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Am I being cruel moving my 4 year old son to a different setting?

(20 Posts)
MrsRupertBear Sat 28-May-11 22:59:49

I am just after some advice really.
My DS is 4 years old and will be starting school in September. The nursery he attends at the moment, is attached to the school that we put down as our first choice when applying for schools. He has has been offered a place at this school and although I feel extremely fortunate, I am not sure I have made the right choice! He only attended this nursery because it was the closest one to me when I had just given birth to my DD, therefore making it easier for me to get him there and back. I have also got friends children who my son knows going there, so thought it would help him settle in.

I ended up putting this school down as my first choice due to the fact that he had settled in the nursery so well, I would get some help with childcare (from friends) and did not think that I would be able to get my son in the local Catholic Primary, which I would have liked so put it down as my second choice. I really wanted my DS at my second choice because it is a Catholic School that not only does really well accademically but I also feel it would contribute to his spiritual development, which is really important to me. The secondary school that the Catholic Primary school feeds onto has got a fantastic reputation and I think my son would do really well there.

I have recently started having doubts about my choice of schools, so ended up calling the Catholic school to see if there was a waiting list and they informed me that there is one place left and that if I was to call the admissions team and swap my choices around he would have a good chance of getting in.

The school that my son has got a place at, is a good school but its religious teaching is pretty basic and the secondary school he would go onto is satisfactory and doesn't have a great reputation. So now I really don't know what to do. My son is really settled and has got a lovely group of friends and I think he is looking forward to starting school with them. Do you think it would be cruel to do a complete U turn and now tell him that he is not going to the school we have discussed but a different school. I really dont know what to do for the best. I hope you can offer some advice smile

MarionCole Sat 28-May-11 23:02:12

Lots of children start school without a group of friends. In general they are remarkably resilient at that age and I'm sure he will make new friends very quickly.

Elibean Sun 29-May-11 08:29:26

dd1 went from a private nursery to the local state primary aged 4 - she knew absolutely no one, and was understandably shy and scared: by the end of the term she had lots of new friends, and has never looked back.
I think the trickiest part in your situation is his expectation - 'looking forward to starting school with his friends'. But if he has friends starting at the Catholic school, and you'er happier with it generally, I'm sure you can support him in switching over!

MrsRupertBear Sun 29-May-11 08:52:34

Marion and Elibean - thankyou so much for your advice. This issue is really starting to play on my mind so any feedback is much appreciated smile. My DS is a really outgoing little boy, with good social skills and I too think he will make new friends. It is just that I worry that I would be moving him when he does seem so happy, from a school we can have a steady walk up to, to one nearly 2 miles way and with no other children he knows.
I wouldn't worry so much if he had not switched settings once already. Up to starting my maternity leave last year, my DS attended the nursery located at my work. I moved him because my work was over 6 miles away and thought it would be easier, to let him go to the local nursery after I had my DD. I went into labour the first day he started at the new setting and had to stop in hospital all that week and he was quite upset with all the changes that had taken place that one week but like I said, he is much more happy now.
It is really difficult knowing what to do for the best. I think in the long run, both the Catholic primary and secondary school will provide him with much more opportunities than the other school but what I am worried about, is if he becomes really distresses moving him over again, although like Marion said I do think children are more resilient than we give them credit for.

seeker Sun 29-May-11 08:55:47

Are you a Catholic?

MrsRupertBear Sun 29-May-11 09:03:03

No, which is obviously a consideration. Although all my family want to this particular Catholic school and both my children have been baptised.

seeker Sun 29-May-11 09:12:54

Well, i would be a bit careful about the secondary school then - most catholic secondary schools give priority to practising Catholics.

And if you're not a Catholic, I would also be a bit careful about the 'spiritual development' you talk about - it will be of a very Cathoic nature, and you will need to be sure you can live with that.

MrsRupertBear Sun 29-May-11 09:46:56

Thanks Seeker smile. This is something I have been considering.

Although both I and my brothers are not Catholic, we all went to the Catholic Primary and Secondary and respect the religious ethos of the school. For me, I feel that it did contribute to my own religious development and was a positive experience that I would like to share with both my children. However, getting into the secondary is a bit of a worry. I do know parents with Non-Catholic children who have got into the secondary school, although I understand this does not mean he would get in also. I realise he would be further down the priority list for getting him into the school. It is definately a consideration but not sure it is worth the gable hmm

seeker Sun 29-May-11 12:30:13

Why the hmm?

