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Primary school 'pressure' to apply for feeder Secondary.

(16 Posts)
Trampire Mon 10-Jul-17 09:15:56

If your Primary school is the feeder for a Secondary, can I ask how much 'pressure' there is for your child to apply there?

My dd is just coming to the end of Y7. We chose a school not too far away but not our 'feeder' secondary school. She was the only one from her class who didn't apply there. The passive aggressive pressure on her (and I) was big. She was told she was stupid for choosing something else, 'above herself' etc, I was sent texts by parents telling me horror stories they'd heard from a friend of a friend of a friend's cousin etc about our chosen school.
When all the other children had a whole week of transition to feeder school, my dd was left to do her own thing (which was fine). But even after this week, they had a Teacher from the Secondary come into school and said to the class "anyone who's not going to x-school stand up please". She was told that "she'd be ok when she realised her mistake as she could always transfer".

We both hated all this but gritted our teeth and rode it out.

Now ds will be in Y6 next year. Already the pressure to apply for feeder school has begun. His school have sent the year to the school for the whole day. His friends are already trying to make him promise he will apply here (when it's not really what he or I want).

The feeder school is ok. Below average performance. It could be worse, but I just feel a bit 'meh' about it.

Is this excessive? Is it cause for complaint? I've never complained about anything at the school. Does anyone else have this all consuming assumption that everyone from a Primary will go to one school and that school only?

I ignore as best I can, but last time it really got to me. Making these decisions is hard enough.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 10-Jul-17 10:58:07

I had this at school. I would suggest that you prep him with some standard phrases such as 'oh well my parents want me to go to my sister's school'. It deflects the choice from him, shuts down the conversation and in a year he will be going elsewhere. Same for you stock phrases 'dd is so happy at school x and much easier if in same school' or 'I know school x might not suit everyone but it is the right place for my dc'. They probably feel judged for choosing the meh school so take it away from the context of one school being better or worse and put it in the context of 'suits my child'.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 10-Jul-17 11:01:59

Oh and a taster day at that stage somewhere is fairly normal - convinced dd that she absolutely did not want to go to that school!

CatsInKilts Mon 10-Jul-17 11:19:16

Ours is one of the feeder schools for a local secondary school.

Most children from DD's year will be going there in September but by no means all. I think there are children going to at least 3 other secondary schools.

I think some of the Year 6's are a bit disappointed if their friends are going elsewhere but the ones who are close friends are already making plans to keep in touch via other means.

" His school have sent the year to the school for the whole day. "

The transition visits will have been arranged by the secondary school, so it's not a case of the primary school necessarily sending them anywhere. At ours, the children going to other schools have also had similar visits.

There have also been visits from teachers from the feeder secondary school. If they are doing a sports activity, I think the whole of the year group take part but I'm not sure what they did when it was just a visit to see if any of the children had questions.

From your description, it doesn't sound as if it's the primary school that are applying pressure. They don't have any control over other parents texting you with stories. They could possibly have a word with the other children about not making your DS feel bad about going elsewhere, but I think that would depend on how you and your DS would feel about that.

Either way, I hope the pressure eases soon. The Yr 7 transition is stressful enough without having to feel as though you or DS have to justify your decisions. flowers

Trampire Mon 10-Jul-17 11:56:50

Thanks for the replies.

I'd never actually heard of a compulsory Secondary school transition day before any choices had been made for school applications but I guess it's not uncommon then.

I'm aware the school have no control over other parents comments, I think I just feel like there's an overwhelming assumption throughout the school that your child will be going there.

Maybe I am too sensitive? I found Y7 transition fairly stressful for my dd (although she's very happy now). I think the extra comments of how 'wrong' I am backed-up with the Primary school telling them nearly every week they'll be going to this particular school - just adds to the overall anxiety I have that we've chosen the correct school.

I don't mention it at all. However people ask me, constantly. I'll have to teach me and my ds those stock phrases!

ReinettePompadour Mon 10-Jul-17 12:05:11

The children here visit the high schools frequently from year 5.

In answer to your initial post this year half of year 6 were going to 1 high school and the other half to another with around 3 or 4 odd children going to private high schools.

The induction days were on completely different days, months even.

It was a nightmare for the primary school to organise work for children being in and out of schools at different times. It is much easier for schools to organise events/work etc if all children were going to visit the high school on the same day so they do inadvertently put pressure on parents to consider the same schools.

The primary school also builds up a relationship with the high schools and they hold joint events and share resources etc. If children start disappearing to alternative schools then the high schools that they have built up good relationships with will start to withdraw many shared resources etc and focus on those schools they know will be sending their children to them.

They may not intend to put pressure on parents to choose 1 school over another (unless theyre in an MAT, multi academy trust) but they do.

My advice is to ignore them and pick the school that is best for your child at the time.

