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To Change Schools?

(28 Posts)
ilovemyfestivehens Thu 09-Dec-10 22:26:03

ds2 is 6 and in Year 1. He currently attends an 'Outstanding' (Ofsted rated) fairly large primary school in middle of small town. ds1 attended there and did very well, but he's in Secondary school now, so it was a while ago.

ds2 is a quiet, sensitive little boy who is intelligent and creative. He's also very well behaved and is easy to look after.

The other kids in the class appear to be very badly behaved - we've been to several birthday parties and witnessed their behaviour and attitude.

Class teacher admits that there are several 'challenging' boys in the class and that it's difficult to get the best out of the brighter kids due to spending so much time trying to manage behaviour.

ds2 just doesn't fit in. He has the piss taken out of him and several of the other boys hurt him in sly ways during the school day. I have complained several times to the teacher, but she just looks harrassed and fed up.

I have asked if he could change to the other Year1 class, but she said that they were worse!

Is it time to throw in the towel and look for another school? Have arranged a visit to a small Catholic Primary about 5 miles up the road tomorrow to see if that might be more suitable for him. We do attend a CofE church, so don't mind the religious side of education.

I'm really upset about all this because it used to be such a good school, but just seems to be going down the pan at the moment.

geraldinetheluckygoat Thu 09-Dec-10 22:32:58

yes I would go and look at other schools in your position. I think your present school should be doing more to stamp out the low level bullying of your son too sad

ilovemyfestivehens Thu 09-Dec-10 22:39:24

The teacher is trying to sort out the bullying, but I think she's struggling.

ShanahansRevenge Fri 10-Dec-10 00:22:46

I think it may be too soon to change. He's only in year one...JUST in "proper" school. 5 miles is qite a long way to travel twice a day...espeially when you facor in after school playdates and other social hings like fetes and plays.

My own DD is in year 2 and to be honest, I had thought similarly to you that there were various promlems wth the school...but now she is in year 2 it's totally different.

They have all settled in far more. Have you considered vounteering in the classroom?

You could gain more insight into things.

ALso...they all have run-ins...other kids DO sometimes take the piss.

think you should give itt a little longer...if he as not settled by this time next year, then you could think to change? Starting juniors as a new kid is fine...they're all so young still.

ShanahansRevenge Fri 10-Dec-10 00:24:08

Could you elaborate on the bullying? Hs he made any friends?

ilovemyfestivehens Fri 10-Dec-10 08:21:37

He has made a couple of friends, but these friends are friends with the bullying children.

I can't do any volunteering because I work.

ilovemyfestivehens Fri 10-Dec-10 08:23:16

I've just looked on The Good Schools Guide about the current school and apparently boys do badly there compared to girls. The indicator was way down. I think this says that they have a problem controlling boys boisterous behaviour and getting them to settle down and learn, which is what I was suspecting.

IndigoBell Fri 10-Dec-10 11:15:23

Schools change very quickly. Just because your elder son did well there or ofsted thinks it's outstanding means nothing.

Your current son is not doing well there.

It may not be because of the school - it may just be unlucky that he's in with a particularly challenging year group. But either way I think you should move.

We moved school - and my only regret is that we spent a year deliberating about it rather than just going for it when we first had concerns.

ilovemyfestivehens Fri 10-Dec-10 11:38:55

Yes, I think we've made up our minds and have come to the conclusion that he will have to move. I can't stand the thought of him going through to Year 7 with these kids.

ilovemyfestivehens Sat 11-Dec-10 08:05:24

We went to visit a small catholic primary school yesterday. It's three miles away.

When we went to collect ds2 from his existing primary the place was in utter chaos. There wasn't a teacher to be seen, just several helpers running around frantically trying to control the kids! The place was a complete mess and it just felt awful.

On questioning ds2 about what he'd been doing, it was apparent that they weren't having proper lessons, just doing stuff to keep them occupied sad ds2 is so bright and eager to learn, but he's just not doing anything.

We all trooped up to see the new school.

It was clean, tidy, organised, pleasant atmosphere, the kids seemed occupied and busy. They'd just been outside for playtime - ds2's current school has banned them going outside due to the snow! The headmaster was nice and the Year1 classroom was tidy with lots of equipment and the class teacher seemed sensible and organised. They have lots of extra activities such as music, choir, sporting stuff etc.

The Ofsted report is that it is a good school. According to the Good Schools Guide, boys do very well there.

The only downside is that the Ofsted Report picked up on is that the brighter pupils perhaps aren't challenged enough, but most of the Ofsted Reports that I've read seem to say that. We can always do extra learning with ds2 at home and he wants to do music and karate next year, so we can help challenge him.

Do you think moving him sounds reasonable?

