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My son is in bits about his Secondary - what can we do now?

(28 Posts)
QuintessentialOldDear Tue 23-Jul-13 14:10:09

He has suddenly changed his mind.
We have naturally turned down his state offering. Now he wants it. sad

He is nr 31 on the waiting list for his Catholic first choice, so not likely to happen. I just spoke to the school, they say it is unlikely that there is going to be that much movement. They also said they disregard what the priests reference said about compassionate grounds, and went on attendance only. (Illness and moving abroad to look after my elderly parents)

Should I regards this as just jitters, and give his chosen school a go, or should we get back onto the waiting list to his state offer?

ArabellaBeaumaris Tue 23-Jul-13 14:14:08

I don't have an 11 year old. But surely it isn't his decision to make? Which school do you think is better?

LazyMonkeyButler Tue 23-Jul-13 14:19:19

I would try to encourage him to go to the planned school for at least a couple of weeks - preferably half a term. Chances are once he is there, he will make friends and not want to move. If he actually does hate it after trying it though, you may have to think again. 7 years is along time to be miserable.

LazyMonkeyButler Tue 23-Jul-13 14:20:30

a long not along obvs.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 14:27:03

Its the end of term.
He's tired.
He's leaving everything he's known at primary school and about to be a very small fish in a very big pond.
Do and say NOTHING.
Let life settle down over the summer and if needs be revisit everything at the end of September

QuintessentialOldDear Tue 23-Jul-13 14:28:01

The school he is going to is much better. It is an independent, and he was really keen until recently. He has had an induction afternoon, and found that 10 out of the 30 kids had been at the prep and really clickey. One child was really disruptive and kept hanging on him, and trying to physically drag him away from whatever was going on. He met one boy he felt he gelled with. The school is local, and walking distance.

The other school has a Christian ethos and is also very good, but state. So no fees. It is much further away though. The positives to this school is that 4 kids in his class are going there, and it is not fee paying. Our financial circumstances have changed since going through the whole application process.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 14:34:37

I reiterate : do nothing - at least not until after the August Bank Holiday.
How many per year group at the private : as the clique may be a problem if its very small (t'was thus at my school) but absolutely irrelevant at a bigger school.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 23-Jul-13 14:35:23

I'd have thought his state place would have been given to someone else by now. But I think I'd put him on the waiting list for that anyway then see how the other one goes.
The fact that he'd know a few kids is worth a lot - although he wouldn't necessarily have been put in the same class I suppose. And it's a major plus not to have to pay fees.

The independent one could work out, assuming they deal appropriately with bad behaviour such as your son experienced, but it's a shame for him to be dreading it now.

QuintessentialOldDear Tue 23-Jul-13 14:49:23

There are 4 houses with 30 students in each house year group. They are taught across Y7, 8 and 9, so I am not sure how it will work.

I think it depends a lot on the languages, perhaps, and all the different extra curricular.

singersgirl Tue 23-Jul-13 14:54:56

Listen to Talkinpeace who speaks sense. Your job as a parent is to reassure if required but not to bring the subject up. He's 11 (or perhaps like my son still 10). He's anxious and sad. He doesn't know what he wants or why or how he will feel after a few months. Changing schools is huge for him. It takes a while to settle and make friends. You made a decision for sound reasons. You have to show him you have confidence in that decision, not overreact to normal worries.

IndridCold Tue 23-Jul-13 14:57:32

Induction afternoons can be a bit of a mixed blessing can't they!

Agree with the others, stick with the school you have chosen. It is not reasonable to make such a drastic change to your carefully made plans on the basis of one rackety afternoon.

When the school term starts the kids will not be in a position to be messing around in that way as they will be in lessons or otherwise properly supervised (I would hope) for most of the day, and everyone will be busier, quite tired and much calmer. A clique of 10 out of 30, well that makes a non-clique of 20 out of 30!

It is natural that your DS feels a bit apprehensive about this new school, but I can see no reason for it to turn out badly. You need to reassure him that it will be OK. He will go to the school and it WILL be OK, and that will be a valuable first lesson for him in how to face up to his worries, and to realise the difference between fear of the future and reality.

Letting him bail out because of an as yet totally unrealised fear is totally the wrong message to give him at this point IMHO.

This heat is probably not helping - people feel hot and grumpy, tired from not sleeping properly. You know that you have made the right choice, if you can send him a few positive vibes, big up the things to look forward to I'm sure that will help him feel better about it all.

Hope he has a great time

QuintessentialOldDear Tue 23-Jul-13 14:59:23

We are going to meet a friend of mine from my ante natal group, her ds has been at this school from pre prep and up, and continuing on. Although the boys were babies together, they have only seen each other sporadically in the last 6 years.... But he says "it is not MY friend, this is your friends son, totally different". Also he says "this boy is wealthy, and we are not, I hate feeling inadequate and poor". sad

I guess this is a normal dilemma for a "normal" family to face when opting to pay for education.

JohnnyUtah Tue 23-Jul-13 14:59:49

They all have a wobble at the end of term as they leave primary, don't panic.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 15:02:06

so today he left Primary School.
Everything he's known since he was 4 is now history.
so he's got the jitters about September
A cohort of 120 kids, of whom 10 came from one school .... go figure.
Every kids is going to be bricking it
but the cliques will dissolve as the excitement sets in

DO NOT talk to him about it
DO NOT chew over theoretical options with him
DO NOT do the same with your DH

put it all out of your head and enjoy the summer
by September he'll be climbing the walls with boredom and DESPERATE for some mental stimulation - at the school you have chosen.

