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Any experiences of an unhappy primary experience turning into a fab secondary one?

(41 Posts)
hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Fri 02-Oct-15 18:46:10

My sons having a tough time socially in a tough class. I'm concerned it will not stand him in good stead for secondary. Anyone had a real turn around moving on to secondary school?

Electrolux2 Fri 02-Oct-15 18:52:31

Yes here. Ds is flying high socially and academically at high school and wasn't doing either at primary.

Dd is struggling even more. Especially socially and she has a lot of silly girls in her class and she wants to work.

It was key to find the right school though. We looked at lots.

Ahrightsoted Fri 02-Oct-15 18:53:27

I could have written this post myself , am worried sick for him.
Watching with interest sad

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:00:49

That's very reassuring. We are thinking hard about the right school. Did you considering moving during primary?

TennesseeMountainPointOfView Fri 02-Oct-15 19:10:23

DS hated his junior school (y3-6), he had a very unsettled time with several teachers in each year - it was only y6 where he had a permanent teacher who stayed the entire year. I came very close to moving him, but he didn't want to, because the only thing he liked about the whole school thing at that point was his friends - he's not a big fan of meeting new people - and I needed a place for DD as well. I actually had them on the waiting list for a school but a space never came up in his year, so I never had to force the issue.

He was very apprehensive about going to high school, he got very very quiet at the end of August even though he'd done the summer school activity programme at the high school, and lots of his friends were going there.

It's been 4 weeks now, and he's really enjoying it - he voluntarily tells me things that have happened, we aren't having tears over homework (although I expect that will happen again at some point), and he's stayed behind a few times to use the library, which he would never have done at the junior school. He hasn't joined any extra-curricular clubs yet, but I'm holding out some hope he might before y7 is out. He's also been talking about a boy he's been sitting with and working with in class this week, and it isn't someone who went to the same junior school as him. That's huge progress for him!!

BabyGanoush Fri 02-Oct-15 19:17:56

Oldest DS struggled at primary, socially and academically, though he made a few friends in the last years. He was picked on by some of the hangers-on of the "popular crowd".

He is now in year 8 and has come into his own! He has found lots of likeminded boys (into scifi and comics, a bit geeky I guess) . He is doing fine academically, and has grown in confidence (massively).

We chose the local comp that was well known for being a "happy school" with good pastoral care (rather than the more academic,,"outstanding" school which has more bullying issues).

We are amazed frankly. He just needed to be in a bigger, friendly school and find his tribe grin

Hope things will go well for your DS too.

unlucky83 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:20:16

DD1 had a rough time at primary - now at secondary she has a circle of friends but isn't one of the popular children - is one of a group of oddballs - but if anything is taking pleasure in her difference - which I think is a good thing.
I know someone whose DS went to a small primary school - there were 4 other boys in his class and he didn't really get on with any of them - had a really miserable time (not bullied but never had anyone to play with). He did join after 3 years too - which made it harder. His parents made sure he did lots of after school things with children from other primaries and he did get on with them but didn't really make any good friends as the others mainly played with children from their schools. Then he went to a big high school and within a few month had lots of friends - some that he already knew from the activities -once they were all at the same school they seemed to be more amiable to being good friends. Has actually just left and done well - going to university and (apparently) not worried about meeting new people, making new friends -probably his early difficulties which were then resolved have helped his self confidence.

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:31:13

Really encouraged by these posts. My biggest worry is the effect long term bullying might's low level but constant and he's desperate for a special friend sad

lljkk Fri 02-Oct-15 19:33:20

I wish I had moved mine in primary a lot sooner. I was not moved in primary & had a horrible time. MOVE.

Electrolux2 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:34:03

I couldn't move the children easily so concentrated my efforts of finding the right high school for ds and am now doing same for dd

Basically I needed a school full of similar children to ds. He's quirky and a definite marmite character. Somehow. In the transition to high school he's found a lots of people he is similar too. There are plenty of boys that are different but the key bit is there are many many more children

Ds primary had <200 children in total
His high school has nearly that many in one year group

Forget ofsted. ( nearly) Forget league tables. Go and look at schools and trust your gut feeling.

Also Ds is the only child from his primary to go to his high school so he got a complete new start and reset socially and academically is now learning something whereas he had been bored for the last 3 years learning nothing

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:38:14

It's so hard as other dc is happy. Harder still as son doesnt want to move schools - although is unhappy?!?!?

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:39:17

unlucky83 it sounds the same situation for my ds

Electrolux2 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:42:37

I have bigger problems his year with my year 6 dd and low level exclusion type bullying.

It's a real problem. What's the point in moving them for 2 terms?
I just keep saying she is ok, that she will be in high school too. To keep telling her she is doing the right thing and being 'teachers pet' is better than being in trouble all the time.
We talk a lot and I get her very involved in the decision making transition to high school.

QueenLaBeefah Fri 02-Oct-15 19:42:48

My 14yr old son hated primary school - was very bored, geeky and (seemingly the worst sin of all) hated football.

Anyway, he is now at high school and completely in his element. Doing lots of science (barely covered in primary) and tons of other subjects that aren't really covered properly at high school. Also has a great, varied group of friends. Teenagers really seem to embrace their inner geek and don't feel the need to confirm like at primary.

Tinfoiled Fri 02-Oct-15 19:43:19

This is encouraging - marking my place. My quirky year 6 dd has struggled at primary - always on the fringes of friendship groups, not interested in things most other girls are etc. I had the opposite experience to her - loved primary, hated secondary and have a lot of anxiety about her starting secondary so it's good to hear other slightly different kids have thrived.

