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How important is it to start secondary with friends?

(49 Posts)
majormoo Thu 24-Oct-13 23:52:19

Our daughter is in year 6 so we are applying for her secondary school. We have to put 3 schools on our form to apply for a place and all 3 options available to us are pretty good. We think she would do well at any of them.
However, we are going round in circles deciding what order to put on the form. My favourite is unfortunately in third place, as although it has the best results exam wise, it is a Catholic school and, much to my chagrin, DD has decided she can't be doing with God Stuff.

Of the other 2 schools her 3 close (and loyal, funny, kind etc) friends have chosen the school that is less high up the league tables but good nonetheless. Others in her class have chosen the school which consistently performs well and is wildly oversubscribed every year for this reason. dd's teacher last year said he thought she would do well there. This school has fantastic sports facilities so if she got in, her brother who is sport mad ,would get a place in a few years.

sooooo do we go with nice friends to settle in with or the best exam results? how important are old friends at school? I am still friends with people from primary school so I know from experience those friendships can last but was a fair few decades since I had any experience of senior school!

Bunbaker Thu 24-Oct-13 23:57:51

Children will make new friends at what ever school they go to.

At DD's school they go up to high school with a "buddy". So often these friendships go pear shaped, often when one child makes new friends more easily than the other. This is what happened to DD. Fortunately she has a completely new friendship group and is more settled now.

jellybeans Thu 24-Oct-13 23:57:56

With my 4, the one who didn't start with friends had the hardest start. It took her a good term to settle and make friends and she was nervous all through the summer holidays. However she is quiet and sensitive. They all tend to make new friends anyway but that is easier with the security of having friends already to lean on and my others friends pretty much remained the same through secondary with a few new ones.

jellybeans Thu 24-Oct-13 23:59:38

I would go for same as nice friends.

pleasesleepallnight Fri 25-Oct-13 00:01:14

DD1 hasn't kept up any of her friendships from Primary. She's got a group of friends in her Reg class and another group in her teaching class. She obviously says hello if she passes them in the corridors but that's about it.

There's a chance none of her friends would be I the same class anyway. I don't think DD is on class with any of her old friends.

Both DS1 and DS2 were the only children from their Primary School to go to their Secondary School and it's been fine. They made friends easily, even though many of the children had been to Primary School together. Speaking to friends it's not always the case that friendship groups moving schools always survive the first term anyway, so I think choosing the school that's best for your DC rather than the school their friends are going to is the best route. smile

exexpat Fri 25-Oct-13 00:08:29

DS only had one friend from his primary going to the same secondary. They had been quite good friends, but rapidly drifted apart and found new groups of friends, which seems very normal at secondary. I certainly wouldn't base a school choice on where her friends are going.

Shellywelly1973 Fri 25-Oct-13 00:17:34

Dd is in Yr7. Only 1 girl from her primary school class went to her secondary school.

Dd is doing absolutely fine. Made friends & has settled really well.

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 25-Oct-13 00:23:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

toolatetobed Fri 25-Oct-13 00:27:39

My son is in Year 8 and the friends he meets up with most outside of school are friends with whom he was at primary (including one who goes to a different secondary). Admittedly, this is influenced by the friends living within easy walking distance (although none of the kids from secondary live that far away). I wouldn't be quick to dismiss the importance of longstanding close primary school friendships. That having been said, I wouldn't send my kids to a school that I considered significantly worse academically just because their friends were going there. How big a gap are we talking between the academic results of the two schools? How do they compare as regards journey to school? That's an important "quality of life" factor.

sunbathe Fri 25-Oct-13 00:31:37

Nice friends. Yes, they may grow apart, but the security of having them to start secondary with was much appreciated by my dc.

paddythepooch Fri 25-Oct-13 07:42:19

Watching this closely. We are going for local, walking distance school where none of DD's friends will go instead of hour long journeys to catholic schools. All academically equal. Having read loads of these threads seems friendships change a lot in y7/8. Also, loads of after school activities at local school which should help build wider friendships. Daunting for DD but will talk to school re a buddy.

BeckAndCall Fri 25-Oct-13 07:51:42

If it helps, all three of mine transferred to secondary school with very few friends: DS with 1 friend in a different form; DD1 with someone she knew but wasn't her 'group' ; DD2 with literally no one from her primary school.

For their primary schools though this was typical - for the girls, about half the class went to the local comp and about half to a selection of 6 or 8 different private schools - so not unusual and lots of other girls in the same position.

Having said that, even if they were the only one not following the typical route, we would still have done it - especially as everyone joining the new schools was in the same position.

Ragwort Fri 25-Oct-13 07:59:53

My DS went to secondary school with quite a big bunch of friends however (& I don't know the exact reasons) there was some sort of big falling out during the first few days and he was really miserable ...... however within a couple more weeks he had met a different crowd and settled down.

