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Policy of splitting up friendships

(29 Posts)
PrettyCandles Thu 22-Oct-09 22:26:04

Any teachers, could you explain? I'm puzzled about this:

When dd went into Y2 (this year) she and her best friend were deliberately put into different classes. Her Y1 teacher at the time explained that the school had chosen to do this because they felt that dd and her friend were at risk of becoming co-dependent in their learning, and if they were not given the opportunity to learn to learn independantly, then they would struggle in future.

Her Y2 teacher put it differently yesterday. If I understood her correctly, this was a strategy to teach children a life lesson in how to cope with changes in friendships. Again, she made the point that if they did not learn these lessons now, it would be harder later.

I can, just about, accept the first explaination, but I'm hmm about the second. Particularly as (a) ds1 was never split from his best friend at any point, and (b) when they move to the junior school a special effort is made to keep friendships together.

What do you think of this strategy?

BirdyArms Thu 22-Oct-09 22:31:42

Seems odd to me. Ds1 has just started reception at a school with 2 classes. The classes are mixed at the end of reception but they try to keep friends together. Parents are asked for the names of 3 children who their child would like to be in a class with and they are normally able to arrange the classes to do this.

Lakota Thu 22-Oct-09 22:36:30

Same thing has just happened to my DS, though slightly different situation. I also posted thread in Primary education this evening (sorry can't do links). Off to bed now, but I sympathise. My son and his friend are not disruptive, and actually encourage each other in confidence. It seems really mean

Lakota Thu 22-Oct-09 22:38:17

I think the policy is crap, BTW. There's plenty of time for horrible life lessons without inflicting pointless upset on small children.

Wandaaa Thu 22-Oct-09 23:11:34

Have other children also changed classes or just your DD,if it's just her I would imagine it would be hard for her but if there are other friendless children then I cant see a problem.

At DD's school they deliberately split up friendships from nursery when starting reception. DD was in a gang of 3 and stayed with one of her friends ( I felt sorry for the one on her own, but pleased it wasn't DD blush), but now in year 1 she has different friends.

I know they change the classes around after year 2 by ability and they may even do it after year 1, which I am a bit worried about, as the other 2 girls in her group are best friends and I don't know if any of her friends will end up in the same class as her.

I guess it is just something some schools do and although I am concerned about it happening in the future, it really didn't make any difference to DD in reception as everyone else was in the same boat.

hatwoman Thu 22-Oct-09 23:27:41

I think it's the kind of thing that can only be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. However, dd made a very close friend in nursery and was in the same class as her until y4 (when we moved) and I do actually think she might have been better off if they had been in different classes - they were so close that I think neither of them really spread their wings and made many (any?) other friends. Their bond was strong - and I strongly suspect that if they had been in different classes they would still have been "best" friends - but with the added bonus of making other friends too.

I think the two explanations aren't actually that different - both are about the impact of a close friendship - one focused more on learning the other on social skills - but all part of the same picture.

southernbelle77 Fri 23-Oct-09 09:05:48

This is something that I'm worrying about for dd next year. She is currently in year 1 and has a best friend who she spends nearly all her time with (although not in the same work groups so are apart for that). They let other people play with them, but they are always together itms. Apparently in year 2 the classes get mixed and I'm worried that if they do, dd and her friend will not cope very well.
Friends mum and I have talked about being a bit worried about them not making other friends as such so are going to make an effort for each of them to bring different friends home for tea etc to encourage other friendships too. They are so lovely together though and seem to encourage and support each other so I'd like their friendship to stay strong.
Unless the children are disruptive or causing problems for others, I don't see why they should split them up.

Watchtheworldcomealivetonight Sat 24-Oct-09 17:06:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

happyharry Sun 25-Oct-09 19:34:07

My dd has been split up from most of her friends this year. She was put in the year 1/year2 class and the other 2 girls in the year 1 class. I was concerned. However, it has worked out fine. She still sees the other girls at lunch and playtime but has also mase new friends.

Fizzylemonade Sun 25-Oct-09 22:58:48

I would think that they Yr1 teacher had a better grasp on it than the Yr2 teacher seeing as though she taught them both for a year. Where the "co-dependent" learning is cited I would agree that maybe splitting them is best. They may well have tried to separate them in class, but it seems late to ask this, not your fault though. sad

If it was solely a life lesson then this is cruel.

Our classes aren't split once they start reception together but they are moved around in the classroom onto different tables, this is mainly for streaming purposes but also personality reasons too.

It helps them interact with more children rather than relying on just one friend and therefore excluding other children whether intentional or not.

hippipotamiHasLost75lbs Mon 26-Oct-09 10:23:45

At our school they mix up the classes going into Y3. The school make it very clear they will keep those frienships which work well together. I.e groups of friends who help eachother out, equal friendships, frienships where the best friends happily mix and play with others etc.
But they also make it clear they will split troublesome frienships and cited the example of friends who are very very close and exclude anyone else, who when together tease others, who won't let the other friend play with anyone else and who are just too dependent on one-another. They said this scenario applies mostly to girl frienships and is in the long run not a healthy frienship.

sarah293 Mon 26-Oct-09 10:26:37

Message withdrawn

hippipotamiHasLost75lbs Mon 26-Oct-09 10:27:54

Gah, pressed post too soon.