It will be fine.

QuintessentialOldDear Tue 23-Jul-13 15:02:21


Oh he is grumpy all right!
Did a stellar performance in the school play, yet moans. Did great in his school report and his SATS, and he just smirks. Where did my lovely little boy go. Yesterday he cried over a girl, and the school disco, and never ever getting to see "Polly" again, and could he write her a letter and invite her to the cinema. confused I said "sure, if you want to take Polly, and mum and dad and little brother to the cinema, why not. You are too young to take a girl to the cinema on your own". I suspect he is a hormonal preteen mess at the moment.

QuintessentialOldDear Tue 23-Jul-13 15:03:24

Yes put that way....

LIZS Tue 23-Jul-13 15:06:14

It will be fine , lots of kids have wobbles when the finality of leaving hits. I'm slightly more concerned that your financial circumstances may have altered. It is not as easy being more limited for funds than other families but life is full of compromises and I think it can be a beneficial lesson for kids to learn. He may know 4 others at the other school now but those won't be his friends in a year or two.

Coconutty Tue 23-Jul-13 15:10:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Tue 23-Jul-13 15:17:20

ArabellaBeaumaris - when my three dses reached the transfer to secondary age, their headmaster advised all the parents to take account of their children's preferences when selecting their school.

They are old enough to go to school open days, and to make a judgement on which school they prefer, and it is important that they know you value that judgement.

Obviously the parents also have a big say and do have the last say, but I wouldn't have forced any of mine to go to a school they really didn't want to go to. With ds1 and ds2, it was moot anyway, because they both chose local, selective state grammar schools, which we were happy with. We did ask ds2 to consider going to the same school as ds1, as that would have made things easier for us, but he had good reasons for preferring the other school, so we let him make that choice.

With ds3 it was a bit different - he did have a couple of coaching lessons for the 11+, but had a total meltdown because he couldn't cope with the work, and didn't want to carry on and do the 11+, so we dropped the coaching, and let him put the local non-selective secondary down as his choice of school. Luckily it was a good school, and we felt happy about him going there - had we not felt it was a good school, I think we would have had to veto his choice - but as long as the child's choice is a good one, made for good reasons, it is right for the parents to back them up, I think.

Quint - your poor son, it sounds really difficult for him and you. I would suggest you explain the waiting list position to him, and tell him that, if he goes to the independant school in September (because he does need to go to a school, unless you would be willing to home-ed him), that you will tell the other school that you definitely want to stay on the waiting list for a place, and you will check up regularly with the school to see what movement there has been.

You may well find that, if a place comes up more than half a term into the new school year, a lot of children will have settled well into their current schools and will turn down the place if it is offered, so in practice the waiting list might be quite a bit shorter. There is also the unspoken hope that, once at the school, he will settle in and be happy, and will not want to move. Here's a wine for you and a biscuit for him, and I hope that it all works out for you both.

cory Thu 25-Jul-13 11:31:28

I was all for letting my children have a voice in the initial selection of school. But that doesn't mean you have to take every instance of last minute wobbles seriously. Frankly, I wouldn't even want dh to do that with me. We all need to be allowed to have panics from time to time that are not taken seriously. Even more so when we are 11. I agree with Talkin.

If he is really unhappy after say 6 months at his new school you could think again. But the summer holidays are not a good time to be worrying about this.

Elibean Thu 25-Jul-13 11:43:15

Ah, Quint, its hard seeing them upset...and leaving primary is such a major milestone, he's bound to be wibbling at the moment.

I think if he hadn't loved his intended school at interview, I would take it seriously - I'm all in favour of my children having a say in their choice of school, at the very least. But given how much he liked it, and how scary/upsetting finishing primary is, not to mention how unavailable his state option is...I would stick to the current plan for at least a term. Or even half a term.

Inductions are only that. If he gelled with one boy, that is great. That really is all he needs as a spring board - and the cliquey boys are bound to be cliquey, they have had a year together. It will change, should change.

Do something really, REALLY fun with your friend's son and your ds maybe? Where he'll forget the whole school thang and just enjoy the moment?

It's a rollercoaster, this parent lark, isn't it wink

LibraryBook Fri 26-Jul-13 13:10:51

If your financial circumstances have changed, does that mean you can reasonably foresee not being able to afford the fees? At some point?

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 13:16:39

Can I ask why you think he is too young to go to the cinema with "Polly"?

QuintessentiallyOhDear Fri 26-Jul-13 20:28:43

He did have a fantastic time at friends yesterday, he and the other boy (just born a few weeks apart) (re)found each-other and got on like house on fire. So that went well. He has not mentioned the other school today.

We will be able to pay the fees, but it is going to be a much harder stretch.

Curlew, dont you think two 11 year olds, a boy and a girl, are too young for a "cinema date"?

KingscoteStaff Fri 26-Jul-13 21:53:16

That sounds more hopeful!

We spent today with one of DS's friends who is off to Hampton in Sept. He's done NOTHING but rave about the school since he saw it last year.

Today - disaster. Sure he won't make friends, he'll never get into any teams, every other boy will arrive with masses of friends, doesn't like the tie... He now wants to stay with DS at their prep for Yrs 7 and 8.

They all wobble. Oh, and you're right about cinema dates at 11...

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