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Secondary School Dilemma

(14 Posts)
whereiscaroline Sun 29-Oct-17 18:06:16

Please HELP.

I've been going round and round in circles about secondary school choices for weeks and the deadline is Tuesday.

School 1: 2 minutes from our house but I didn't like it when looking round, GCSE results are ok, but there are SO many reports of bullying etc. and I've yet to meet a parent with good things to say. DS is desperate to go to this school, to the point he is hysterical and crying when I suggest otherwise.

School 2: a good school, focussed on sport (which DS excels at), but in a different town a 20 minute bus ride away. It gave a really good vibe when looking round, but none of DS' friends will be going there, and he insists he doesn't want to go there. I do want him to go there.

DS is emotional and defiant in general, with a tendency to catastrophise, and I'm just wondering if I'd be better off just sending him to School 1, hoping that he'll at least be happy there with his current friends/mindset that this is the only school he could possibly be happy at. I honestly think he would be hell on earth from March-September if he found out that he didn't get into School 1.

WWYD? Did you let your child decide on their own secondary school, or did you put your foot down, despite their feelings? sad

hardworkharriet Sun 29-Oct-17 18:09:41

If you can’t convince him, I am sorry but I think he is old enough to make the decision. If he does go to the sports school and anything goes wrong you will never hear the end of it.

lljkk Sun 29-Oct-17 18:11:46

Could you bribe your DS to try the 20 minutes away school for one term (in my area the minimum would be 2 terms) If he hates it, you will change him to local school after all without resistance. The decision will be his, on a term by term basis. All you insist on is the minimum 1 (2 terms).

Yes I let mine choose, but no one else will say they did that, so not sure I should bother to reply.

BubblesBuddy Sun 29-Oct-17 18:30:06

You are not alone. Mine chose.

I think you have to accept that not all children are bullied and what is bullying can be debatable. Parents don’t know everything and they don’t know your DS’s cohort. They may well be great children. Your DS doesn’t seem worried about bullying so why are you? Be optimistic like he is!

Do you really want a stroppy 11 year old over this? He may well refuse to get on the bus. Talk to him about his needs when choosing a school, rather than your fears and views, and get him to decide if better sport is worth the sacrifice of his friends (they will not bother to keep in touch if he moves) and the short walk to school. If he thinks the school nearby has good enough sport (and that may mean easier access into teams) and he needs to be with his friends, I would be gracious and let him go. It’s just not worth the fight.

Fianceechickie Sun 29-Oct-17 18:39:32

I dont know what I’d do but I’ll tell you this. My DS13 went to a school where he knew no one and despite having ASD he’s settled well and made friends. It’s a fab school. I’m also a teacher, and year 7 often (but not always) have different friends who came from other primaries by the end of term one.

Ttbb Sun 29-Oct-17 18:53:19

He'll be happy at school two as well just not right away. Frankly he is too old to be so soft. He's not going to have the same friends forever, they will change throughout high school, then they will go separate ways for university etc. It think that it's time you taught him a few life lessons about change and thinking long term.

Jasminedes Sun 29-Oct-17 19:21:07

Well, if everyone is going there there might be some good things to the first school. I used to hate the inconvenience of a bus ride, plus it is a prime area for bullying. It will be a lot easier to be involved in teams etc at a more local school.
Ask your son to sit down with you to go through the pros and cons. Really listen to him. Tell him you want him to make the right long term decision, so you want to look at the good points and bad for each school. Make your points about each as well, in a balanced way. Then tell him to sleep on it and tell you in the morning. Of course he will choose school 1, but you will have modelled how to go about making an important decision.

Moonflower12 Sun 29-Oct-17 19:41:06

I did this with my first born- the stressing bit. I caught myself even looking at the colour of the uniforms! I then decided to let her choose which school she went to. It all worked out fine even though it wasn’t the ‘best’ school. (She went there by choice for 6th form). She was so happy that I let the next two choose their schools too.

BubblesBuddy Sun 29-Oct-17 22:38:15

Just to add that DD1 actually chose a school where she didn’t know anyone but we weighed up the pros and cons of what the schools could offer and she didn’t think “friends” were worth worrying about over the advantages of the other school. Her friendships were fairly loose and she had been ignored by a lot of children for years so not being with them at secondary school was not a wrench. Some children are risk averse and don’t always see the bigger picture but if he’s not bothered about the sport and prefers his friends, then so be it. There is no guarantee of continued friendships but I do know plenty of friendships that have continued into secondary school and beyond.

Being part of the choosing process meant DD never felt she had been sent to a school she didn’t really like and really grasped what it did have to offer. This can pay dividends.

Tweennightmare Mon 30-Oct-17 05:12:37

Well as an expat who’s children have been to many schools . I would let him choose. There is nothing worse than a miserable child at school. At her last school my DD could have had access to great teachers and wonderful facilities but she was so depressed from lack of friends and low level bullying she couldnt access it. Let him choose but explain ultimately you expect him to achieve his full potential and if grades slip or behaviour falls you may have to rethink the school.

CommanderDaisy Mon 30-Oct-17 05:24:16

As a voice of dissent, I'd send him to the "good" school.
I don't agree that at that age they are mature enough to make a descision that can have fairly far reaching effects.
We had the choice between private or public. The public school didn't do well, had hideous bullying issues but all his friends were going there. The private one did far better, really good facilities, lots of subject choices etc, nno friends were going there.
Buses were easily availble for each.
My son desperately wanted to go to the public school, but I couldn't see how it would benefit him educationally. Nor did my husband and I believe he could fully understand the big picture. He behaved awfully at the private school interview, tried to "fail" the entrance assessment , you name it. All of which indicated he lacked the maturity to decide.
We chose. He is now very happy with great friends, at the private school.

catsarenice Mon 30-Oct-17 05:33:50

I'm having the same issue with DD. DP and I have ended up choosing: I really did want her to be part of the choosing process but I really can't justify sending her to a school that has continually been rated 'requires improvement' over a 'good' one based on her reasons of 'but the canteen is nicer, there are vending machines and it just 'feels' nice'.

I really think 10 is young for the overall decision making especially as important things like class sizes don't register on her radar at all!

I have told her that it'd be easier to transfer from this one to the local one if she gives it a fair go rather than the other way around. I obviously do want her to be happy but from looking around for half an hour I'm not really sure how she could possibly tell that anyway.

I really hope she'll be fine once she gets there. (And also hoping that we can successfully appeal for the local grammar school...not that she wants to there either 😩)

RedSkyAtNight Mon 30-Oct-17 12:02:24

Do the parents who have nothing good to say about School 1 actually have DC in the school (or have had in the last year or so)? DD's just left a school (because she got too old ...) with an unfounded bad reputation where parents who had no experience about it were happy to repeat hearsay as fact.

I think whilst friends are not the be all and end all, they do make the school environment much pleasanter - if "everyone" near you is going to School 1, that suggests that school 2 families will live elsewhere and it won't be so easy for your DC to go and see them.

I agree that DS may not be mature enough to make the decision but he's the one that has to get the bus every day - there is a lot to be said for going to the local school and being happy. And it doesn't sound as though School 1 is "bad" just not as good (in your eyes anyway) as School 2.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 30-Oct-17 12:08:56

There's lots of reports of bullying, so I'm going to bully my child into going somewhere else?

A bit extreme of course, but he is old enough to have an awful lot of input, and forcing a commute on anyone is a huge deal, you need to convince him why school 1 is so bad, if you can't articulate your reasons here more than "it has a bit of a reputation for bullying" and "my parent friends don't say anything good about", then you should probably go along with his views.

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