That is only my experience, but I would choose the school over the 'friends' issue. Although my own two best friends are one from nursery school grin and one from primary school !

majormoo Fri 25-Oct-13 08:05:59

Thanks for your responses. Schools are practicality on top of each other so distance not an issue. School A that has traditionally done worse academically just had a 'good with outstanding' elements from ofsted with rising results but still behind School B. School A, that her good friends have chosen, has a fab art/textiles department hence her friends' choice. They also put on a much better open day, possibly because they have to work harder to attract students. School B do not need to try so hard as people are desperate to get in. School B is a much safer bet, in terms of maths especially (e.g 82% a-c in maths last year rather than 72%) and is rated outstanding. I guess my reservations regarding this school is that the remaining girls from her class who want to go here do not bring out the best in my daughter, shall we say. The schools are all huge (12 forms in school B, slightly less in school A).

Must make up our minds as closing date looming so great to hear from people who've sent kids off already.
As school B is oversubscribed we may not get in anyway. we will go into a lottery for places if we put it first and may get school A anyway!

AtiaoftheJulii Fri 25-Oct-13 08:44:25

My kids were HE'd before secondary school so didn't know anyone when they got there. DD1 and ds are at grammars, so probably the majority of children there didn't know anyone else in y7, so not so much of an issue perhaps. Dd2 started in y9 at a suburban comp, where lots of the kids had been at school together since they were 5. She's settled in well and has friends ;-)

I would pick the school that seems like the best fit for her and not worry about other people.

WiseKneeHair Fri 25-Oct-13 08:56:19

Which one does your DD want to go to?
My DS1 started secondary this September. He was offered a place at a very good school that none if his friends were going to go to. He really, really didn't want to go there (lots if tears at the suggestion), so we went with the good, but not great, school down the road that all his friends are going to.
Despite this, he was very nervous and we had a bad summer with him. Once he actually started school, he was fine. I do think if we had insisted he went to the other school, he would have been in z right mess.
However, it obviously does very much depend on the child and only you know how your DD will react. Although, I would say, we never expected DS1 to be quite as bad as he was.

noddyholder Fri 25-Oct-13 09:05:18

My ds was in a class all through primary with the same group At secondary we chose the school all his mates weren't going to as it was better suited to him and tbh it made no difference

majormoo Fri 25-Oct-13 09:22:30

dd changes her mind daily. At the moment the one her friends are going to but she liked both schools when we looked around. People have wept, appealed, been distraught in past years when allocated the school her friends are going to. So I suppose I, more than Dh, am a bit anxious about going against the crowd and not choosing the school people are desperate to go to. this has not bothered her friends' parents who clearly have more confidence in their own opinions!

Bemused33 Fri 25-Oct-13 09:26:56

I did not stay friends with a single primary friend and we all went to to the same school pretty much. My friendships made at secondary are still the most important friendships in my life. Dd will go with no-one or one which I think is more worrying as I don't want her tied and not able to make new friends.

AugustRose Fri 25-Oct-13 09:27:58

We live rurally so most of the children come from small primaries where there are only a few going to the same secondary - my DD went into year 7 this year with just one friend from school. Making friends was one of her worries as she can be shy and stands back but after 7 weeks she has made some new friends and it perfectly happy.

HSMMaCM Fri 25-Oct-13 09:46:14

DD went to a school with none of her primary school friends (not through choice). She made friends quickly, probably mostly due to the school letting them do team orientation for the first couple of days. She seems to have a different friendship group each year, but doesn't miss her primary school friends. She still meets up with her old friends in local parks in the holidays.

Theas18 Fri 25-Oct-13 10:47:10

My 2p?

Not very important. A lot of team building stuff goes on very early on.

However locally there is a culture that primary classes do go in many different directions so even for non selective schools you may only go with 4 out of the year group of 90.

DD1 went with her "glued at the hip" buddy and one other she knew and liked and one she knew and disliked!

DS went with a "sort of friend" ie parents would share lifts for the 1st year or so at after school stuff etc but the boys weren't really that fussed!

DD2 went with someone she really didn't and doesn't get on with and noone else! She survived. I guess knowing bigger kids through DD1 and DS helped the transition though.

TeenAndTween Fri 25-Oct-13 11:59:28

Choose best school for your DD, not based on where friends go.
- friends can change
- might well be in separate tutor group anyway
- this way she has good friends out of school if school friends fall out

Takver Fri 25-Oct-13 12:10:08

I presume you've visited both schools - do you (and/or) dd have a view based on the 'feel' of the school?

TBH, I think it has helped dd that she went with a couple of her friends, and purely by chance they were the 'nice' ones (others are lovely girls, but a bit more 'cool' and therefore stressful grin ).

But, and it is a big but, she has always had relatively poor social skills (was on School Action at one point partially for this reason) and gets downcast very easily. I'd say it is much less important if you have a more upbeat social dc.

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