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Just moved but hate the school

(26 Posts)
nifaitniafaire Fri 14-Nov-14 21:08:16

We've looked to buy a place for ages an in the meantime rented in a nice place of town with a lovely state primary school where DS was really happy and had lots of friends. I also got to meet lots of mums who I now count as my friends.

The thing is that it was in the "posher" part of town where we couldn't quite afford to buy what we really wanted. So we ended up buying a beautiful big house 20miles away in a small town. We knew it wouldn't be as cosmopolite but also accepted we couldn't have it all and that this house in our current location wouldn't be affordable.

So we moved and got DS in a good (ofsted 2 like this other school) state school but it just doesn't feel right. I love the house but every time I go to school my heart sinks.

They weren't prepared at all for DS's first day, the teacher want even there but she had a headache, the class looks a mess, the kids have been listening to Gangnam style (in year1!), they are encouraged to take 1 book a week to read (We used to have to read 1 book a night), a lot of bad language can be heard around the playground. There are lots of other little things like the toilets stinking like dirty urinals, the kids starting later but finishing at the same time with no after school club.

Also, I don't feel I have anything in common with the other mums and I feel totally isolated. My husband feels the same and we constantly have this knot in our stomach like we've made a big mistake.

Our options I think are:

1- Give it more time and see how things go.
2- Let the house, rent where we were and go back to the old school.
3- Somehow, find the money to send DS to the local private school.

The idea of him staying in that school makes me want to sob every time.hmm

CharlesRyder Fri 14-Nov-14 22:02:37

So you didn't visit the school option before you paid out for the new house?

I would say visit the private school and if you like it work out the finances to use that.

pyrrah Fri 14-Nov-14 23:46:18

Get on the waiting list for other schools in the area - go and see them first and make sure you like them.

Give the place more time - my DD's first primary school (nursery class), I was pretty horrified when I first arrived. Lots of mothers at the gate in PJs and willies, none of the father's appeared to have a job, no-one who it looked as if I'd have anything in common with at all. They were all actually pretty nice, and all loved their children and wanted the best for them.

We're moving out of London, but love DD's current primary so much that we're not prepared to risk moving her - so she's going to be commuting on the train everyday. If the commute isn't a killer, is there any chance you can get your son's place back at the other school? If it's not over-subscribed, you can live anywhere as long as you can get there on time.

If none of those are possibles, then start checking out the preps - but I'd only pay for something really good. There are plenty of expensive St. Mediocres out there.

Bordersmummy Fri 14-Nov-14 23:49:27

PJs and willies


Sorry. As you were.

nifaitniafaire Sat 15-Nov-14 07:13:09

This is the best school,around the others are all 3 or worse according to ofsted.

We did visit the school but didn't see the parents/kids playing in the playground. We could see that it wasn't as polished as the other school but told ourselves it was just what village schools are like and that we were just being a bit snobby and that the way it looked shouldn't matter provided the results are good.

Commuting would probably prevent me from having to work and would add up in petrol cost but I guess it would be cheaper then private school. The private school is supposedly very good and I'm going to go to a toddler group there with DS2 next week.

Every morning I wake hoping the feeling of having made will have gone away but it's still here.

antarctic Sat 15-Nov-14 07:32:33

How does DS feel about his new school? Your comments are mainly about your impressions of it, but if he is happy and starting to make new friends then I would try to see past the things that bother you.

nifaitniafaire Sat 15-Nov-14 08:28:58

I'd say the issue is 60% about me not identifying with the mums and worrying I'm the odd one out and that I have left my gang of friends to be on my own. Then it's 40% about DS slipping academically (although the ofsted report isn't bad, they seem very slack with reading, writing and language in general) as well as picking up bad habits - spitting, bad mouthing etc.

I'm well aware part of my worry is snobbery and an issue of class and that it's not pretty to admit it but the feeling is there and I don't know if I can/how to overcome it.

regularrectangle Sat 15-Nov-14 08:36:28

Dont pin everything about a schools ability on a ofsted report.

