bullying going on). Not sure if that counts as 'survival', maybe more as a lesson in not putting up with a bad situation.

bruffin Thu 26-Sep-13 12:52:44

Ds is 6th form and one of the boys is now one of his close friends. The school has really good pastetal care and he got through it and was happy with everything but the friend situation.

TrueStory Sat 28-Sep-13 05:24:53

just wanted to say thank you for this thread. was in v. similar position to you OP, and this has helped.

Mum2Luke Tue 01-Oct-13 22:32:44

We went to a couple of schools last yr before deciding (ds first choice and 3rd choice the second choice being 5 mile away) and fortunately he wanted to go to the school at the back of where we live, 5 mins walk down the path.

Its is a former Grammar (famous old boy being Mick Hucknall of Simply Red group) and now an academy but has kept the grammar school ethos of discipline (a few rules a bit OTT but there you go). It has good sports facilities and is a boys school 11-16 and a separate mixed 6th form which is in the grounds of the main school boundary.

Ds has settled well and is going to rugby training as well as doing PE in the school day, they seem to have at least 3 sessions a week. There is a good amount of homework but so far he's not had more than 3 subjects per night due to good planning wink

see www.audenshawschool.org.uk for details of the school

KittiesInsane Tue 01-Oct-13 22:35:09

Mum2Luke, are you sure you want to put your son's name and school on this thread?

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