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What's more important: the social or educational aspect of school

(19 Posts)
swash Sat 09-Jul-11 20:24:30

What do you think is more important for a bright, social child:

a school where she is stretched academically, where she feels safe and supported, but where friendships are a bit limited...

or a school where lots of good friends go, great network of mums, bit lazy on the teaching and apparently not great at stretching the cleverer kids?

Am going round in circles on this one, and would be very interested to know what mners think. A good friend who is an ex-head of a v successful junior school says that the cohort is actually more important than the school.

Malcontentinthemiddle Sat 09-Jul-11 20:25:27


And it's probably untrue that they are 'a bit lazy on the teaching'.

WhereTheWildThingsWere Sat 09-Jul-11 20:26:22

At Primary level, I would choose the second one without a doubt.

BertieBotts Sat 09-Jul-11 20:27:35

I'd go for the second as well. You can encourage her learning in lots of ways outside of school, but if she's having a hard time socially that will have a knock on effect on everything else.

swash Sat 09-Jul-11 20:27:40

No they really are - and even the head told me that they didn't get great results considering their intake and he wasn't sure why.

Malcontentinthemiddle Sat 09-Jul-11 20:37:23

Well, at least he's thinking about it then....

Anyway. Small children don't need pushing or stretching or to have their friendships limited, I don't think.

CMOTdibbler Sat 09-Jul-11 20:40:23

What do you mean by limited friendships though ? Is it just you don't know anyone there atm ? In which case, children make friends v v quickly and whether you know mums or not doesn't matter.

I'd go for the first

swash Sat 09-Jul-11 20:46:23

DD is already at school 1 - she is 7. Friendships are limited as it is a small school and has a wide catchment (ie few playdate possibilities).

Dd is very bright, naturally gravitates towards other bright kids. She is popular but doesn't have a best friend - and there are a few friendship issues with her social group (mean Queen Bee etc).

She loves her current school and is settled. DD2 is about to start and there are very few girls in her class. Just wondering if it is a good or bad idea to swap. I have wanted to for so long, but it feels very late and I am not sure the social advantages outweigh the disruption of moving for DD1.

MoreBeta Sat 09-Jul-11 20:57:56

I experienced both types of school with DS1.

I'd go for the academically stretching school every time for a bright child.

The 'lovely school but lazy teaching' has driven DS1 and us bonkers for the last 2 years.

RoadArt Sun 10-Jul-11 07:54:02

My kids are at the second one, and I find it very frustrating because the academics take a back seat - but they love school

vess Sun 10-Jul-11 23:20:23

I'd stay with the first one. She may or may not find good friends if you move her.

swash Mon 11-Jul-11 19:46:01

Thank you for replying. I am so tired of thinking about this and it is interesting to see what other people think. I think I would find lack of access to teachers and lack of energy in the second school annoying (though i am sure there are some good teachers there). And I really worry that dd would struggle to find her place, even though she has some good friends there. Have to decide this week but am starting to think that doing nothing and staying where we are is the best option.

munstersmum Mon 11-Jul-11 20:12:00

I moved DS to school 2 type in yr2 from school 1 type. School 2 is outstanding but Ofsted report said stretching particularly in maths needed addressing. The difference with us though was that DS was not happy. He has made much better friendships even though a smaller year group. We've not looked back even though he has basically redone yr2 maths due to being streamed at school 1. I've taken the view it's consolidation of the basics.

swash Mon 11-Jul-11 21:22:31

munster that sounds like a great move. My dd is happy - most of the time; I just wonder if she would be happier with girls from her own area, who are more like her. Not sure any more if that is a good enough reason to move given the potential risks.

munstersmum Tue 12-Jul-11 09:56:18

Swash hello again. There is a lot to be said for having more than one set of friends. I think this gives balance to all sorts of scenarios. You could still ensure the friendships at school2 are supported even if you don't move your DD through playdates & choice of Brownie pack etc.
Your ex-head friend hits the nail on the head. We went for school1 originally because neighbours all around were 90% happy with the school but DS's intake had lovely girls but the boys could only be described politely as a mixed bag.

mumonahottinroof Tue 12-Jul-11 10:12:30

If she loves the current school then keep her there, no brainer imo

PotPourri Tue 12-Jul-11 10:20:45

Personally I wouldn't move her. Not for all the reasons you outlined. Simply because she is there and happy. Why upset that?

Why not send her to Brownies or something to allow her to meet more local friends. And does she go out to play around your street? I think there is too much emphasis placed on schools these days to do everything for us. If she needs more social contact - arrange some. If she needs more educational stuff, then do it with her. Get down the library, on the internet. etc.

swash Tue 12-Jul-11 11:46:08

DH says keep her where she is; rest of my family say move (including the ex-head). I want to ask my dd but everyone says that is a bad idea. I think I might though.

DD2 would be 2nd on waiting list so no guarantee of a place and we would have to wait until September to find out if one had come up. If it did, it would be a good move for her, I think, as many of her nursery friends are going to school 2. Her reception class is massively boy-heavy at the current school, which is a real downside as far as I am concerned (just six other reception girls in the school).

Potpourri, that is a good point - I do do that, and we see the same friends at a club every week. Playdates seem too much effort for everyone (too much organising and most people just want to do school ones), but we have friends that we have known since babyhood that we see in school holidays etc.

OwlMother Tue 12-Jul-11 11:52:17

I would have said that the social side of things was far more important.

However this was before seeing what an academically uninspiring school can do for a bright but not particularly driven child. Ds1 really didn't like school although it was small. local and very friendly. He is now thriving in a much (much!) larger school miles from home where academic expectations are far higher.

And as he is happy academically the friendships are following. Wish we'd done it years ago. Good luck with your decision, it's never easy.

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