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To change schools as DD isn't making friends

(25 Posts)
Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 21:08:46

I've name changed as information is a bit identifying.

Eldest DD finds socialising tough going, things were fine in reception and she had a nice little group of friends, however all three have moved away during year 1 and she has really struggled finding new ones - she is now finishing year 2.

We are moving house 15 mins walk away, but literally round the corner from a very different school to current one.

Present school is fantastically run and resourced, has a very large four class entry per year and is 99.8% BME.

Potential school is in a very old inflexible building, doesn't qualify for the same level of funding as current school and is 99.5% White British.

Academically dd is flying and couldn't be more pleased with her progress, but socially she just seems to be shrinking. We've been bolstering her confidence by getting her involved in things outside school, but I feel she is really missing out and she just can't make any headway in friendships.

My thinking is that if she has a similar background to other pupils she may have an easier time of it - or that perhaps she is always going to struggle.

AIBU to change schools in the hope she'll be happier in a smaller school environment?

Howmanywotwots Mon 15-Jun-15 21:15:55

Ah bless her. If she is unhappy I would consider switching too. It's only going to get harder as she gets older to switch schools if you decide further down the line.

I also think it's easier to recreate yourself in a new environment

FrizzyPig Mon 15-Jun-15 21:17:16

I would.

I've changed my DD's school 4 times- due to house moves and family circumstances.

The first move was when we moved house and she went from being in a great circle of friends, to having none at all. I persevered for 2 years but when she got to the juniors, I knew that it wasn't fair on her (I also knew that it wasn't a social or communication problem as she was fine in her previous school) so I moved her from a very in demand school to our local not so great school.

She was invited to a sleepover the first weekend! smile

I then had to move her again due to different family circumstances, and she made a group of friends instantly.

That second school she was in just didn't suit her and I'm so glad I moved her. We did it (the first time) at the beginning of the school year so it wasn't such a big leap.

DayLillie Mon 15-Jun-15 21:18:36

I have been talking to my 23 yr old about his primary school. He had a lot of trouble with bullying, it was a small class and he was left with no friends.

We were trying to remember the names of teachers he had. He hasn't a clue (apart from one), and prefers to forget the rest of it. I used to agonise over whether to move him and at the time they used to say the problems caused by moving outweighed the advantages. I wish I had though. I would have liked him to have some good memories.

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Jun-15 21:19:59

It might be worth swapping to a smaller school, but then again she'll have less choice of potential friends I suppose.

I have to say I'm stunned that two schools that are 15 minutes walk apart are so different in their intake.

Are they both state schools?

manicinsomniac Mon 15-Jun-15 21:20:05

I think this is very hard to answer without knowing your daughter.

Are you objective enough to be able to see if she is the kind of child who will always struggle to fit in or if she has just had some bad luck in this school with losing her friends after the other children had already made friendship groups.

I think year 2 is a little young to be cliquey and exclusive (ime that begins in Y4) but I could be wrong. If your daughter is a relatively friendly, sociable child who 'passes' with other children rather than seeming different for any reason then there is no reason to think she wouldn't make friends quickly at a new school. new girls are novelties to children, everyone wants to be friends with them. Sadly, for those who the children quickly perceive to be 'different' the fascination fades and they start getting left out. If that is likely to happen to your daughter I'd leave her where she is - better to struggling to find friends in a familiar environment than still to be struggling to find friends in an unfamiliar one.

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 21:20:45

Thanks both of you for responding that a move could be a good thing, and might actually help!
FizzyPig so glad things worked out so well for your daughter : )

The current school has been fantastic in many ways - but I need the approval of current Head teacher for the move and I'm dreading the conversation quite frankly!

FrizzyPig Mon 15-Jun-15 21:23:19

Sorry, missed the bit about ethnicity.

It's not something I like to mention for fear of being labelled racist, but I do think ethnicity played a part with my DD too.

At the school where she had no friends, although the majority of the school were White British, most of the girls in her class came from the same minority ethnic background and most of these girls socialised together with their families outside of school.

At the two subsequent schools my DD attended, these schools had a much higher EAL percentage, but the children were from a variety of backgrounds and all the children played together inside and outside of school, regardless of ethnicity/ religion.

FrizzyPig Mon 15-Jun-15 21:26:15

Also, your Head doesn't have to authorise anything.

