To consider moving my daughter from private all girls school to state?

(120 Posts)
lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 12:38:36

She's currently in year 7. Academically, I cannot fault the school at all and she is doing great there, and in sport too. She's also very gifted at art and has the art exhibition. Her teacher feels that she has huge potential for a very successful career in this area.

My problem with the school is to do with the social side. Firstly, there is a child in dd's class who has autism and I have heard that some of the parents of other girls are unhappy about this and have encouraged their daughters to wind her up so that she has a melt down and is expelled. I think this is horrible bullying and I'm disgusted the parents are encouraging it. The parents are also trying to get a petition for her to be removed from the school.

Another thing I am sick of is the stealing. My daughter has had so many of her things stolen including uniform and stationary that she bought with her own money, PE kit, swimming kit etc. And she's not the only one - people are always having their stuff lifted by light fingered people who are never found out. I always raise it with the school and they do their best to address it but usually there is nothing they can do except speak sternly about it.

There are only 20 girls in the year and my daughter gets on with most of them but doesn't really feel that any of them are people she particularly likes and some of her friends seem controlling. They all live miles apart as well.

There is a very good state school nearby which I could move her to. But I'm not sure if I'm overreacting. As I say, academically her school is excellent and she has learned in a short space of time to work efficiently and revise for exams effectively. I am just not sure I want her to be in a school where many of the children have so little respect for anyone. Equally, though I would feel bad if I moved her and she didn't settle (she's been at all girl schools since she was 4). Or if her work went downhill as a result. Or if the Art department wasn't good enough, given that it's the thing she's most passionate about.

Has anyone else been in this situation?

BlueJug Wed 27-Apr-16 12:47:43

Whether it is state or private is neither here nor there; it does not sound like the right school for your child. If there are other options which look as though they would work better for her you should look at moving her.

tangerino Wed 27-Apr-16 12:50:37

Have you spoken to the school about all this?

Re the girl with autism- that is appalling, obviously. Is the source you heard from reliable?

Re things going missing- IME things do go missing a lot at school, especially PE kit and stationery- are you sure it is being stolen rather than lost/borrowed? (Obviously it's not ok to borrow someone's kit without permission then not return it but I think you'd struggle to find a school where this doesn't happen.)

ParanoidGynodroid Wed 27-Apr-16 12:53:15

I'd avoid your DDs school like the plague. The parents and other pupils sound awful! That poor autistic child.
Could you visit your local comp, chat to see people and see their facilities? It may give you a better idea of what to expect.

ParanoidGynodroid Wed 27-Apr-16 12:53:40

*chat to some

lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 12:55:37

Yes, it's from a reliable source. I know things go missing but yes, they are being stolen. Literally a whole kit lifted, never to be seen again. And people opening her school bag and taking things out. She went to the loo last week, came back and a girl had taken her pencil case and broken it and it was one of those expensive ones from Smiggle. It doesn't happen to my other child (different school with more children) and my friends say the frequency of it is far more than they've ever been aware of at their children's school.

lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 12:57:11

Also last year a child (never found out who) stole money raised for charity.

tangerino Wed 27-Apr-16 12:57:45

That sounds awful, and rather like bullying rather than "just" stealing. I'd either be making sure the school addresses it or moving her. The thing about the autistic girl- dreadful.

Cakescakescakes Wed 27-Apr-16 12:58:26

Get her out. That is a toxic environment in which to be spending her formative years. And the treatment of the girl with autism is just beyond words.

MunchCrunch01 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:01:40

tbh, I'd talk about your concerns to the school first and foremost, they should have a plan to address both things. Given how long your daughter's been there, I wouldn't move her at this stage. Your daughter can learn how not to behave from her peers. OTOH, you could check out the art dept in the state options? I'd be worried about your daughter getting bullied if moving from private to state at that age mostly, and I'd also think although the bullying of the other child is unacceptable and the stealing is awful, the risks of moving her are higher than the risks of staying, imo.

lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:10:49

She's only been there for two years - she was at another girls school before that. Why would she get bullied for having attended a private school? We are not a well off family - she is at the school on financial assistance.

The school are always commenting on how well behaved she is and how kind. But her behaviour is what I would expect from a child of her age! My 7 year old wouldn't dream of stealing people's stuff.

Alwayschanging1 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:13:13

I took my DD out of a private school at the end of y6 because I was very unhappy about the social side - academically she was doing really well. I have no regrets at all. I think she has done much better in the state system because she is much happier. Leaving this year to go to Oxford so it has not held her back.

IdBuyThatForADollar Wed 27-Apr-16 13:13:51

My DD is in a private girls' school (Y5) with 18 other girls in her year. We're moving house soon and she'll be going back into state education when we do.

While I can't knock the brilliance of the teaching, the variety of activities she gets to do and the provision for her specialism, the competitive atmosphere has knocked her for 6. There's (I suppose inevitably) a bias towards certain types of achievement and it's not always beneficial to the girls.

