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Whether to involve 9yo dd in the decision to move schools(17 Posts)
For a variety of reasons, DH and I are thinking of moving our eldest dd to a different school. And I have no idea at what point to tell/consult her on the decision.
Our main reasons are:
- a lack of challenge in the classroom. She is not stretched at all.
- a lack of extra-curricular activities due to the small size of the school (no competitive sports teams, no end of year/Christmas plays)
- shockingly poor behaviour policy which means lessons are disrupted. Her class are apparently the worst in the school and whilst they are apparently reviewing the behaviour policy at the moment, I have low confidence in their ability to make effective changes.
- ongoing friendship issues between the other girls in her class. She tries to avoid the drama and consequently spends a lot of her time playing with younger children at playtime. She had a lovely friend who moved to New Zealand last year and she's been lost without her.
She's not unhappy at school but she's not happy either if you see what I mean. Part of me wants to ask her if she would like to move but then I'm not sure if it needs to be our decision. It's compounded by the fact that her younger sister is at the same school and is very happy there.
What would you do?
It's only worth asking her if she wants to move if you are prepared for her to say "no" (and not just go ahead with the move regardless).
Will you be moving the younger one? Surely most of those issues will affect her as well? It's hard to sell "we're moving you to this amazing school" when her younger sibling is going to stay where she is.
Whilst moving to a larger school will provide a larger group of friends, you should be aware that 9 is a prime age for drama and falling out among girls - so this might not be "fixed" by moving her.
My parents moved me at 9. They didn't ask me if I wanted to move (I would have said "no") and just announced at half term that I was moving to a different school after the holiday. Don't do the second bit - give her chance to get used to it, big up the advantages, let her say goodbye to her friends, make arrangements to stay in touch etc.
I think if we were to give the 9yo the option of moving, I suppose we would have to give the 7yo the option too. Although I think it would be a hard decision for her as she has some really good friends at school but I think would also want to be with her sister.
It feels like a tough one.
We are going to move our 8 year old and he won't want to move but we have lots of good reasons for moving. It's going to be hard but I've had advice from mn and irl and the consensus (which I agree with) is that we are the adults and it's our job to make the move successful. It's too much responsibility on our child to make that decision.
I'm thinking about your other child, though. If one of the reasons for moving your older child is lack of challenge and extra curricular activities and the behaviour, I'd move both children as your other child will (if not already) experience these things too. But in appreciate it may be tricky to get them both into the same school, depending on where you live.
We moved our 9yo DD a couple of years ago.
She didn't want to move AT ALL initially. She was horrified by the idea. She then went on several taster days at the new school where she was made very welcome (she was moved from state to private, so this was easy to arrange; not sure what it's like if the new school is a state one).
Eventually she came round to the idea a bit more and was torn between moving and staying. We basically then told her that the new school would be better for her and she was going to move there in the autumn after finishing the summer term in her old school.
It was hard to strike a balance between listening to her feelings and acting in her best interests. So I feel for your position. After a while we just needed to tell her what would happen so that she would have some clarity. But by that point she was less reluctant anyway.
After a week in her new school she spontaneously told me how glad she was that she had moved. She is very happy there still.
One v important thing to bear in mind... Kids normally really HATE the idea of moving school. We did some research on this at the time. The only real exceptions are when they are being bullied very badly or have some other serious issue. Otherwise they tend to feel great loyalty to their school, their classmates and their teacher. Even when the school is a bit crap, it's their territory and they are familiar with it. In fact it may be the only school they've ever known.
You will get a more positive response if you can get them to go on taster days, or otherwise build their familiarity with their new school. Otherwise you are just asking them to make a leap into the unknown.
In the end, after a certain amount of discussion and familiarisation, you may just have to tell her that it's going to happen. I would listen to her views but I would not let her have a veto on this.
As part of my job I help families with education decisions.
One thing I say, is talk to them, listen to them, let them know that you are listening to their opinion, but then make the decision as the adults.
This is important for the children as it is a huge decision, and the a responsibility should not lie on a child's shoulders.
It is also hard for a child to see/consider the long terms effects of a mediocre school. And they can't imagine being settled and happy there yet.
So, include her, talk to her, but you make the decision.
We moved our DS when he was 8. It was a difficult decision because we really liked the school (his older brother and sister were happy there), but his class was a bit of a nightmare and we felt he wasn't having the same positive experience they'd had. We asked him if he wanted to move and he said "yes", which surprised me as I hadn't realised he was that unhappy (he wasn't being bullied or anything). Asking him made the final decision for us.
His older sister was at the same school at that time, and we asked if she wanted to move, but she said "no" so we left her there.
It seems to have been a good decision for both of them.
So, when i was 9 (yr5) my parents asked me if i wanted to move school for yr6. I said no, they moved me anyway, and i didn't forgive them pretty much til i went to uni. It also made it really hard to trust them again.
Thanks for all the responses. It's helpful to hear different perspectives.
I agree that it needs to be our decision. It's just a hard decision to make!
Steppemum - any further advice?
I'm also a bit concerned that if we do involve her in the decision/discussions that she'll go around blabbing about it to all and sundry.
Before you consult your daughter, do you actually have a firm offer from another school?
crucru - No we don't. We're only just considering it as an option at the moment.
If you have little confidence in the academic rigour of the school, why are you happy with it for the younger one, but not the older one! That’s a genuine question, because I’m interested to know what the difference is.
Before you even mention it to her, you need to be sure that whichever school you want to move her to actually has places. I've taught children whose parents have told them they're moving them because the school they're in is rubbish, and they've ended up not actually going because there are no places.
foxyloxy it's not the academic rigour of the school we have low confidence in. We have actually been in helpful dialogue with the school regarding the level of challenge in the classroom and have seen a couple of (small) improvements.
We have always said that academic standards are important to us in a primary school but that this comes second to its ability to provide a nurturing environment for our children. Our eldest is not experiencing a nurturing environment either in the classroom or on the playground due to the behaviour of other children and it is this that I doubt will change. My younger daughter does not experience these same challenges because she has a good group of friends and the behaviour in her class seems ok.
We of course wouldn't hesitate to move her too if we felt this would be better for her. Her temperament also lends itself more to a small-school environment though, whereas I think my eldest would thrive elsewhere.
In that case, I’d find her a school that has a place and then tell her. Realistically, they will want her to come in for a day before she actually starts.
I have a daughter who just turned 10 a few days ago and I would never move her to a new school without consulting her first or letting her see the new school. At that age, kids are nearly teenagers and parents can very well sit them down and have an honest discussion about the pros and cons of their school. My daughter would be totally shocked and upset if I sprung such a huge change on her without her input. It's she who will have to attend the school.
I would have a particular school in mind first though before talking to her about it.