You simply write a letter detailing what day you will be leaving and where your daughter will be attending school. There's nothing your current school can do about it.

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 21:27:36

worra - yes, both state schools and the level of division is that stark! Basically because the second school is tiny, it has a tiny catchment and is also badged as Church of England. Existing school is a well established outstanding multi cultural school (the only one in a large growing town.

manic I think she is going to struggle anyway, she is very brittle and has a very clear idea of what she considers fair - but she is also incredibly kind, considerate and loyal.

Mickeysmonkey Mon 15-Jun-15 21:30:47

I could have written your post. We have just done it! My daughter starts grade 2 (age 7) in September at a different school. Academically she is flying but struggling socially. At her preschool she was fighting friends off and she's always been incredibly confident and outgoing, but she just hasn't gelled well with this group (small private school -only 28 girls in the year). Strangely enough, I haven't really gelled with the other parents - it's a very "yummy mummy" crowd, so I am wondering if she is struggling with "fit" just like I am. When a six year old says to you, "It's a good school, but not a good fit for me", you have to listen.

We have moved her to a similarly small school but the sense of community is worlds away from the old one. Our daughter shadowed for the day and came home with a friends phone number! Already had a couple of play dates and we were invited to an "end of first grade" party for parents and children. It was such a relief. We've found our people and we are much happier.

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 21:31:00

Frizzy as it's an in borough transfer the form needs to be signed by the headteacher before the admissions team will accept it.

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 21:36:19

mickeysmonkey I'm so glad to hear it worked out well for you.

I may ask if it's possible for dd to visit the school for a day and see how she finds it.

I have a younger DD who makes friends as soon as your backs turned so I don't have to many concerns with her.

Earthbound Mon 15-Jun-15 21:44:30

Frizzy as it's an in borough transfer the form needs to be signed by the headteacher before the admissions team will accept it.

They can't refuse to sign it though honestly. If you want your DD to change school that really is nothing to do with the present HT. They need to sign the in-year transfer form as a formality but you are not asking their permission.

missymayhemsmum Mon 15-Jun-15 21:47:28

As you need the head's signature, why not have a chat with DD's teacher and the Head and see what they think? A good teacher will already be aware, 4 form entry gives lots of scope for remixing classes and she might be able to go into year 3 with a group of children and teachers/TA she feels confident with.

ragged Mon 15-Jun-15 21:47:47

You're moving house & new school will be a lot more convenient. You don't need another explanation for HT.

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 21:48:46

Thanks earthbound that's really reassuring!

tumsup Mon 15-Jun-15 21:54:27

I would try the new school. My dd had friendship problems at the end of y2. What became clear was that the cliques were very set by then and she had no alternatives. It was going to be very hard to penetrate the existing groups.

Whereas a new dc is exciting for everybody and they're often given a warm welcome and extra support to integrate. I would at least see if I could get a trial day so that she could see what it was like.

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 22:01:01

Missy I've mentioned it at parents evenings and she has gone to a lunchtime session group to help but this year they've said they have no concerns. She spends a lot of time playing with her sister but theyll be in separate playgrounds next year.

SeenSheen Mon 15-Jun-15 22:15:13

It sounds to me like your daughter would be happier in a smaller school where she could get to know who everyone was and they her. The cliques sound very off-putting and I would not be happy with that situation.And if the new school is also closer well I think you can only win with this move.

Blazing88 Mon 15-Jun-15 22:19:40

I'd move her.

FWIW, I was a teacher for years (primary) and new children generally settle very quickly. In every school I have worked, a mentor has been assigned, and tbh children love the novelty of a new child in the class.

A smaller school is always more friendly in my experience.

Have you asked your daughter for her opinion?

Soundofsettling Mon 15-Jun-15 22:56:48

blazing I've kept it quite light but she's thrilled by the idea, she's had some holiday clubs there and really liked it.

Thanks everyone for sharing, its really helped with a decision I'm tying myself up in knots about. Going to get the ball rolling and get those forms sorted smile

DayLillie Tue 16-Jun-15 11:56:11

smile

That sounds very positive.

Blazing88 Tue 16-Jun-15 13:33:15

Brilliant. Sounds like that's the plan then smile

Go with your gut instinct. Honestly. Moving schools is no biggie. Kids are incredibly adaptable. Could be the making of her smile

whotookalltheusernames Tue 16-Jun-15 13:58:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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