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I think I've made a bad mistake

(33 Posts)
susia Sun 13-Sep-09 21:07:22

long story...basically 2 years ago my son didn't get into any of our local primary schools, was offered a school in special measures nearly 2 miles away. He stayed on the waiting list all summer for all three schools and I appealed etc but didn't get anywhere.

My parents then offered for him to go to a private school, this was not what I wanted because he is an only child and I am a single mother and I wanted him to get to know children locally and to have a good social life, the local schools are all very good (hence oversubscribed) etc.

2 years down the line, he has been very happy at the (tiny) private school, but has found reading very difficult. Many children have left this school over the 2 years from his year (his class has gone from 18 to 10 - due to moving away). This has really worried me as I feel that moving eventually from this school to a comprehensive would be very hard.

Anyway, 2 years down the line he was finally offered a place at our local (outstanding) state school. Because of the numbers who have left the private school, because it was not what I originally wanted and because of the social aspect I moved him last week.

Now though I am suddenly doubting my decision. I am worried that as he is struggling so much he would be better where he was in a tiny, more academic school than in a bigger one where everything is new. I feel that I have put his education below his and my theoretical social life which may not materialize.

I am tying myself up in knots about it - it's not too late to move him back. I just don't know what to do.

On the one hand the private school would push him much harder in terms of homework etc which is probably not the best for someone struggling, on the other he was happy and settled and may well do better from it. and all my reasons seem a bit pointless now.

mrspnut Sun 13-Sep-09 21:12:09

I think that what's done is done. You can't move him back now without causing him more harm so you have to get on with it.

I take it your child is 6ish, which is about when my daughter decided that she was ready to learn how to read, prior to that she'd resisted all attempts. She's now 12 and reads regularly for pleasure.

MovingOutOfBlighty Sun 13-Sep-09 21:13:38

Is he happy at the new school? What is his opinion?

MovingOutOfBlighty Sun 13-Sep-09 21:14:37

Just thinking that if he is happy and making friends and it is a good school then the worst that happens is you pay for a bit of extra tuition if need be instead of school fees.
If he is unhappy and unsettled then perhaps moving him is no bad thing

bigstripeytiger Sun 13-Sep-09 21:17:54

I dont think that you should underestimate the importance of the social aspect. You havent put it above his education, because it is a fundamental part of education smile.

From what you have said I think that if I was in your position I would carry on with the new school now. Maybe if the reading doesnt come on at the new school then some of the money that has been saved by moving to state school could be spent on additional tutoring to help the reading?

Heated Sun 13-Sep-09 21:18:31

Just like ds will need a good term+ to settle, so do parents, ime, need time to settle too! Similarly to you, we rejected the nearest private school (ds didn't even start though) in favour of our local primary. I'm a teacher but was still internally angsting over ds' start at school, and still do to a certain extent.

But the good reasons you moved him still stand: it will ease his transition at secondary and help him make friends locally. The falling numbers at private would also be a concern tbh. And I'm pro prep (as in-school independent consolitdation of work done that day) but anti loads of h/w at primary level which wouldn't have suited ds.

Have you had a chance to meet with your ds' new teacher about his reading and how they see his difficulties? Perhaps give it another week and then set up a meeting?

susia Sun 13-Sep-09 21:19:15

he doesn't mind new school but preferred old one. The terms fees are paid for this term so it would be possible to switch back. My parents can afford to pay and are happy to so none of those are issues.

In terms of reading, although my son seems bright and interested in things, he just doesn't seem to 'get' reading. Has been tested for dyslexia but seems ok.

The issue is that what I wanted for 2 years and the reasons now seem less relevant and I wonder if he'd have been better off where he was.

LynetteScavo Sun 13-Sep-09 21:20:06

But what about next year?

Sending a child froma private junior school to a state comp is not a good idea....unless he's really unhappy in his new school I'd leave him there.

Heated Sun 13-Sep-09 21:21:14

ewwwww, my spelling.

Quattrocento Sun 13-Sep-09 21:22:12

The problem with all this educational choice is that you do get left with wondering what might have been.

Firstly, it's too soon to tell. Where are we? Week two?

Secondly, I'm not sure what your social life had to do with this decision (you say it played a part) but I wouldn't beat yourself up about it.

Thirdly, children make friends incredibly quickly at this age. Children move in and out of schools all the time. He'll be just as happy as ever he was in no time at all.

On the academic side, why not invest in a bit of additional tutoring for support for his English? How much is he struggling?

MovingOutOfBlighty Sun 13-Sep-09 21:22:20

Personally then, I would consider switching back providing it can be afforded. If he was happier then that is paramount. The education part is secondary to his happiness. I don't think it should be a problem about adjusting to a larger school later. Perhaps get him involved in lots of local clubs so he has a mix of friends.

