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How long can it take a child to settle in a new school...?

(18 Posts)
nicename Fri 08-Nov-13 14:48:11

Year 5. It all started out so well too! He began to get a bit antsy by the end of the half term (some real illnesses, some probably imagines).

He is now in full meltdown mode on the way to school. The mornings start out fine, then deteriorate as we get to leaving time (I feel sick, my tummy hurts...), then if we are really unlucky, tears at school.

I'm pretty sure its not a bullying issue - maybe he just misses his old school too much (he was there since Reception).

Is it normal to find it so hard to settle?

Ferguson Fri 08-Nov-13 19:07:13

He went there in September presumably? There could be some aspects of the school that distresses him - particular staff, or children; activities he has to do now, that he didn't do before. Even the building, lunch hall, or toilets could be not to his liking.

If his work is going all right, he doesn't get told off too much, is happy in PE, games, or playtime then it shouldn't take too long to settle. Is he particularly sensitive?

See if he can explain to you what the problem is; draw pictures of it, if he doesn't want to talk about it. If that doesn't get to the bottom of, try and see his teacher or a TA who works with him.

herdream1 Fri 08-Nov-13 20:25:58

My DD started a new school this Sep (year 4). She has been generally happy but into a few weeks, she was rather deflated. It seemed she was disappointed that she was not the centre of attention any more and found hard to know her place among the children whom she did not know yet. No child was nasty to her or anything, but I think she felt a bit let down, as her expectation was very high for the new school. She has never wanted not to go to school however, so I am lucky. I feel that changing school for 8 year old is a very big thing mentally & physically (she is ever so tired after school) and try to talk to her about things happening at school as much as I can.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Nov-13 20:50:27

From Sept, 3-6 months, depending on personality.

From Jan, not fully settled until the new academic year, but OK-ish, as long as they are accepted by class, and are able to make friends easily. A lot depends on the personality of the child. The dynamics and gender balance of the existing class also have a significant effect on a new child's ability to make friends.

Any time in summer term - not a good time to move. Friendship groups firmly in place (particularly in upper years). End of term activities depend on friendship/sporting/institutional bonds. It is not a wise decision to move children to new schools late in the summer term ' to meet friends for next year' - children don't work like that!

The most important thing for a child joining a new school is making friends and feeling happy and settled in the classroom. It is only when the child feels happy and secure that they can fulfil their academic potential. The better the school deals with transition, the happier the children; the quicker the settling in period, the better the progress.

nicename Sat 09-Nov-13 17:13:16

I am suspecting that one issue is that one teacher threatens the kids with 'X marks' for forgetting their work, getting things wrong etc. I've checked wilth other mums and she really does dish them out! DS lives in fear of the sodding house point system. He had some work for her this weekend and is crying that he might make a mistake.

I'd love the shove that X mark where the sun doesn't shine. Why scare the kids so much? His old school was very softly soflty cuddly in comparison, and he is a bit of a softy.

DalmationDots Mon 11-Nov-13 20:57:51

Agree with the novelty factor going/feeling deflated reasons. When a child starts there is a huge effort to include them, they are exciting to play with and everyone wants to be your best friend. Then a few weeks go by and you are less special and new, friendships settle down again and the new child can feel a bit lost and more pressure as less allowances are being made that they are 'new'.
It can take until christmas for things to calm and your DS to be more established. Not the 'new boy' anymore.
This house point thing sounds a bit OTT. Fair enough X marks for breaking school rules, but for getting something wrong!!

Are you sure there aren't any other issues? Have you had children over to play? Does he do any clubs? Does he seem to get on with the other boys in the class?

nicename Mon 11-Nov-13 22:16:19

He's in a few clubs, which he enjoys and we've just had a playdate with several boys (all nice kids - played well, got on, enjoyed the date).

Some classes he just doesn't like - artsy ones for some reson. He isn't all that artistic but it never really bothered him before.

We've gone through everything we can think of, and he is the kind of kid who would complain loud and long if someone was bullying him!

He is really hard on himself - thinks he needs to get 100% in every test. He 'just doesn't like it' (the school). He wants to go back to his old school (where most of his mates have left now anyway for different reasons).

