Would you move schools in this situation?(16 Posts)
... or would it not be worth it?
Dd1 is 10 and in her final year at primary school.
Until a couple of years ago, both of my dds were nicely settled at the primary school they'd started at. Then (to my regret, tbh) we moved them for convenience to the tiny rural primary near our house, which I work in.
Initially they settled well, and dd2 (who is 7 and had only done one year at the first school) still loves it there, lots of friends, etc. But dd1 arrived into a tiny class where all the girls were already in tight pairs of best friends. There was one "spare" girl who dd1 sort of paired up with, but then another new girl arrived at the school, took a dislike to dd1 and gradually paired up with this girl.
Since going back in September, dd1 has been very isolated. As I work in the school I see her from time to time, and she's always sitting on her own, wandering around looking lost, or hanging hopefully at the edge of a group being ignored (she's naturally shy and hesitant), too scared to join in. She isn't a talker and insists, when I ask, that she's fine. But she also hankers after her old friends and wells up whenever we drive past the old school .
I worry that this isolation will set a pattern for next year when she starts secondary, and wonder if it would be best to try to move her back - if there was a place - to the old school, keeping dd2 where she is. But would that level of upheaval do more harm than good, when she'd only have a few months left of primary?
I'd move her if I could. It does sound like she's so unhappy and even if only for a few more months, perhaps it would be worth it to see her smile again?
i would keep her there though. Does she meet up with friends at the weekend? Can you have a word with the teacher- maybe they could do some specific SEAL work with the girls.
Friendships are horrible at this age- do you know other girls who'll be going to her secondary?
If there is a place I would move her back, depending on whether it fits with your family circs (esp the younger sister feeling left behind).
This would be based (for me) on the presumption that a lot of her friends from the old school would be moving up together and she would be with them (is this true?) so the upheaval would be considerably lessened by that.
My children have moved schools a lot and I am a great one for feeling that they are resilient, they will settle.
However, for the sake of a few months it is worth it to give her a good start at secondary. Her Y6 learning is possibly damaged anyway by her loneliness and the move: so the most important thing is security and self confidence ahead of the move up. A good start is worth a lot.
Oh how sad, hate hearing things like this. Think I would be tempted to keep her put though as it's her last year? They will all go different ways at secondary anyhow and if you move her back to original school you might find that all her old friends have paired up with others and she is in just as bad a spot. So hard.
I would, in this situation, ask her what she wants to do. It is only a few months, but in reality at that age, it feels like forever. However, friendships do change and she could have paired up with someone else next week.
Sorry not much help, but must be difficult for you.
We're not sure yet which secondary she'll be going to, but it's likely that one or two people she knows would pop up in whichever of the possible secondaries she ends up in.
She's kept in touch with her original group of friends (tbh, I've done a lot of running after their mums to ensure this) and still sees them for parties, playdates, etc. But obviously it isn't the same. For example, she still thinks of her best friend from the old school as being her "best friend" even now - whereas this girl has obviously paired up with another friend.
She sees a couple of her old friends for an afternoon once a month or so. We live out in the country so she can't just call round to their houses, and any contact with them is still arranged by me via the mums.
I've spoken to her teacher, but tbh there isn't a lot she can do in such a tiny class. Dd1 seems to have a lot of trouble initiating things socially - doesn't seem to feel "entitled" to just walk up to someone and get going IYSWIM. The teacher has spotted her in the playground a couple of times and physically got her together with a child from another class, suggesting a game they can play together. The girl that she was friendly with blows very hot and cold - all over her when the other girl isn't available, freezes her out when she is.
Id leave her where she is
And get her involved in after school clubs - guides, sport music etc either with kids from school or kids from other schools
When she gets to secondary school all kids move about and make entirely new friendship groups - also she may well meetup with the kids she met up with at the after school clubs by happy coincidence
Most of my time in school was blighted by not really being able to fit into a friendship group so I know how she feels
I tried to talk to dd1 herself earlier today, but she insisted that she was fine. I asked: "So you're saying that if a fairy waved a wand - this is just imaginary btw - and said you could move back to X for the rest of the year, you'd say that it was OK, because you were happy at Y?" She looked so happy just at the imaginary idea of it that it broke my heart .
After seeing that, I got as far as typing out an email to send to the old school, asking if there was a place available in her year. But dh was very against it when I showed it to him (not sure why as he's had to go out). I'll have a chat with him about it later, when he gets back.
To complicate things a bit, we're in N. Ireland, and most of the children are about to sit entrance exams for the secondary schools. The last one isn't until 5th December, so any move would probably be after Christmas, leaving her with only two terms to go.
Thanks, Laura . Yes, that is one thing that I always tell her she's got going for her - the fact that she knows people and has friends in a wide variety of places. She goes to various out of school activities, including one that two of her old friends go to. I keep trying to build her confidence by telling her that she gets on with so many different types of people in so many different places.
I do think that being in a bigger school for secondary will suit her well, as there will be a greater variety of people so more chance of her finding friends that she clicks with.
I know of other people who've moved children for just the last year of primary school for these very reasons, so you wouldn't be alone.
I would move her now if I were you - if she goes to secondary without a group of friends, it will be more difficult for her, especially if she is shy - it's really important that they have someone to negotiate the toilets and the dinner queue with on the first day, and also, they tend to make more 'new' friends if they are already with someone, as they aren't viewed at the class 'loner' then.
I think that if she looked as happy as you said she did when you asked her, then I would definitely be moving her back without any hesitation.
Although it's good to have out of school friends, it's just not the same - it's very different spending an hour a week with someone, and spending six hours a day, five days a week with them.
Thanks for replies so far - several heads are better than one when it comes to seeing the different sides of it .
I do worry that her final months at primary might "set the scene" for how she feels about starting secondary - that she might get into the habit/pattern of being left out IYSWIM.
I wish I could find a way to help her learn how to approach people - she just waits for friends to come to her. She's always been the same: the difference is that, in her first school, she had friends who would come running up to her every day, and in this school she waits in vain for someone to approach her. So I do recognise that moving her wouldn't be the complete solution - it's her own lack of confidence that is partly the problem.
It will make things easier when we know what secondary she's going to, and who else is going to be there... but we won't find that out until Feb/March AFAIK.
I'd take the other stance tbh, IME friendship groups change dramatically when kids change schools. Most secondary schools have a large catchment, and you'll find that a lot of kids have come from different schools, in some cases they'll be the only one from their school there, or they'll have moved from a different area. It hardly seems worth moving her for the sake of less than one school year.
If it helps, DD was the same - she was always in a group of three friends until the other two decided to cut her off. She'd always found it hard to make friends and was very upset by this, and did feel lonely through Yr 4. Since going to middle school in Yr 5 she's made heaps of friends (72 at last count!) and has decided that lots of good friends are far better than best friends, as that always seems to lead to trouble and heartbreak.
'lots of good friends are far better than best friends'
Dd1 would probably agree with that as well .
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