RedSkyAtNight Mon 10-Jul-17 12:16:24

DD's school does regular sessions at the secondary school. I think this is a positive thing whether or not your child will end up going there. (DD for example, took part in a music day where she got to play with the secondary school orchestra).
She also (now in Y6) has a pastoral member of staff come in from the feeder secondary every week for a few weeks to talk to the children about moving up - but again, whilst there will be some bias towards the particular secondary, this is fairly general and of use to all the DC.

It sounds like the negative comments are coming from other parents - which surely the school can't do anything about? The comment from the visiting teacher sounds like it was meant to be a joke! And of course the other children will want your DS to go to the same school as them ...

I'm not sure what is to be gained by complaining to the school (or what you'd complain about?)

[DD's school usually sends something like 105 out of 120 to feeder secondary]

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 10-Jul-17 12:48:51

I think that this Teacher from the Secondary come into school and said to the class "anyone who's not going to x-school stand up please". She was told that "she'd be ok when she realised her mistake as she could always transfer". is the only thing I would complain about as that is inappropriate and I know that they need to develop a tougher skin at secondary school but ultimately your dd should not be held up as a point of ridicule particularly over something like this over which she has not got control as ultimately it is your decision not hers. That is why I would get ds to 'blame' it on you. Even though he may agree that he prefers the chosen school it is hard for them to verbalise it without getting into an argument.

I often rehearse stock phrases with them for example after an exam we say 'oh I think it was ok but there were a few tricky questions - can be taken to mean a number of things and is non commital.

If other school is further away something along the lines of 'we might move closer' - you might not but it makes the listener think 'Oh Trampire is just going to school x because they are going to be closer'. The fabled move just never happens. Or oh dd is so happy and settled at school x and I couldn't cope with them at different schools <tinkly laugh>.

All the time they think it is due to standards, behaviour etc at their chosen school they feel as if you are judging their choice. Make it about you and your dc's situation and although they might be disappointed as they are losing a friend, they will have less to argue against.

jamdonut Mon 10-Jul-17 19:09:47

We are a feeder school for our local secondary school, just up the road from us. There is another secondary a little further away in our town, which has its own, nearby feeder schools. However, we are sent invitations from both schools for Year 5 and 6 for various ' fun' visits., which we always go on.
There is no pressure, but most attend our feeder.
This year 2 children are going to the other school. They had their own transition days. The rest had 2 days at the local school this week. The 2 going to the other school helped in other classes and did a variety of jobs.
It turns out these 2 actually live a lot closer to their secondary, and that is why they are going there. Nothing to do with standards, behaviour or anything else...just easier to get to, which is perfectly understandable.

Trb17 Mon 10-Jul-17 22:01:42

No pressure at all in our primary school, despite it being the main feeder for the nearest secondary (same Academy Trust runs both).

There are several secondary schools in the area so multiple choice. Around 90% go to the nearest secondary.

Not an ounce of pressure is put on kids or parents and visit days only happen after places allocated.

I'm shocked that any schools would work this way tbh and realise we are lucky with how ours operate.

jamdonut Tue 11-Jul-17 07:36:38

There is only one academy in our town, and it is also a feeder for the same school as ours. Although we were in Special measures a few years ago, we managed to escape academisation, and are now classed as good! The one school that IS one chose to be an academy.

user1484655514 Tue 11-Jul-17 07:43:32

That is shocking, my daughters primary has a feeder school and 18 of the 30 children are going there but the others chose 7 different schools and all were supported. I was even told that the school we chose was a better fit for our daughter, chose what feels right for your child and ignore negative comments, good luck x

Eolian Tue 11-Jul-17 07:50:48

Wow, I'm a teacher and am shocked by that! There was no pressure at all at my local primary, in spite of the fact that there is one very obvious feeder secondary 5 minutes away, but some kids each year choose to go to the (very aspirational-looking but not actually necessarily better) one 25 mins away. No attempt to influence those decisions in any way by the primary school. Taster days happen after decision has been made.

SafeToCross Tue 11-Jul-17 07:54:18

I would pre-empt it and send a letter requesting your son is appropriately supported in his transition as your daughter was made to feel 'like she had made the wrong choice' (make clear this was by staff and other school, not just pupils and other parents which of course they can't control).

LadyPenelope68 Tue 11-Jul-17 07:57:59

I'm a Year 6 teacher in Primary and we are a feeder school for one of the local primaries. We always have at least a 3rd (this year half) of children who don't go to the feeder Secondary and there is no pressure whatsoever from us or the secondary. It's about what best fits your child.

chantico Tue 11-Jul-17 08:06:18

Firstly, don't tell anyone where you're applying (harder when it's not your first, though as people may assume - correctly in your case - that you'll try to keep siblings together.

But if cornered, I suggest you need to be as vague as possible 'we're still working out what's likely to be best'.

And ignore the taster days - if the whole year group goes the. Of course your DC goes too, but then you talk afterwards (privately) about school choices, possibly involving DC1 to talk about the realities of her school. If she's happy there, it'll have shown all year and that may well count for more than any amount of visits or briefings.

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