DesperatelySeekingSanity Sat 15-Nov-14 08:36:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AppleRings Sat 15-Nov-14 08:40:02

Is your son happy there?

Bonsoir Sat 15-Nov-14 08:41:43

There are very good reasons for nice houses being cheaper in some areas. If you don't identify with the community your best bet is to cut your losses and move. The trade off between accommodation and schooling is a very real one.

EveDallasRetd Sat 15-Nov-14 08:48:42

We chose a 'good' school over two 'outstanding' schools because the good school felt right. It's not all about OFTSED. What would you do if your current school slipped to 'Satisfactory' next year? It only takes one bad result.

I'm not sure what the issue with gangnam style is though? And you can still read/write with your son in the evenings.

cansu Sat 15-Nov-14 14:52:15

Tbh why do you need to feel in tune with the other parents? I have nothing to do with the parents at my dd school and don't really see why I need to. Reading between the lines the academic concerns seem very vague and the issue is predominantly that school is not posh enough for you. Only you can decide whether this is serious enough for you to move back into rented. sounds slightly mad to me. Alternatively look at all the other local schools. I really would not go with ofsted gratings. These can change dramatically whilst there will be no discernible difference for the parents or children.

CharlesRyder Sat 15-Nov-14 15:44:30

TBH I don't think your 60% concern about not getting on with the other parents is valid. Just find your friends elsewhere?

Or, be open minded and you might find people you get on with after all? We have the opposite issue that DH and I are mere mortals teachers and many parents of DS' class mates are seriously moneyed. On first meeting them I didn't think we'd have much in common but actually, after a few play dates and parties we are getting on quite well.

If only 40% of your concern is the education and you don't think the other local schools are any better then it might be worth giving it some more time.

Can you afford the prep for two?

bearwithspecs Sun 16-Nov-14 08:02:59

I think you need to accept the decision / choice you made and focus on mentally facing forward. You are grieving for the life you kind of had but couldn't afford etc. you miss your friends as you have not made new ones yet. I would be looking to get involved in the new school - PTA, helping out etc. learn more about it before you jump to conclusions. Our very high performing school only changes books once a week. What up with gangnam? They love it and the activity would engage the DC ??? Organise play dates, check out the after school options such as sports and beavers etc. you have a nice house that you can afford. I don't see private as an answer

bearwithspecs Sun 16-Nov-14 08:05:37

If after that, you don't find really nice genuine people to be friends with, look elsewhere. If your DS is happy, leave him be as it's not fair to keep moving him

fredfredsausagehead1 Sun 16-Nov-14 08:53:34

Is your ds happy? Can you wait until Christmas and see how things are then? The first term is always the hardest x

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Sun 16-Nov-14 09:06:19

Op perhaps start a post on the prep you are considering? There may be mumsnetters that already go to said school that could give you an insight on what they think about it. Do you have just one child or two? Are you considering any more as this may also factor in your decision to move from state to prep in the thought that it is viable for 1 but not two iyswim.

redskybynight Sun 16-Nov-14 09:35:19

Are some of your impressions due to the fact that you didn't really want to leave your old area/school and so any school will do badly in comparison? Have you had a chat with your child's teacher about how they are settling in?

bearwithspecs Sun 16-Nov-14 09:45:21

Redsky that was my thoughts too. I know a couple of people who at reception admissions, did not get the school they had their heart set on. No other school was going to live up to expectations as it was not that particular school, in the posh area, with huge social life for parents attached via all the sports and events

tobysmum77 Sun 16-Nov-14 12:57:03

the school might have real problems though it isnt that unusual to be downgraded from 2 to sm. The op may well be right to have concerns.

I think you are paying too much attention to dusty old docs on government websites op. You need to visit the other schools and choose the one clearly on its way up.

teacherwith2kids Sun 16-Nov-14 13:31:58

Did you look at the other schools, or dismiss them wholly on Ofsted reports? If you didn't visit them at the time, do so now.

You may be surpised - I worked in a 'Satisfactory' school for some time, and it was consistently better in many aspects than the 'Good with Outstanding features' school I moved to. Also, things change quickly - that Satisfactory school rapidly progressed to 'Good', whereas the 'Outstanding' school in the next village crashed into Special Measures a few weeks later.