BTW, my dd is 5 and although v bright doesn't 'get' reading either!

MarshaBrady Sun 13-Sep-09 21:23:26

If he was happy at the small prep I'd probably move him back tbh.

MovingOutOfBlighty Sun 13-Sep-09 21:24:33

Does he have to go to the local comp? Is there a follow on school to the private one he was at?

susia Sun 13-Sep-09 21:25:16

thank you heated and all of you for your replies. Yes I have spoken to his new teacher about his reading and they have identified that he will have extra help and 1-1 support for it (as he would have had at the private school this year as well).

The social aspect is important and so I thought or I wouldn't have still been thinking this way 2 years on. However, I do worry that for a child who has found reading so hard even in such a small environment that he may struggle even more. Plus I have become used to all the small 'extras' that private schools offer that the state schools can't. (swimming, breakfast club etc)

susia Sun 13-Sep-09 21:28:21

no he will go to the local comprehensive. My parents did not offer to pay for secondary education and although there are a couple of academies here they are very oversubscribed.

In terms of his happiness I think it is too early to tell really. He has only been at new school for a week.

MovingOutOfBlighty Sun 13-Sep-09 21:39:41

In which case, perhaps leave him for now, especially (I assume) lots of the kids will be going from his school to the comp?
(it all sounds a bit like the situation in Bristol!)

trickerg Sun 13-Sep-09 21:50:02

He's been there a week, and the teacher has already seen you about his reading.... I think that's a pretty good indication that's she's got a handle on it, and you've got absolutely nothing to worry about.

lexie01 Sun 13-Sep-09 21:53:48

Our DD1 has just moved from a pre-prep to state primary (for different reasons) and we are going through exactly the same questions. She loved her old school and all the additional activities (which her new school doesn't have) but we also felt that having frineds locally was very important. We ultimately have decided to leave it for a term (at least)to see how she settles in - whether she does actually start playing with the local children and getting involved in local activities. If we feel after this time that she has not gained from the move - either academically or socially - and that she still wants to we will definitely move her back.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you should give it a try and see what happens over the next few terms. If it doesn't work out you can easily move back (especially if there have been falling numbers at his prep school). It would be much harder to get a place at your local school again.

teamcullen Sun 13-Sep-09 21:56:43

susia- have a look at easyread my ds is doing this course at home. He was having trouble with his reading and easyread is really helping him "get it." There is loads of infomation on the site for you to read through and its worth reading, but I can whole heartedly reccomend it for children who are struggling to read.

NormaSnorks Sun 13-Sep-09 22:34:33

I would say give it at least a term before you make any decisions...

- if numbers are falling at the Prep then they would probably welcome you back with open arms if necessary

- many 6-7 year olds find reading difficult (especially boys). My DS2 (just 7) has only really 'got' reading in the last 6 months or so. It sounds as if you will get the same help at either school for him with this.

I always tell myself that I will never make any important decisions in the first couple of weeks of a new school term. You shouldn't underestimate how stressful it is for everyone - both you and your DS. Give things a chance to settle down before you make any decisions.

colditz Sun 13-Sep-09 22:37:33

We have swimming and breakfast club at our (frankly a wee bit rough) state primary.

Do what your gut says.

aristocat Sun 13-Sep-09 22:47:58

susia i have 2 primary age DCs [7 and 5 yo] and i help with reading at their school.
i listen to yr 2/1 and there is quite a difference in the pupils abilities.

do not worry about DS you will get help and as the other posters have said, give him and the school time and best of luck.smile

Acinonyx Mon 14-Sep-09 09:04:09

I think if he is going to the local comp then you have definitely done the right thing in the longer term. I understand your dilemma though - we tied our selves in knots over this very thing, for all the same reasons.

jemart Mon 14-Sep-09 09:18:34

I'd send him back - if he is struggling anyway then the smaller class sizes can only be a good thing.

prettybird Mon 14-Sep-09 09:36:03

My ds didn't "get" reading until he was over 6.5 (towards the end of the equivalent of Y1 - P2 in Scotland). The school told us that some children - especially boys - are just not developmentally ready to readu until they are 6.

At the beginning of P2 he was given a whole term's worth of extra 1:1 support from the depute head to try and keep him in the top group for reading (he'd "coped" until then by learning everything off by heart) before we all agreed that it was best for his confidence to move him down to the middle group.

He's now in P5 and in the last term of P4 he was moved back up to the top group for reading - and reads for pleasure at home.

The point of that story is that reading is just one aspect of your ds' school life - and by the sound of it, he will soon "get" it - he's just not been ready yet.

You have made the right choice, for the right reasons .

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