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New school potential

(10 Posts)
EllaBel Tue 14-Jun-16 09:42:47

I am dissatisfied with the school my children are at currently. From an academic and an extra curricular perspective. We are abroad and it is a fee paying school. I have been offered places for all four at a start up school. Also a fee paying, significantly higher fees but places offered with a massive discount as an incentive to join. The school management have a good reputation. The academic example of their other International schools is excellent. Their facilities are amazing. Their intentions are spot on. But.... Do I move my 4 happy children from a school where they are under challenged but socially comfortable? To a NEW school with potential teething issues... Ages are 9, 8, 6 and 5

Cleo1303 Tue 14-Jun-16 10:20:28

Leaving aside the extra curricular issue at the moment, you say you are unhappy academically. What is the plan for when the children reach 11? Would they stay at the same school until they are 18 or move then? Will the nine year old be facing the 11+ or similar exam soon?

EllaBel Tue 14-Jun-16 13:01:25

He will have to move schools then. But we may choose to head back to the UK at that point. So yes he may be facing entrance exams. If we stayed we would have a logistical issue. The new new school plans to be 3 to 18, open to yr 7 this year and then consecutive years. If we don't take the offer now we will be priced out of it as an option in 2 yrs.

Cleo1303 Tue 14-Jun-16 13:15:48

If you are unhappy with the current school academically then your son might be better at the new school if he is likely to be taking the 11+ or 13+. You've said the reputation of the new school's organization is excellent. Will any of the staff/leadership team from one of the other schools be coming to this new school to get it up and running?

Do you know how many children will actually be joining the new school? Will there be enough children in each of your children's years to make it interesting enough in terms of class discussions and working together on projects,and also to give them enough friends?

Are any of your children's friends also likely to move to the new school?

I'm sorry to ask so many questions. I'm trying to get an overall feel.

EllaBel Tue 14-Jun-16 17:49:31

Thanks Cleo. I appreciate your time and in put.
1. Will any of the existing school teachers be part of the new team? Yes, I know that some are moving from current schools in the region
2. How many children are joining? About 20 per year group. So a small pool.
3. Are any of my kids friends moving? Some of my children's friends are considering, particularly the older two as schooling becomes more critical.

Their current school is villagey in feel, old for the region and the headmistress has been in place for over 30 years. The teacher in place for my eldest has caused problems for years as she has a distracted and inconsistent reputation as a teacher. The school as a whole fights a less than competitive rep as far as academia goes and it is unregulated......

Cleo1303 Tue 14-Jun-16 20:02:09

Hi EllaBel, It's difficult because I don't know any of the personalities involved but if you are concerned about the academic progress and the new school has a proven track record I would be tempted to go for the new school.

Can the new school prepare your eldest for the 11+ if you decide to return to the UK at that time? It sounds as though you have doubts about the present school.

The new school sounds dynamic. The present school sounds as though it has been "trundling" along (for want of a better word) maybe because there has been no real competition and therefore no real choice.

The new school will want to impress so that more families make it their first choice, and if they are sending in an experienced team it sounds as though they are making a real commitment to making the new school work.

20 per year is a small year group but when my daughter left her very good prep last year the year group was 34 across three classes. 20 is enough to give the children a choice of friends.

I think if you move with your four at least some of their friends will move too. I'm not surprised the new school is offering a massive discount. Your family of four will be great for them.

I think it is difficult choosing to go to a brand new school but it is part of a successful group. The Thomas's schools in SW London started with one school but soon started new schools on the back of their excellent reputation.

How do your children feel about it?

EllaBel Wed 15-Jun-16 05:57:14

My children will be quite unsettled by it. No doubt. As with any move, it will take them time to find their feet. They have been at their current school all their schooling lives, it's a transient expat community but the school has been constant.
My eldest for whom I particularly wanted the change was open to the prospect of a change and we went through the process of interview and assessment with the only other school here so the proposal of a different school has wobbled him a bit. He is confident and well balanced though so I think he would be fine with the move in practice.
My 2nd son is very easy going and has had a slow yr with an uninspiring teacher. He has had a class which gelled as a group but hasn't really made close ties with any particular child.
My eldest daughter is stable and has had a great year with a good teacher and she is happy with a close and easy set of friends but several are leaving for other countries.
And my youngest daughter Rec to yr1 is also happy with her group of friends.
It's a tough one. I think it would be the right decision academically definitely but a shaky one when it comes to breaking them out of their social environment. Friends say that kids adapt very quickly if they are happy at home. They are happy at home. Hmmmm...

Cleo1303 Wed 15-Jun-16 09:52:02

The good thing would be that all four of them would be going together so could support one another.

DD went to a school in London where there was a little movement - parents transferred abroad usually, or transferred into London. One child came into my daughter's class for just six weeks because her mother was transferring from America to Russia via a very short stay in London. I thought she would find that incredibly daunting but she was totally cool about it. She was seven at the time. All the children were friendly and welcoming. In the short time she was there she was included in all the birthday parties which occurred.

I think your children would adapt especially if some of their friends came along too. Even then they can see their previous school friends out of school which will give them continuity.

In your situation and bearing in mind what you have said about the present school I think I would make the move.

EllaBel Wed 15-Jun-16 10:18:59

Thank you very much for your ear and advice Cleo. So helpful. It has really helped. All the best to you and yours. E

Cleo1303 Wed 15-Jun-16 10:35:12

And to you and yours too.

Good luck with your decision. C

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