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How much does out of school socialising matter?

(16 Posts)
Greydiddi Thu 23-Mar-17 09:51:18

Hi everyone

I was just looking for some views to help me come to a decision I have to make about my son's education.

He is currently in reception at a local school. The area I live in is one of those areas where a lot of children are sent to private school. There is an outstanding primary that has a very restricted catchment - effectively a middle class school, where a good proportion of children leave at 7/8 to go private.

My son didn't get into this school and instead got a place at the other local school. It's catchment is very different - predominantly ethnic minority ( we are mixed race but from a culturally different background). It is rated good.

My son loves his school, his learning is really coming on, he is proud to go there and very happy ( there were some niggles but these have been worked out fantastically by the school) and is forming some lovely friendships. I also really love the school and - this sounds strange - but feel very attached to it. It is such a friendly, caring and true community school. The head is fantastic ( knows every child by name in a large school, is around at every pick up and drop off, all the children know her and have a relationship with her). I would genuinely be very sad to leave the school.

The down side of the school is that because of the cultural differences there is no play dates or birthday parties and no out of school socialising between children. This doesn't really matter to my child in reception but I do wonder how much of a downside it will become as he gets older? The recent SATS results were also significantly lower than the outstanding school ( although I think this is partly due to intake as I noticed the achievement expected of pupils was good). Also, if I am honest, I would prefer my son to go to a more truly mixed school in terms of religion/culture ( which the outstanding school also wouldn't provide - it just has a different ethnic segregation!).

Sorry this is long! Anyway we have just been offered a place off the waiting list for the outstanding school and I am in a real dilemma as to what to do. My head says I should accept it, but at the same time I much prefer the feel of the school my son is now at and as I said he is very happy there. His class size is also small where he is (20) as opposed to 30 at the outstanding school. I think the main reason I would move him would be because of the out of school socialising and I guess perhaps the results - but I'm struggling to work out how important these are.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! I am really finding it difficult to come to a decision - not helped by the fact that my local friends all think I would be crazy not to accept the place.

Corialanusburt Thu 23-Mar-17 09:55:55

If he likes playing football, and joins a local team you and he will make some great mum and kid friends.

TeenAndTween Thu 23-Mar-17 09:58:09

Could out of school socialising be covered by Beavers/Cubs and other extra curricular?
Neither of my DDs have ever done much out of school socialising (for various reasons) and I do feel they have missed out on something.

MrsMarigold Thu 23-Mar-17 10:06:58

I'd go for the outstanding school, they are adaptable and getting the basics right in terms of reading and maths that's vital. Also he will make friends.

Greydiddi Thu 23-Mar-17 10:12:58

Thanks all - he is a very sociable boy and quite sporty so I think out of school clubs are a definite possibility. I suppose I just remember how important friendships from school were to me when I was at school.

mrsmarigold I'm fairly confident the teaching is just as good at his current school, I suspect a good proportion of the difference in results between the schools is due to intake and parental involvement/understanding of the educational system ( many parents do not speak English). Again I struggle a bit to work out how important that is if I put the time in at home with him? At the moment he seems - in the nicest possible way - average to slightly above average academically.

Mary21 Thu 23-Mar-17 11:59:28

Maybe you need to take a very proactive stance to play dates and parties. If this is an area where lots of the mums are new comers to the country they may well be nervous about socialising maybe due to poor language. But they probably want friends. Maybe start small . Invite friend and mum to the park or mum dad and kid to tea.
Join the pta if they have one. See what can be done re school socials. One local to us does a bring a dish from your country night which works well.
Try and chat with other mums at the school gate even if their English is poor. If a group are chatting away in another language maybe don't barge in but if you see someone on their own have a chat.
Family parties may well be more the norm but if you become family friends you may be invited.
It great your ds loves his school

Ginmummy1 Thu 23-Mar-17 12:07:50

I think it's actually more beneficial for children to make friends outside their usual circle of school friends, so support the other suggestions of football or Beavers/Cubs or whatever else he is interested in. This way, he'll have some friendships for the future, even if he has 'wobbles' with classmates along the way. You hear so much about bullying and just general classroom/school niggles over the years, that I think separate social groups will 'protect' him from this.

Also, just because there doesn't seem to be a culture of playdates and out of school activities at your son's current school, it doesn't mean that you can't arrange playdates with your son's friends. It doesn't matter what 'most' people do.

