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To not understand why kids in our area keep moving schools?

(46 Posts)
hilbobaggins Sat 28-Oct-17 00:00:26

I live in London. There are a LOT of schools in our area, as you’d expect for such a populated area. DS is in Year 1.

I’ve now lost track of the number of kids who’ve moved to other schools, have joined from other schools, or are on waiting lists to go elsewhere. It’s like a constant merry-go-round. 2 more kids from his class have just gone to the local “outstanding” school, and this evening I bumped into a parent from his old nursery who’s just moved his kid from the local terribly-good Catholic school to the local terribly-good C of E. I can’t help wondering what all these parents are looking for from a school, and if they’ll ever find it? DS is my one and only, so this is the first exposure to this system and I’m just surprised at the dissatisfaction so many people seem to have. My last contact with school was when my cousins went 20 odd years ago and I don’t remember this level of “are they or aren’t they in the right school” obsession. I may be misremembering but it seemed back then you just went to the nearest school and stayed there.

Something about all this movement also makes me feel a bit insecure -like maybe I’m missing something. I think our school seems ok - a bit disorganised at times, but teachers seem nice, DS is reasonably happy, has made friends and is making what seems to be decent progress. They are relaxed about homework, which I quite like. Communication isn’t the best, but the teachers have been happy to speak with me when I’ve had questions. My one small gripe is that the curriculum with its endless phonics, writing and maths seems rather boring for this age group but my understanding was that this is more to do with national curriculum than local schools.

There is also a fair bit of grizzling at the school gates about lack of communication, the fact that the teachers didn’t introduce themselves at the beginning of term, the fact that they “don’t really seem to care”. I have a different impression, but are my standards just too low - or are theirs too high - or is this typical of local areas where there’s lots of choice?

Hebenon Sat 28-Oct-17 00:05:10

I think you sound very sensible! DD went to what was supposed to be our worst local school at primary and is still there, though we could have moved her multiple times judging by all the chopping and changing. I know kids who've been to four schools by they time they leave primary. They are the outliers but I know TONS who have been to two of three schools. I cannot see the point myself. DD is doing fine (in fact, better than fine if I am allowed to boast a bit) and I am pretty sure the parental angst is not doing children any favours.

Hebenon Sat 28-Oct-17 00:05:32

I'm in London too, btw. It really is a bit mad.

Hebenon Sat 28-Oct-17 00:06:33

Sorry, should say two OR three schools.

SparklyLeprechaun Sat 28-Oct-17 00:10:04

London school here as well, in an area with a few very good primaries. DS's 3 closest friends have moved schools at the beginning of this year. One was generally dissatisfied with the school, another moved to a school with better after school provisions and the other moved to a private school. All valid reasons for their individual circumstances. I also know a child who moved schools because the new school was 5 minutes closer to home (we are talking 5 minutes walk instead of 10) - that I don't get.

KichenDancefloor Sat 28-Oct-17 00:38:30

Outside London here. My DH works in a primary and there are a handful of parents who move their children every year. It is usually to do with their personal (exaggerated) gripes with the school rather than their children’s wishes.

I think it is a bit of a consumerist “fine, I’ll take my business elsewhere” mentality.

I don’t get it at all. No school, teacher or leadership team is perfect and you can find fault wherever you go if you are so inclined.

I would only move my children if they were desperately unhappy and we couldn’t resolve it with the school.

Saracen Sat 28-Oct-17 08:06:00

Presumably some of the local schools are oversubscribed? If so, it is possible that the parents have had to settle for a school which was really really impractical for them, and jump at the chance of one which is more viable.

I'd consider changing schools if that's what I had to do in order to get all my kids into the same school, for example. Or if the childminder I really wanted/needed could only pick up from a certain school. Or the school had the breakfast club or afterschool club I needed. Or if it made the school run much shorter.

Likewise if my kid was being badly bullied or was otherwise thoroughly miserable at school, I wouldn't want to prolong my child's suffering.

