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Adopted child starting Y7. Any advice?

(18 Posts)
minesawine Tue 15-Apr-14 09:17:50

My DD is starting secondary school in Sept. She was adopted at 1 and is very settled and amazing. She has not had a great time in primary school with a number of friendship and low level behaviour issues and is glad to be moving on and excited about her new school. I keep getting told that the transition to secondary school is very traumatic for adopted children and whilst I am a bit worried, I don't want to see problems where there are not. We do have chats about how it will be very different, friends, lessons, homework etc. the usual, and she does not appear to be overly concerned about any of it. Perhaps I just need to calm down, but any adoption experiences would be great. Thanks

LittleBearPad Tue 15-Apr-14 09:18:49

Are there reasons that adopted kids find moving to secondary difficult?

KittyVonCatsington Tue 15-Apr-14 09:26:23

I'm adopted minesawine and a teacher. In my experience, those adopted very young, like me and your DC, don't give it a second thought. The only issue I can think of is if they were adopted later and had suffered prior; so they might have issues from that, but not specifially on the being adopted part. Never got mentioned at school, unless volunteered by me and only then, very rarely. Who keeps telling you it is traumatic for adopted children? Utter tosh to cover all adoptions under one 'umbrella'.

adoptmama Tue 15-Apr-14 09:48:11

transitions can be very difficult for adopted children and can throw up a lot of emotions unconnected with the actual transition experience e.g. changing school. Try posting over on Adoption for some btdt experiences. My eldest was adopted under age 1 but still finds changing year at school monumentally difficult. One thing you could do is contact the school and go and see whoever will be her pastoral teacher ahead of time to let them know your concerns.

Marmitelover55 Tue 15-Apr-14 17:13:15

I am adopted and don't remember having issues. My DD on the other hand, who is not adopted, is in year 7 and found the transition very difficult. Maybe it depends more on the child?

mummytime Tue 15-Apr-14 17:36:23

I actually think, that rather than saying "all adopted children" find going to secondary difficult, its more helpful to think about your child. Does she find transitions difficult? Is she showing any signs of being anxious? Are the secondary school aware - and aware of any issues she may be especially sensitive to?

If she does find transitions difficult I would talk to her present school and the future one, to see if they have any additional arrangements that can be put in place to help her. My DD has difficulties with transitions - for a very different reason, and will be having additional visits to secondary. This includes going with a smaller group so she is more able to ask questions, some teachers get to know her better, she is more familiar with the place. And she has fun.

For secondary schools it is always a good idea to have some idea of what you would like to happen. As often just saying "my child was adopted" will not be enough. The two adopted children I knew didn't seem to have many specific issues in going to secondary as far as i recall, they were both adopted as infants from China. They had both changed schools twice before as well.

Shockers Tue 15-Apr-14 18:04:27

Ds2 had no problems whatsoever, in fact as schools go, high school has been his finest hour ( he's now yr9), probably because he changed primary schools twice, so was forever 'the new boy'. HS was a level playing field from the start.
DD is at a special school so we haven't had to move her. I am dreading her leaving to go to sixth form next year, she doesn't cope well with any change.
Like someone said up thread, I think it depends on the child.

Thetimes123 Tue 15-Apr-14 18:56:38

As a teacher and a mum I'd suggest to get the school to put her in a form that doesn't include children from the old primary school.

minesawine Wed 16-Apr-14 11:17:15

Thanks for the advice everyone. I looked at the Adoptions thread as well, which was interesting. I do think she is a bit anxious but probably not any more than any other child going through a big change. I have decided to speak to the Head of Yr7 and the Pastoral teacher after the half term, just to get their views but don't want to get her singled out or to make a big deal about her being adopted.

Minime85 Wed 16-Apr-14 12:31:51

as a current yr 7 form tutor myself any concerns like that are helpful to know and look out for. it is a challenging time for lots of kids. all experienced form tutors know this and will hopefully be ready to support and help. I know I do. I truly love being a form tutor and really look out for my kids. hopefully a chat with tutor and head of yr will help and primary schools do have detailed transition meetings where information such as this mat be shared

TeenAndTween Fri 18-Apr-14 19:11:47

My elder DD is in y10, and was adopted in y3.
I think the advice you have had re thinking how she is with transitions is very pertinent. My DD was fine re moving on and settling in.