So a school that was Satisfactory, say, 2-3 years ago may well now be MUCH better than a school measured as 'Good' at the same time. How do the results compare (use the DfE tables, progress is particularly revealing, as is the breakdiown between the perfiormance of different groups of children)?

You not making friends is a totally separate issue, and you need to address it separately. I have no 'school gate' friends, but that does not mean I am friendless - I have friends I have made from work, friends I have made at DC's activities, friends I have made through my own interests. Simply having children of the same age at the same school doesn't make you socally compatible, and I have always been a bit aghast at the idea that having 'mum friends' from the school gate is important. Go out, find some local clubs / activities that you enjoy doing, and join them. Take your child along to groups that are aligned to the things you enjoy doing - music, outdoorsy stuff like Beavers, football, whatever - and you are likely to meet parents who also have those inrterests.

Smaller places ARE more cliquey. I lived for 4+ years in a vllage, and was regarded as not QUITE so suspect by the time we left. You have to put the work in, rather than forever looking backwards.

DeWee Sun 16-Nov-14 21:57:33

I may have missed it, but how long have you given it?

I remember a friend doing a move for her dc, and her being in tears over the new school in the first term. 6 months down the line she was singing its praises and wouldn't have moved back if you'd paid her.

If your ds is happy and making friends I wouldn't worry too much at present. If you move him again suddenly you may find that he struggles to settle again because he's expecting to move shortly, so doesn't see the point.
If he's not happy and settled, then have a look round the other schools in your area with spaces/short waiting lists.

LittleRobots Sun 16-Nov-14 22:06:30

Our school is in a low achieving area and I was surprised at the other mums in the dirst few weeks to be honest. I wasnt sure wed done the right thing. However I love the head, they differentiate well and it would take a heck of a lot to move her. The school is fantastic!

pyrrah Sun 16-Nov-14 22:32:57

blush wretched auto-correct.... wellies!

It really sounds like you are struggling with the other mothers not being what you expected.

You don't 'need' to socialise with other mothers at the school - how about getting involved with cubs or some other activities for children in the area?

Also, you will need to give it time. When DD went to the school, friends who knew of it said 'ah, you are going to be THE middle-class mother, and with your accent...' which made me panic a bit. I didn't want to be perceived as snobby or anything, but given I'm a bit shy it was likely to happen, plus everyone else seemed to have lived in the area for 5 generations and all knew each other already. Most of them were in social housing and we were in a yuppy flat. I was sure they would all hate me - let alone would I like them!

Children don't have those kind of issues at this age, and DD was very gregarious and popular which really helped. Even though she's now at a different school, we still invite some of her old friends to birthday parties.

To bring my inner-snob out... yes, she developed a cockney accent, yes, she learnt to say toilet, and wanted her ears pierced. But, she was happy, having fun and learning.

When it came to primary applications I actually listed it above 2 Outstanding and much more MC schools.

There are also bound to be other parents more like you. DD's current school (that we were desperate to get a place at - and did via the waiting list) has over 70% FSM. But in her class are children whose parents are doctors, architects, sculptors, marketing directors for big companies - you just don't see them often at the school gate as kids are at after-school and breakfast clubs.

DD only gets one book a week - but is expected to read every night at home. They also only read 1:1 in class once a week which I was very hmm about initially. It does seem to be very normal. However, 88% of the kids get L5 at KS2 (and nearly 80% are EAL) so they're obviously doing something right.

Not sure what's wrong with Gangnam style? If it gets them all dancing around and enthusiastic then great.

Reading your posts, it very much seems that you are mourning the life and friends you have left behind and that will make so many things look worse than they are. Little things (like Gangnam - that you probably wouldn't have batted an eyelid over at the old school are now assuming far greater proportions). Very normal way to feel, but you will need to make some compromises if you are going to have the house etc. Go and look at the other schools, go and look at the private school, but be sure that you are making choices with your head as well as your heart.

That said, it may well be the worst school in Britain and you should get the hell out asap!

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