I meant to add;

Dd has had the same best friend (S) for years. Sometimes the friendship works very very well - they play with a group of other girls, dd and S look out for eachother and work well together. But there are also times (luckily quite rare) when one will purposely exclude the other and typical 6-year-old- girly meanness sets in. In the past the teachers have seen past this and acknowledged their friendship as being overall a healthy one.
But the girls are now in Y2 and their teacher has already expressed concern over their closeness and is doing her best to split them up in class.
So I have a horrible feeling they will be split going into Y3.

hippipotamiHasLost75lbs Mon 26-Oct-09 10:31:09

Well I think that is just it Riven - they want the children to mix and socialise with a wide range of children and not be dependent on the same 2 or 3.

Having said that, there are 2 girls in dd's year who, when together, are just plain nasty. (Is age 6 nearly 7 too young to call them bullies?)They go round the playground arm in arm and just verbally tear strips of anyone in their path. Especially to other girls. They are not nice. Sadly one of them is a lovely girl when on her own(the dd of an aquaintance of mine)
If I was a teacher I would definately split them up.

hippipotamiHasLost75lbs Mon 26-Oct-09 10:32:28

Not sadly that she is lovely, I meant sadly she is part of a bad twosome because she is so lovely when on her own or with others. So there I can see the case for a split....

thatsnotmymonster Mon 26-Oct-09 10:33:12

I am hmm at this policy too as I've been told by another parent that it will happen to my ds when he starts Primary 1 next year.

He and another buy have been best friends since they were just 2 and this is their 2nd year in pre-school together. They also spend 2 days a week together outside of nursery.

Apparantly they will be put into different classes when they start school. Both boys are very sociable and have lots of friends so on the one hand I think they will be fine in separate classes but OTOH I don't see the point in deliberately separating them, it seems pointless and a little but cruel.

In all their time at nursery there has only been one incident where my ds pushed friend of climbing frame- this was a few weeks ago. I think they were just messing around and he just wasn't thinking but it could have been serious. He was really upset and sorry that he had done it. The nursery said they were going to stop them playing together for a while as a result. Other than this they just get on like any 4yo boys!

hippipotamiHasLost75lbs Mon 26-Oct-09 10:36:50

That'snot - they should not separate them if it is a frienship that works...
If they routinely split friendships for no reason than that is just daft.

Teh teachers at our school explain that the main reason for the splitting / keeping together is to create classes taht 'work'. Work as in children who get on adn work well together. Which is why they keep 'good' friendships togetehr and split up troublesome pairs/groups who create discord amongst the class.
The teachers at our school make no secret about the fact that if they have a happy cohesive class more work gets done. And I can see where they are coming from. So if your ds was at our school and the friendship is as you say a good one, they would go out of their way to keep them together.

sparklefrog Mon 26-Oct-09 10:39:39

Not read the whole thread blush but when my DS was in primary, he was very shy, and he was sat next to his best friend.

After a while, the decision was made by the teacher to separate them.

I advised against this, but school separated them anyway.

Both of them found it harder to work and concentrate, since they had relied on each other to understand and get through the work. They helped each other understand the task they were doing.

Within 2 days, they were sat next to each other again.

15 years later, they are still best friends, although they have a circle of about 40 friends, they are still best friends. grin

Seems an unnecessary punishment to seperate friends, especially when children are small.

sarah293 Mon 26-Oct-09 11:04:08

Message withdrawn

hippipotamiHasLost75lbs Mon 26-Oct-09 11:15:31

I know. But on the whole, at work for instance, we are able to work with and get on with a large range of adults. You wouldn't not accept a job somewhere because your best friend does not work there, non?

I am not condoning or defending the splitting children up policy btw (get the feeling you all think I am)
All I am saying is that in certain instances (splitting up a pair of bullies for instance) it can be a good thing.
But to split children 'just for the sake of it' is a bad thing. Very bad and ill thought out.

trickerg Mon 26-Oct-09 12:24:25

Our school has about 40% children from service families, so we have a transient population. At the end of the year we have to split to realign b/g, ability, service/out of area / non-service, who doesn't get on, SEN, etc. It is a difficult job, as we also get children to write three friends on a piece of paper, and make sure they are with one of these (at least).

Interestingly, we never get complaints from service families about the split - perhaps because the children are used to frequent moves, and are obliged to mix with new children.

We've never found it does any of the children any harm. After all, they are in adjacent classrooms, and see each other for over 1 1/2 hours per day in the playground!

stealthsquiggle Mon 26-Oct-09 12:37:01

DS's school does this - either across classes or within classes (different tables, etc - there is often only one class per year) because the head's view is that these friendships are rarely 100% equal and one or other child tends to be 'over-dependent'. It's a very small independent school so they can always make exceptions as/when needed, but the head's view is that in 90%+ of cases both parties are better off. DS and his 'best friend' certainly benefited hugely - they no longer got in trouble for 'distracting' each other in class, and not being together all the time actually meant that they get on better when they are together.

pollywobbledoodle Tue 27-Oct-09 21:48:53

dd was split from her oldest friend at end of reception, teachers felt it was a friendship that wasn't benefitting dd socially they felt she was gtng lost behind her friend(surprised me because out of school they are both vocal, stubborn and a bit stroppy)...she has really blossommed this year in terms of friendships which don't seem so competitive

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 28-Oct-09 10:26:03

Sounds a bit odd to me. DS's school had a section on the registration form to write the name of DS's pre-school plus they asked if he had any particular friends. They made a big effort to keep all the children from the pre-school together. Mind you it is a huge school so maybe they felt that children need a friendly face on day 1!

PrettyCandles Wed 28-Oct-09 11:25:44

Several of you have said that your dc have benefited from being split, but I don't see dd benefitting. The quality of her work hasn't changed, but she tells me that she feels lonely. She seems to be quieter in class than before, but that of course is by the interpretation of two different teachers.

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