It really is heartbreaking to see him sobbing away over this. He is sensitive, but I never thought he was this bad. He is the most stubborn person too - he would cut off his nose to spite his face every single time.

He won lots of points/class awards for good work today. He was on a high for about an hour then crashed down, asking to go back to his old school again.

He is suffering with a sore tummy from the stress, and so am I to be honest. I jump when the phone goes now. He is down in the office daily complaining that he feels sick - it comes in anxiety waves which lessen through the day.

I'm also worried that the school is thinking that we are whipping him with snakes every evening. (Selfish, I know).

Mumtogremlins Mon 11-Nov-13 22:54:10

I could have written your post! We moved my DS into Year 5 in Sept and initially all was well, he was quite nervous. Went through a bad patch, then settled by half term. He still has no friends though and had a bad week last week with a few mean boys. Hated school this morning, happier when I picked him up.

He's doing well academically but not socially. He is a worrier and also suffers with stress tummy aches and sickness.

He wasn't keen on moving schools so maybe we hyped the school too much and he thought it would be amazing. He's finding fault with a few things so not living up to what he thought, and he's missing his friends

Maybe year 5 is just a hard year to move

nicename Tue 12-Nov-13 08:46:00

Did you move home too? I wish we were close...!

DalmationDots Tue 12-Nov-13 09:26:25

Just wondering, have you moved him to a prep school from state? (just asking because of the X-marks, tests, need to get 100% all sounds very prep school like!)
Could it be the culture shock of moving from a state primary to a more competitive environment?

nicename Tue 12-Nov-13 10:26:40

No, it's one prep to another. He got high above average in the recent CATS, has been getting 100% in spelling tests etc at school. The work doesn't seen harder from my pov, but maybe in his head it is?

DalmationDots Tue 12-Nov-13 14:08:46

Maybe it is the ethos, prep schools can differ a lot.
Do you think this one has a much more competitive atmosphere? Or he is feeling more pressure to do well because he is new?
Boys at preps can be very competitive and catty. There can also by year 5 be quite an established 'respected/cool/'the best at everything'/sporty/popular' type group who can be quite intimidating or hard to compete with.
It could be while he felt quite established and respected at his old school, at this one he has to prove himself a lot and try to impress the others.

nicename Tue 12-Nov-13 14:44:44

He won't impress anyone with the crying every day. I just can't bear to see him rubbing his eyes and saying 'I want to go home'.

nicename Fri 15-Nov-13 17:44:18

How long do we give it before we throw in the towel?

The school's attitude seems to be that the child they see in school is 'the' child. We know that at home he is his usual bouncy, cheeky, loud self. They seem to want to push the issue all on us - all our fault, bad family, bad parenting, etc. just short of locking him in the cellar and whipping him with celery sticks - and I've lost faith in them somewhat.

Can a child 'go back' to a school they've left alright?

Marmitelover55 Fri 15-Nov-13 19:41:19

This sounds like my DD1 who is finding it hard settling into her new secondary school (year 7 and state though). She is terrified of getting a detention for forgetting to do some homework etc. She was sent home as she was "sick" before half term, but this turned out to be due to anxiety. She has been feeling sick a lot and desperate not to go to school.

I questioned whether this was the right school for DD, but have subsequently been very impressed with the support hat the school have put in place for her. She is still struggling a bit (a lot sometimes), but there has definitely been some improvement.

Does your school have a counsellor? DD is having weekly sessions which seem to be helping, and I also bought a book on helping children deal with anxiety, which has been quite helpful.

If you feel that the school won't support your DS through this, then maybe it isn't the right school, but I do think you should talk to them (if you haven't tried this already), and see what help they can offer.

I hop hinges improve soon, as I know how hard it is on the whole family.

nicename Sat 16-Nov-13 12:18:17

No support. Quite the opposite.

aciddrops Sat 16-Nov-13 15:46:25

Maybe phone the old school to see if they still have a place. I don't like the sound of them blaming YOU for it.

nicename Sat 16-Nov-13 16:01:25

My sister (teacher 20+ years) says she'd rather leave her child with a pack of ferrel dogs. She is far less than impressed.

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