I'm also waiting for assessment and (I think inevitable) diagnosis of an ASD and anxiety related disorder for my DD. Although the school has been really helpful and responsive to her needs they aren't really geared up for that kind of provision, as there aren't many girls in the school with those issues. I also think the competitive atmosphere is anxiety inducing for her. She's also, obvs, my special snowflake, and quite noticeably different sometimes in behaviour from her peers. Behaviour seems to be very 'policed' by the girls in the school, so her idiosyncrasies are noticed and she's been subject to some quite nasty bullying.

I know all those things can happen in state schools, but she was previously in state education and having a wider cross section of society seemed to mean that 'difference' was more tolerated and generally considered 'interesting' rather than something to be reined in.

FWIW, there seems to be a lot of petty theft at my DD's current school compared to her previous school. But that's anecdata at its finest.

Anyway, in our case academic excellence isn't the only thing my DD needs to thrive at school, she needs a more inclusive environment, so we're going to make a change. She'll be going to whichever state primary can take her for year 6 and then to one of 2 state schools in the new area depending on which seems like the best fit.

gandalf456 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:20:01

Does she struggle normally with regards to the academic side? My DD is year 7, too, and is now in an all girls' school but it's a state one and one with a very good reputation in a rich area.

She didn't struggle socially at her co-ed primary but did academically hence my choice of school. The academic side has pulled up considerably but is coming home complaining about a couple of girls. They are going through a phase of wanting to be 'cool' and having the latest stuff whereas DD is a bit tomboyish and a bit immature, too.

I hear year 7 is a funny year. That said, the comments about the poor autistic girl would really put me off and I agree with those who say raise it with the school.

Would changing classes be an option? Or is there only one class per year?

Elle80 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:20:39

I would be fuming; particularly about the encouragement from parents to bully and harass a SEN child.
If I were you I'd have a look around the local comprehensive, and speak to your child about how she feels about attending a new school.
Also, do you have any other private schools near you (possibly co-ed) that might suit her and you better?

lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:23:54

There are two classes in her year and the other class is actually worse (wrt behaviour and attitude of the parents).

She's an able child, academically and has generally sailed through so far.

gandalf456 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:26:46

Sounds as if you're pretty much decided on moving her from what you say about both classes. If she's able, she should do fine wherever she is. How does she feel about it?

Mishaps Wed 27-Apr-16 13:27:43

I am shocked at the approach to the lass with autism - not the sort of values that I would want a child of mine absorbing. I suppose these parents think that if they are paying they should expect only "perfect" children in class - nauseating frankly.
Have you talked to the head about this?

One of my DDs went to an all-girls secondary school in the private sector and it was the biggest mistake we ever made. It was over-competitive and made my very bright DD feel like an also-ran.

Moving schools is always a jump into the unknown. You really do not know how it is going to go - so much depends on whether she finds girls to pal up with. With one of my DDs we arranged for her to spend a day there as a trial - she came home desperate to go there!

MunchCrunch01 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:28:12

I went to a prep school, and some children left at 11 to go to state schools and we heard from people that stayed in contact they were badly bullied for being posh - was quite a rough area though. Who says that'll happen to your DD? I've got no idea but it's a possibility. Anything that makes you seem different can be a source for bullying. I'm merely saying that these decisions are complicated, and it wouldn't be enough for me to risk it yet.

Gruach Wed 27-Apr-16 13:33:58

Not answering your actual question but I'd move her because the year group (and so presumably the school) is too small. And I'd imagine that a proportion of the other problems stem from that.

It sounds a rather closed and stultifying society to be a part of. And for a child with talent and ambition - how much choice and challenge would she have through GCSEs and A' Levels?

Whether you mean a scholarship or a bursary or both by financial assistance - if she and you have been able to access them at this school there's a good chance you could access them elsewhere. Certainly move to the state school if you're confident it will be what you want - but there's no harm in investigating other options.

IdBuyThatForADollar Wed 27-Apr-16 13:35:52

It sounds a rather closed and stultifying society to be a part of.

That sums up, in a sentence rather than my rambling post, how I feel about my DD's current school.

Boredworkingmum020 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:36:22

OMG get her out now. Academic achievement means nothing if she is seeing criminal and abusive behaviour at school normalised. We have a similar state secondary school near us. Excellent results but stories of SEN teachers laughing at SEN pupils, excluding anyone that wouldn't get top marks entering exams and drug use (prob due to stress from pushy parents) meant I went out of my way to make sure DS didn't go to the linked primary school. I couldn't risk my child seeing this sort of behaviour as any way acceptable

lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:43:46

The state school that I'm considering has a waiting list of 7. Apparently I can apply directly to them. We already know a few children who are there at the moment who would be in her year.

There are some other private schools around that we could consider. But I don't like the feeling I got from some of those either, which is why I chose the current school (which is a 30 minute bus journey every day)

whois Wed 27-Apr-16 13:50:05

Academic achievement means nothing if she is seeing criminal and abusive behaviour at school normalised

Exactly.

You can use a fraction of the fee cash to pay for additional tutoring, outside school art sessions, music and sports to more closely match the state v private provision.

lottielou7 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:52:01

The issue with what is going on with the girl who has autism is of particular concern to me because dd has two siblings with SEN. I have started to feel that a toxic environment is what it is. Some of the parents seem very nice in her year but throughout the school there is a feeling of entitled, spoiled people.

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