2ndSopranos Sat 28-Oct-17 08:33:09

I'm in the nw but I've known similar. I honestly don't know what people expect sometimes! I know someone who took her dc out of four nurseries and two primary schools all by y3 because there was something she didn't like (mostly the settings' repeated attempts to settle her dc). Any suggestion of upset and the dc was removed. The dc in question is homeschooled. That's fine, but from the age of 3 the dc has been removed from anything not liked immediately and I do worry about resilience.

I know another family who nearly removed their dd in reception because they weren't getting the blow-by-blow account of their pfb's day as from their private nursery. The dad was even demanding to know why teachers were off sick (for one day...) and the qualifications of any parent reading volunteers. He thought it disgraceful that reports were typed and reckoned a decent school would provide the more personal touch of a handwritten report (I told him that in 2013 as it was then I would judge someone for writing 33 6 page reports by hand and would he happily do that at work) He's calmed down a bit but still thinks the school is useless.

Lethaldrizzle Sat 28-Oct-17 08:41:18

I agree op it's a load of high falutin' bollox. I think most state primaries are more or less the same and none of them are perfect - and children thrive on stability. Moving them around is crazy although I freely admit there will be some special cases where it's in the child's interests to move but it's certainly not something I'd consider lightly.

InvisibleKittenAttack Sat 28-Oct-17 08:51:40

I know religious people who always wanted a faith school, so moved their dc at the start of year 1 when a place in the faith school became available, that they'd lived too far away from to get their dc in to for reception intake.

I know others who got their 2nd or 3rd choice school, when the 1st was closer/more practical to get to, so when the 1st choice place came available, moved their dc.

London is probably more exaggerated as there will be a lot of people who didn't get their first or second choice for reception and then stayed on the waiting list for their preferred place, in other parts of the country where you are more likely to get your 1st choice, it's less of an issue,

Ktown Sat 28-Oct-17 08:53:02

I imagine if mumsnet is anything to go by that parents embarrass themselves after throwing some daft strop, and then move the child.
Considering the number of offended and insulted parents I am surprised it doesn't happen more.
Unless there is bullyignit must be really upsetting for the child.

InvisibleKittenAttack Sat 28-Oct-17 08:54:53

Oh and we didn't get our 1st choice with dc1, when he was about to start year 2, we got a call from the 1st choice offering us a place. We turned it down as he was settled and 2nd choice school is very good - we'd picked 1st choice for practical reasons of the childcare offered for that school, in the mean time I'd stopped working so it didn't factor in anymore.

Frazzled2207 Sat 28-Oct-17 08:55:55

I think you’ve got a sensible attitude.
We’re in south manchester and don’t see much of this but by and large the parents don’t seem particularly demanding round here.

But I know several who are literally obsessed with getting their kid into the “best” (statistically) school in the borough. Our school has a pretty good ofsted, is in a reasonable area, is very close to our house and seems to have a nice atmosphere. Was a no-brainer for us and I can’t imagine moving the kids unless either they or we were extremely unhappy.

HipToBeSquare Sat 28-Oct-17 08:58:39

I'm in London too and have seen lots at dd's school. However in y1 dd had FIVE teachers and this year she has an incredibly inexperienced teacher who some parents have lost faith in.

We are planning to leave London soon otherwise I might be tempted to move her too.

JaniceBattersby Sat 28-Oct-17 09:01:59

I agree with Kitchen:

“I think it is a bit of a consumerist “fine, I’ll take my business elsewhere” mentality.”

My bonkers SIL moved her daughter from our school because she wasn’t allowed to wear the shoes she wanted. It ended in a standoff, SIL threatened to move her and just would not back down. Ridiculous, and so disruptive.

I’d only move my kids if I moved house or had a massively good reason.

KingscoteStaff Sat 28-Oct-17 09:03:29

We are oversubscribed with a massive waiting list so as soon as a space opens up, a child from one of the other local schools transfers in.