I'm not meaning to sway you towards staying, but just offering perspective on your specific concerns about the out-of-school social side.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 23-Mar-17 12:19:56

Agree that you want friends outside school, not deepening friendships with people who you don't necessarily click with and as tastes change - especially if the school is tiny (you say large school, but also class sizes of 20 in YR which makes me wonder)

Also, if lots leave the other school at 7-8, you may just be building friendships that die anyway?

Can you not just go to the park and play? DD knows kids from both the other two local schools just by that.

smilingsarahb Thu 23-Mar-17 14:35:03

What happens in key stage 2 at your current school? Classes of 20 don't seem economically viable to me in this day an age. My son was taught in a class of 38 last year of mixed year groups as the school couldn't pay for 2 teachers. I'd pick a school with sound finances to be honest as cuts are going to have more and more impact. The bed rock of sound finances will be full classes

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 23-Mar-17 14:37:09

If the majority of the kids are leaving the other school at age 7/8 to go to other (private) schools thrn he will lose those friendships anyway more likely than not. I may stay where you are and join beavers/football etc.

Have you tried inviting kids from school to tea at all? Reception is still very young to be socialising out of school.

Greydiddi Thu 23-Mar-17 16:31:24

Thanks everyone - the point about out of school friends is a good one actually ( and I don't want him to have a packed schedule so I guess with a couple of out of school activities it will probably be good to keep other evenings free anyway!).

I am on the PTA - it is a bit of a challenge to find things that people will participate in, (although a cake sale usually works well) or to get anyone to volunteer to be on it - I'd say the teachers tend to step in a lot more than in other schools. I have tried to arrange the odd play date and we do have one little boy who has come and another girl. The other parents are perfectly friendly at the school gates, they really would just prefer to go home outside of school I think! It's quite hard to explain, there are no birthday parties for example ( which some may see as a blessing 😉) - I have to admit I am not particularly desperate for play dates it really is for my son.

sirfred its dual entry so one of 20, one of 25 ( we started off with 55 in total but there have been several leavers).

BackforGood Sun 26-Mar-17 18:52:21

As others have said, I think I'd keep him where he is - it sounds lovely - and sign him up to Beavers, or some other activity out of school which might interest him.

sportinguista Mon 27-Mar-17 11:15:22

You could have been me writing this. We stuck with the school for a while but in the end we took him out and now homeschool. As you say other parents are perfectly polite but interchange was not encouraged. In our case we tried to move schools but there were no spaces and we just went further and further down lists. So here we are. We have a better social life for my son now and also better activities than the school provide. We do intend to move but we will wait to see if a good school place comes up. We may even home ed for the rest of primary.

As lovely as the school is, there is a community there but due to various reasons you can't be part of it and therefore it's not a good fit. I just wanted what I had for my son, a chance to attend more than just the one birthday party and not to have to wonder why although there were birthday parties and playdates for other children he wasn't invited. I would move if you have the chance.

bojorojo Mon 27-Mar-17 13:27:56

As others have said, will he make lasting friends at the other school? In y3 his new friends may move on. Also YR is too early for friendships to develop between children and your issue is really with the parents. My DD1 had virtually no after school play at this age, but a year on it changed.

Lots of people say their children are too tired. I filled the gap by out of school activities. Swimming, music and movement, and later on piano lessons, dancing and Brownies. The boys joined Beavers and football clubs. I think I would persevere for the moment and a school with a more challenging catchment won't get the sats results of an affluent school. Look at progress though and your school may do very well.

sportinguista Mon 27-Mar-17 14:21:06

I think it's hard to understand this dynamic if you haven't actually lived it. I think I know which culture you may be talking about and it was the same in our case. It isn't as simple as trying to make friends with the mums, they will as in our case be perfectly polite but what happended with us is that any invites were refused or they simply didn't turn up.

In our case I also became more and more concerned regarding the academics too so it pushed us to sort the problem out. DS is much happier and as I say more social opportunities have opened up.

If I had been able to move him to another school, I would. He will adapt and he will make good friends at another school. A friend of ours moved their daughter and within a couple of days she had party invites and friends.

tovelitime Mon 27-Mar-17 14:32:40

In KS1 I don't think that socialising is all that important but it does become more important as they get older. Presumably if children are leaving the other school at 7/8 to go private then places open up there then. Why not keep him in his current school until year 3 and then move him to the outstanding school at year 3 /4 where the children who remain are likely to be there until year 6 and then he'll get the social for KS2

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