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Between a rock and a hard place and need advice - Yr 7 girl - to move or not to move?

(16 Posts)
FreckledLeopard Wed 13-Mar-13 10:47:55

So, I relocated with DD to Bristol from London in October. DD had started high school in London, then had to start at a new school when we moved. So, obviously not ideal, but no real option as job required move.

DD is at a private school around a half hour drive from Bristol, in the countryside. It's a really lovely school, good teaching, lots of facilities and activities, nice ethos. Problem is, DD is finding her peer group 'young' for their age and is desperately missing London and her friends there. There aren't a huge number of girls in DD's year - perhaps 16 at most, across both forms. A lot of them are sporty or into horses. Two or three are a year ahead of themselves, so in fact should be in Year 6. A lot of them live in the countryside. DD is not especially interested in horses, country pursuits or sport. She loves drama, art, dance, but not hockey or netball.

Biggest problem is lack of friends with similar interests. In London, DD would go shopping with her friends, get bus together, go to each other's houses after school, hang out, be on their Blackberries, watch TV, cinema, restaurants. She'd spend hours at weekends with friends and was very happy. Now, of course, that's not possible. Not only are none of her friends close by (they're scattered in about a 20 mile radius of school and none are in Bristol), they don't have the same interests or background as DD.

Last weekend was miserable - DD moping and complaining that girls in her year are babyish, that she wants to go back to London, that she wants a friend to come over and there's no-one around. I feel guilty as hell for making the move, even though there was little choice in the matter.

I don't know what to do for the best. Do I pull her out of her school and move her to state school close by, which frankly has pretty average (or below average) academics, but she would have lots of friends living in the area and more likely to be a bit more street-wise. Do I look at independent schools in Bristol itself, hoping that kids are a bit more savvy in the city? Really struggling. Anyone who's had any similar issues and can advise?

happygardening Wed 13-Mar-13 12:18:14

What about moving her to an independent school in Bristol. Bristol although I accept not London is quite cosmopolitan and has a proper city feel about I suspect she might find the girls more to her liking.
Another place to consider of course is Bath depending where in Bristol you live much less cosmopolitan achingly middle class and beautiful maybe not a teenagers dream but again good independent schools we know friends who live there the High School is well regarded though maybe similar girls to what shes already got as is King Edwards and the other one on the Lansdowne road can't remember what it's called again might be a bit parochial.
Good luck.

ISingSoprano Wed 13-Mar-13 12:29:25

Rather than change schools again can she be encouraged to look for activities and groups which are closer to home to give her a chance to meet other like-minded young people. For instance, are there any youth drama/dance/theatre groups which run on a Saturday which she could join? As happygardening says, Bristol is a fairly cosmopolitan city.

Blu Wed 13-Mar-13 12:36:41

Visit the state school with her, and any other city-based independents and then let her choose.

jo164 Wed 13-Mar-13 17:19:27

I would go and look at the Independents in Bristol. I am sure the children at somewhere like Bristol Grammar School would be a bit more 'streetwise'. Great academics/good sport - no horses! She would also probably be closer to friends in order to do the social things such as going shopping etc. Red Maids would also be another good choice - but all girls. Clifton High is another worth a look at - used to be all girls but co-ed now, so plenty of girls to befriend. Its worth a look in my opinion, she spends a lot of time at school, it's better if they can be happy where they are.

FreckledLeopard Thu 14-Mar-13 14:52:02

Thank you all. DD virtually mute about all of this. Lots of sighing and shrugging of shoulders and refusing to engage, other than saying she wants to move back to London, which isn't an option. I've emailed her teacher to try and see if she's miserable at school. School are great and being very nice. Just really don't know what to do. I can understand she doesn't want to move to a third high school. But I don't want her to be miserable for years either.

It's hard too to differentiate between raging hormones and moods, and whether she's genuinely unhappy.

Am looking into more local activities in our area in the meantime.

jo164 Thu 14-Mar-13 17:22:26

Why don't you arrange a taster day at one of the Bristol schools - and see how she responds to it. Her reaction may give you a better indication as to whether things really are awful at her current school or whether indeed it is just hormones and generally teenage stroppiness! If she is totally underwhelmed by a different environment then stick with what you have and find other social oppotunities for her, or if she comes out raving about the new place then you also probably have your answer.

dramaqueen Thu 14-Mar-13 17:31:50

Is there a reason she goes to such a rural school?

FreckledLeopard Thu 14-Mar-13 17:40:01

The school ticked a lot of boxes in terms of ethos (it's Quaker), drama and art facilities, the fact that it's Co-ed and also (foolishly with hindsight), thought it would be nice for her to have the opportunity to go riding, walking in the hills etc. Apparently not. She wants to live with the smell of pollution, not manure hmm. Her words.

dramaqueen Thu 14-Mar-13 18:13:21

I think I know the school, in fact my friend's dc go there. You would certainly find more like minded girls in Bristol. As well as BGS and Red Maids, there's Redland High School.

happygardening Thu 14-Mar-13 18:21:09

I also know the school my FIL went there! There's also Clifton College and one in near Frenchay ?Colyston or something similar and I think one near the BRI. Don't know Bristol that well but have family living there.

Takver Thu 14-Mar-13 18:46:00

OP, my dd is younger (yr 6) but is in a similar situation though somewhat reversed as she is that horsey country loving young-for-age girl. But a very small year, only 5 other girls, and really not much overlap of interests as they've grown older.

I would definitely look at other options, personally I think that school is too much of their life when they are that age to rely on out of school activities for buddies unless there is no other reasonable alternative. Obviously my dd only has another term or so to go, so no point moving now, but I certainly wouldn't want her to be in that situation in yr 7.

Presumably long term a school in Bristol would be logistically easier for you too, as she'd be able to get herself there/back, get to friends without needing tranport etc

greenfolder Thu 14-Mar-13 18:53:38

Op I moved my dd in year 7 to private school of similar size. Tbh it was a disaster. She needed friends like oxygen and she found none. Found them young and I suppose just different. She was back in a large state school before the end of year 7. Was she at state previously?

crazymum53 Mon 18-Mar-13 12:19:31

I would also suggest looking round your local state school as well the independents. The sort of activities you describe going to the cinema etc. sound like the sort of thing most Bristol girls would be doing and there is more chance of girls who live nearby at the local school.
Even if the exam results are fairly average (I work part-time in a school like this) most secondary schools do operate a streaming or setting system where bright pupils are catered for and many do well. If you want to ask about a specific school please pm me as I do know children at various state schools so may know about your local school.

SanityClause Mon 18-Mar-13 12:39:43

I remember your name from your ex's horrible thread about the ring.

So, I am thinking she has had a lot of upset in her life over the past few years, and I wonder if, rather than the quick fix of changing schools, she might benefit from some counselling?

Her school may have a counselling service? Or try your GP for a referral.

FreckledLeopard Mon 18-Mar-13 21:37:44

You're very sweet, thank you. I don't want more upheaval if I can avoid it but I do want her to be happy. Bit better this week than last - she had some friends over at the weekend and is planning stuff with other friends this weekend. Fingers crossed....

I will think about counselling but not sure she'll be particularly cooperative. One good (?) thing about current school is that there seem to be quite a few divorced parents so at least she has something in common with a lot of them!

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