MrsRupertBear Sun 29-May-11 17:52:42

sorry - meant to say not sure if it is worth the gamble.

hmm - i.e. I need to think about and weigh up the facts, before jumping in feet first when making a decision.

CecilyP Sun 29-May-11 23:27:17

I would advise judging the catholic primary school entirely on its own merits, and take secondary education out of the equation, when making your decision.

seeker Mon 30-May-11 08:46:07

Agreed. Apart fromanything else, you have no idea what sort of secondary school might suit him when the time comes. And schools can change a huge amount in 6 years.

And I suspect that the criteria for getting into faith schools are going to get tighter and tighter.

RoadArt Mon 30-May-11 08:55:34

Havent read all the responses, but what I would say is that no matter what school you decide to put your DC in now, you could end up moving and your DC has to move school anyway. we dont always expect our circumstances to change, but it can, and children move school all the time without any issues.

We took our DC to the schools so that they could form their own opinion beforehand which helped the transitions. We had planned for our first DC to go to the school where she went to nursery, and then in ended up moving when she started in reception.

The time to start worrying about high schools is when you know how your DC are progressing and what school setting would suit them best.

MrsRupertBear Mon 30-May-11 12:33:50

Thankyou so much again for all your advice. I think I definately need to relax more about the secondary school situation, like many of you said it is a long time away yet and I need to consider what sort of school would suit him best when the time comes.
RoadArt - the change of circumstances is definately something that may happen in the near future, so I agree that I do not think I need to focus on the secondary school yet, when he is not even in reception and I circumstances could change in the next few years.
I think the bottom line is that I had a very happy an positive experience at both my primary and secondary school and did do very well because of it. I think it has blurred my vision a little on the school that he is due to start in September. I am always comparing it to my old one which really isn't fair on both my DS and the new school. After all, what suited me, may not suit him!

Elibean Mon 30-May-11 12:56:47

Ah, I didn't realize the Catholic was your old primary - it is hard getting our own experiences out of the way when thinking about whats best for dc, I think!
Yes, I would relax about secondary too - we did: there is currently no great state option for the dds in our area, but the primaries are lovely. It was either uproot everything in case its still the same in 6 years time, or go with the flow - opted for the latter, no regrets smile

PorkChopSter Mon 30-May-11 13:38:34

What are the chances of you getting your DC2 into this primary? Do siblings get priority, regardless of your attendance at mass? If non-practicing siblings are low on the list, you might have problems later.

NotEnoughTime Mon 30-May-11 20:42:00

I dont know the "right" answer to this question, not sure there is one!

However I just wanted to say you are definetly not being "cruel" in wanting to do the best by your son smile

nometime Mon 30-May-11 20:51:02

I can't give you advice because I don't know the schools, but I would say, that you have to judge each school on its own merits and forget the secondary angle as it sounds as if things may change for you before then anyway.

You are definitely not being cruel, your dc will have no problem settling into a different school, Reception is always filled with children from all different settings and the teacher and ta are used to dealing with this every year.

Make a decision on what you consider to be best for your dc.

mathanxiety Mon 30-May-11 21:09:45

I would send him to the Catholic primary if you're happy with the religious component and if it has a good reputation academically. I actually would take the secondary school's academic reputation into account -- if the primary feeds into it, they will be gearing the students for entry there. If it's a good school then the primary prep will be good. I would also be inclined to consider the social aspect of sending your DS on to the Catholic secondary with ready-made friends -- a huge benefit imo.

At age 4, a child will be very adaptable and will settle in fast. I moved DD1 to a new school when she was 5 and she had a new best friend a week later. It involved moving from one Catholic elementary in the US to another. The teacher in primary will be dong his/her best to meld the class together and your DS will be settled quickly.

I knew that most of the children in DD1's first school would be going to different secondaries as they lived outside of the catchment area for the state high school I knew DD1 would be going to (private Catholic HS cost a fortune). I didn't want DD1 to have to make a whole new set of friends at age 14. She ended up with a large bunch of good friends starting high school, when DCs can be less adaptable, and when you really need to know who they're spending their time with.

mama09 Mon 30-May-11 23:11:48

Children are remarkably adaptable, just do what you think is best for him.

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