ArentFanny Sat 11-Dec-10 08:08:16

MOving him sounds like it will be in his best interest. We are moving DD after a term in her priary school.

seeker Sat 11-Dec-10 08:08:58

Do think very carefully about a primary school you have to drive to. If I had my time over, I wouldn't do it. I've ranted on the subject on here before, and am happy to do so again if it would help.

ilovemyfestivehens Sat 11-Dec-10 08:19:09

I know, I thought about that, but the only other ones that are within walking distance aren't an option - one is full and the other one doesn't seem interested in having him. It's a catholic primary and they just keep fobbing us off when we've phoned.

What are the main problems with driving? I know it's a faff, but what else is there?

racmac Sat 11-Dec-10 08:26:31

Sounds like a far better school - i would move them.

I always think that if something has been pointed out on the ofsted report then the school will be aware and looking to improve it - so not necessarily bad

ragged Sat 11-Dec-10 08:41:46

The only reason you wouldn't move him is because of the difference in Ofsted reports? Sod that. Just go with your instincts and what you can perceive for yourself.

Goblinchild Sat 11-Dec-10 08:42:37

If it's a catholic school, you may well find that a lot of the other children have longer journeys to school than the average primary, so playdates and after school stuff might not be a big a problem.

seeker Sat 11-Dec-10 08:51:09

It's a faff

It's a nightmare if the car breaks down

You can never get someone else to take your child to school if you're ill, or busy. Ditto pick up at the end of the day.

It's a nightmare if you forget lunch, PE kit, ukelele.

Yopu have to drop off and pick up for every friend to tea.

If you have another child you and it end up hanging around it the car while the older one does football training.

When he gets a bit older and wants to walk home alone he won't be able to.

You have to organize everything - you can't say "pop round and see if Fred wants to come out to play"

It costs a fortune in petrol.

It's bad for the planet.

Parking outside schools is absolute hell

I could go on!

becaroodolf Sat 11-Dec-10 08:58:52

I could have written your post a year ago!

It got so bad for ds1 we took him out of school and home schooled him for a while.

He has been at his new school now for a month and is loving it. It is much smaller than his old school and it is much more child oriented.

Go for it!

becaroodolf Sat 11-Dec-10 09:00:28

Oh, and his original school where he was so unhappy was rated "outstanding" by OFSTED.

The new school where he is happy and doing well is rated "satisfactory".

Go to the school and go with your gut insticnt. Forget about OFSTED reports!

onimolap Sat 11-Dec-10 09:04:34

You say the only downside is that brighter pupils may not be stretched enough. Do you think they will be stretched at the current school?

If the work is consistently too easy, this will become an issue. Maybe. And even so, it's one you can tackle if and when you need to.

Do not underestimate the school run. But 3 miles is officially "walking distance" for secondary pupils, and much shorter than rural school runs. Key question to me would be how easy and reliable the journey is (rather than just the distance): any notorious bottlenecks? How would you get there on the day your car won't start or the buses strike? How well does the journey fit your journey to work?

ArentFanny Sat 11-Dec-10 12:11:46

Seeker, I am really pleased that you can walk to school, but the one DD is at at the moment is 4.5 miles away and the one she is going to is 3.5 miles away, those are the nearest schools.

seeker Sat 11-Dec-10 14:31:47

I can't walk to school - that's my point. I drive - and have been for the past 5 years. That's my point!

ilovemyfestivehens Sat 11-Dec-10 16:07:29

My dh is retired, so he will be able to do the school runs when I'm at work. It's on a main route, so there might be a bit of traffic, but I do know a shortcut which we can try out. The only problem would be if the car broke down and I was at work with my car. There would always be the option of getting a taxi for a couple of days in an emergency.

We have decided today that we're going to move him there. I'll phone the Headmaster on Monday to sort out the transfer. He's not being stretched at the school he's at now, so any deficits with regards to bright pupils at the new school can be dealt with once he's there. They do have a special Thinking Program thing which is built on academic research which my dh knows about from when he did his Uni Course, so they do seem quite progressive academically.

halfapoundoftreacle Sat 11-Dec-10 17:51:13

We moved our boys earlier this year and this meant instead of a two mile journey by car (and walkable in an emergency) we now do a six mile journey.

I found that aspect tough to get used to but it's normal now and I put up with it. It's against the flow of busy traffic and mostly on a bypass so quite speedy. But I do worry about pranging the car - especially in the recent snowy weather - or it failing to start one morning.

Besides you may meet someone who's local to you who attends the school too. We have a small group who all live near each other (id six milse from school) and we call on each other for help when needed.

Yes petrol is costing me 3 times as much now and parking can be a faff, organising playdates are also slightly more complicated but imo, it's a fantastic school, better than our original choice. The kids are doing well and getting the SEN help they need(ed) and even the extra petrol each month is cheaper than a private school fee (or a tutor).

You'll know in your heart if it's the right thing. But it sounds like you've made your mind up. Good luck!

halfapoundoftreacle Sat 11-Dec-10 17:52:02

... or (ie six miles from school) even!

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