Naoko Fri 02-Oct-15 19:49:49

I don't have DC, but this was me as a child - I was miserable. Bullied by most of the class all the way through primary, not low level either, as well as at a school that was completely unable or unwilling to differentiate work for the above-average. Sometimes I wish my parents had moved me. I understand why they didn't, though, and am not sure it'd have made much difference.

For secondary school I chose to go to a school on the other side of town without any of my primary classmates. I wanted to go because I loved the school but leaving all the nasty bastards behind was a definite bonus. It was the best thing I ever did, the first year at secondary was hard because I didn't cope well with change and transition as a child (still don't, tbh) and there was some low level bullying. However this was a really good school who came down on it like a ton of bricks, it stopped, and I had the most brilliant secondary experience after that.

I would be very, very careful in selecting a secondary. You want somewhere he likes the look of (if he's enthused about going it'll hopefully show in his confidence when he gets there), that's also good with pastoral care, as he's had such a hard time. Finally it needs to suit him academically because at least part of the reason I had such a good secondary experience was that the place suited me down to the ground, they were great with kids who loved to learn and had a strong MFL/liberal arts focus. If I'd been more sciency I'd probably have picked the other secondary a few streets over who had a strong STEM reputation but the same sort of 'feel' to it otherwise.

Do you have a good selection of secondaries? Will you be able to choose between, say, school where all his current classmates will go vs. one that allows him a fresh start?

Electrolux2 Fri 02-Oct-15 19:58:38

Ds isn't just surviving high school. He's thriving. Confident. Happy. Group of children waiting for him as I drop him off

But I fought like a tiger to get him into that school. It's full of geeky, slightly odd, bright boys. And only boys. Not girls

He absolutely did not want to go to high school with anyone from primary. And he wanted to go somewhere where he could learn.

Dd is seeing that and it's helping her get through her last year of primary. Ds is year 7 btw

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Fri 02-Oct-15 21:59:11

Wow! This is lifting my spirits! Large choice, well lots of options but all hard to get into. Will move I expect.

mummytime Fri 02-Oct-15 22:19:08


DD 1 hated Primary, became increasingly miserable - at secondary had friends, and was much happier.
DD2 was in lots of trouble at primary, won a prize for behaviour in first year at secondary.
Even DS preferred moving around and not being with the same teacher all day. (And being expected to work fast, and not being kept at the same task all day was more interesting.)

A bigger school gives far more chance of finding friends. And if they have lots of clubs, it's even easier. (I like big schools.)

unlucky83 Fri 02-Oct-15 23:16:04

I would say if he still has a few years at primary and you can think about moving him to a bigger school that might be good idea. (The person I know did think about it but the logistics made it more or less impossible). But there is always the risk the children there all have well established friendship groups and it will be worse.
I also echo not sending them to the high school where the majority of their primary school class mates are going -if you can. And to a big high school where there are lots of different characters so they can find their group.
I said DD had a rough time at primary but is ok now - she is not one of the 'popular' children but has lots of friends...
But she was bullied in first year - on the school bus by the children she had gone to primary school with and she still does get the odd comment off them -thankfully she doesn't care any more and just ignores them. (We have no other option apart from private for high school...)

fatowl Sat 03-Oct-15 00:44:45

This was my dd
She was fine in R and Y1 but we moved in Y2 due to DHs job and had to move school for the start of Y2
She went into perfectly lovely class which had very well established friendship groups which she never broke into. No one was outright mean, but she never really made friends. She was invited to whole class parties but that was it, blade spite me inviting every single girl in the class home at some point it was rarely reciprocated .
She did better with the boys but again never broke into a tight group. She ended up fairly good friends with a boy with AS.

She did better at Brownies, a different mix of girls and leaders who "got" her.

In Y5 she had a teacher who just didn't "get" her and we had a horrible year. Not entirely the teachers fault- dd was horrible that year. Her only proper friend went to a specialist school at the start of Y6.

She did much much better at secondary, even though it was mostly the same kids.
I just think the dynamics changed and the style of secondary suited her better. She liked having different teachers for everything, I think it helped her sort things in her mind better!
She's in Y13 now and House Head girl. (And a Young Leader at her old Brownies - she never really left!)

MilkRunningOutAgain Sat 03-Oct-15 13:45:03

DS is much happier at secondary, he even admits to enjoying 3 subjects, which is 3 more than at primary. And he is as a result making an effort in these subjects, and really progressing, at primary he was bored and made little effort. But he remains entirely friendless, not that this worries him, no friends have visited, nor has he been round to a single friends house since he started secondary, he is in yr 8. This worries me, but I am trying to accept who he is. He has also started enjoying clubs more, he is sports mad, and has actually joined some school sports teams and represented the school, which I am delighted about. There is no bullying, never has been, he is huge and I doubt many DC in his year or the ones above would think of doing this.

Primary was a lovely friendly small school, but it didn't suit DS. Not a single teacher ever got him. Mind you, neither do I most the time.

IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst Sat 03-Oct-15 20:09:54

I posted about my DS in first school (we do 3 tiers here so they move at end of Y4), he was in the small village primary and was upset about not having a special friend, he's into Lego and Marvel, not football like the majority of boys in his class were - went to middle school which he liked and I was confident with the atmosphere and pastoral care, and he has flourished! Found some similarly geeky friends from the larger pool of kids, and loves it.

With more children in a bigger school, from a wider area, he has found his niche and has some great friends now. Teachers great and pastoral care excellent, they came to first school and did some emotional help for,the more nervous kids, and it really helps the transition. I had been worried about the move to a bigger school, but actually it's been the making of him. There are friends out there, just waiting to meet!

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Sat 03-Oct-15 22:37:38

That's great *IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst

hugsarealwaysneededhere1 Sat 03-Oct-15 22:38:43

I think the bigger pool of kids seems to be the key to finding like minded kids. Do you think it matters if many of them know each other from primary though?

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