However my DD was a bit put out that her old primary friends told others she was adopted - we explained that they were probably just mentioning it in the same way they might mention another interesting fact about someone (e.g. - that's Anna she broke her arm in 3 places last year).
Anyway in her first couple of terms she had more people asking her about why she was adopted etc. We needed to go through with her again how to answer these questions in a friendly way (ie NOT mind your own business, or its private which were too closing off to potential new friends).

We also did tell the school (tutor and senco) some info on background, but mainly because educationally it was still relevant.
We have found that in y9/10 she is rethinking about adoption and has needed use of pastoral care regarding this.

Will you get PPP? I'm guessing you were before cut off date. If not, make sure school know and claim the money!

minesawine Sat 19-Apr-14 17:50:37

TeenandTween Hi my DD was 'outed' by one of her friend in primary school
who told everyone she was adopted and it caused a lot of distress for her, as she did not want anyone to know. The school were not very helpful and told her to "get over it". They have been terrible in their treatment of adopted children and I will be glad to see the back of the place.

Following advice here, I have been able to make an appointment with the Head of Year 7 and the pastoral team for May, they are really keen to help her settle in and have been brilliant. She is starting to get excited about her new school. But she is adamant she doesn't want anyone to know until she is ready to tell them and doesn't want to be treated differently to the other new starters.

I don't know what PPP is and am therefore presuming I am not entitled to it.

admission Sat 19-Apr-14 17:58:41

PP is pupil premium funding and whilst you are not entitled directly to it, the school probably is, to ensure that your daughter gets the best possible education at the school.
To be eligible your daughter needed to be in the care of a local authority before you adopted her. If that is the case then the school definitely needs to know as they need to apply for the funding - for secondary pupils it is £970 a year. The school should use this funding to ensure that your daughter gets help in any subjects she may be behind in. They will if they are doing the job properly unlike your primary school, not treat her any differently than others, it is just about making sure she gets every opportunity to achieve as well as can be expected of her.

TeenAndTween Sat 19-Apr-14 21:21:30

To clarify statement from admission . To be eligible for the new Pupil Premium Plus from this month, your child will need to have been adopted under the 2002 Children's Act which came into force Dec 2005, so some children adopted from care (and I suspect your DD) are missing out.
tbh Your primary school should have mentioned the new PPP funding in a newsletter before 16th Jan last term to ensure they were aware of any adopted children in their school. I know both our primary and secondary did this, and we then had to provide them with proof of adoption so it could go on the school census so they could get the money.

PP need not be used to help in subjects she is behind in, it could be used to fund a member of the pastoral care team to be trained in adoption related issues, or to fund revision guides / instrument lessons if your income is low. Ofsted are now meant to check that PP goes on pupils who are eligible for it, not just into a general pot.

Back to your original post, I think you and she should assume that it will probably become known at some point by other pupils she is adopted, and she should have an answer to the most obvious / insensitive questions ready. Even if she doesn't want to tell people herself. She won't be the only one who is adopted / in care / living with Grandparents etc.

minesawine Sun 20-Apr-14 16:56:15

ThanksAdmissions and TeenandTween I had no idea about PPP and my DD's primary never mentioned it. Maybe because she was adopted in 2002 before the act. I am sure if there was money in it for them then they would have said something and been a bit more sympathetic to her and me. I will say something in the secondary school meeting and I really hope they are not being so accommodating because they think they may get some funding out of us. I must stop being so cynical!

I will practice suitable responses with her for when she does get asked about being adopted.

Twighlightsparkle Sun 20-Apr-14 16:59:23

I'm adopted , I'm sure secondary school was no different for me, than any other child.

All adoption talk had happened much earlier at primary school, can't remember ever mentioning it at secondary.

Think you are thinking too hard

TalkinPeace Sun 20-Apr-14 22:34:43

also at the transition from primary to secondary is when quite a few kids change their names (due to parental remarriage during primary) so there is lots of 'reinvention' going on

in a big secondary she's likely to not be the only kid who was adopted after all

TeenAndTween Mon 21-Apr-14 10:06:54

In DD's year there are at least 3 children in LTFC, plus 2 other adopted ones, and that's only the ones she knows of. By being open about being adopted she has been able to 'find' others who sometimes understand more of how she feels than other friends.
However DD was adopted much older than yours and so probably has very different experiences, feelings and views regarding being adopted.

I think it sounds like you shouldn't particularly worry about the transition, but do make sure she is prepared for intrusive questions should they arise.

Best wishes

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