I teach Year Six, and a new child joined us 2 weeks into this term having been on the waiting list SINCE RECEPTION. They spent reception and Year One in their original allocated school (3rd choice), moved to their 2nd choice for Years 2 -5 and then to us.

Mum told me at Parents' Evening that I had 2 terms to work the '(school name)'s magic' on her son...

AppleKatie Sat 28-Oct-17 09:08:58

London is the worst for this. We moved out before DC1 was school age only partly of course because of this. The stress is unbearable and the circles people jump in. Our new area is much more sensible, of course people still look for the best opportunities for their kids but london parent culture is somehow different worse than just that.

MaisyPops Sat 28-Oct-17 09:10:01

Someone moving once makes sense e.g. waiting for a place at a faith school/chosen school and have ended up somewhere else so they move when a place is available.

On perpetual moving:
“I think it is a bit of a consumerist “fine, I’ll take my business elsewhere” mentality.”
I agree with this too.
There are some people who:
A) think schools should be grateful they have placed their child there and become unreasonable pains in the backside and then when their needa aren't met they think anothet school will indulge them
B) they have a minor diaagreement with the school but rather than deal with it sensibly they kick off and then leave in a strop
C) they are under the impression that a perfect school exists and keep searching like the holy gail. (I work in schools. None are perfect).

hilbobaggins Sat 28-Oct-17 09:12:46

Thanks, this has been reassuring. I totally agree that in extreme cases of unhappiness or bullying that can’t be resolved, it makes sense to move a child and I would do the same, but that really isn’t the case in the any of these situations among the parents I’ve spoken to. Part of me wants to say, if you’re unhappy why don’t you get involved, join the PSA, speak up and help make the school better? Oh well, thanks for all your responses. Its definitely helpful!

MaisyPops Sat 28-Oct-17 09:18:22

Part of me wants to say, if you’re unhappy why don’t you get involved, join the PSA, speak up and help make the school better
Because some people feel like things should be as they want it as a bespoke service for them. They are far too grand and important and busy to get involved.

We find the same thing happens in churches. There are no perfect churches (an old vicar of mine said if you found a perfrct church don't attend because you'd only ruin it grin). Churches are created by people doing their bit and you won't like everything. But there are some people who go church to church until they think they find the 'right one', not seeing that they actually could do with spending real time and getting involved before deciding it's wrong for them. No pleasing some people.

SallyAnneMarie Sat 28-Oct-17 09:19:15

League tables.

Ofsted reports.

Competitive parenting.

The expectation that every child should be a genius. No one is average and shock horror if your child is below average.

The expectations placed on parents to be massively involved in their child's education (my parents left that to teachers)

Availability of schools in densely populated areas. We have several within a stones throw of our house, but could o let get into one.

Ellybellyboo Sat 28-Oct-17 09:20:25

“I think it is a bit of a consumerist “fine, I’ll take my business elsewhere” mentality.”

Yes I agree too.

We have 4 small primary schools in our town and there's quite a bit of chopping and changing between the schools.

The head of my daughters' primary school had an amazing ability to rub people up the wrong way and lots of parents moved schools due to various ding dongs with her. She is really well meaning, and she dragged the school out of special measures and it's now good with some bits outstanding and the kids liked her. My daughters were happy and doing well, so we just got on with it. Lots of parents didn't like her "throwing her weight around" so moved their kids.

Mine are now both in high school and it doesn't seem to happen

MoreCheerfulMonica Sat 28-Oct-17 09:22:14

We're in London too.

We changed primary school once because the first one really wasn't meeting DC's needs or even keeping them safe.

Graceflorrick Sat 28-Oct-17 09:24:54

We’ve had three DC leave my DDs class since the start of term. Two to private schools, one family moved.

SallyAnneMarie Sat 28-Oct-17 09:26:12

I also think the government has done a good job to undermine teaching as a profession to the point some parents have little respect for them. I see teachers and parents as a partnership. So on the rare occasion there is an issue I would go in and speak to the teacher to resolve it together. Many people just go for the jugular with writing shitty letters.

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