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Sending DD to different school to friends?

(25 Posts)
OddsandSods Sat 20-Feb-16 08:26:22

DD has been fortunate to have some independent school offers for year 7. All are excellent and academically selective but one has the edge (most selective so best results and highest reputation, easiest to get to). However, none of her friends got offers there so if we pick that one she'll be on her own. The others have opted for a school that will take up to 40 mins to get to (many options for getting there though). It's also more expensive.

She's outgoing so I'm not too concerned about friends, at the school she'd be at on her own most join at 11+, although a small cohort will come up from the prep all knowing each other.

However, she thinks differently and feels quite determined to go to the one her friends are going to (there will only be a handful of them as the others are going to the local comps). She'll be fine at any of the schools but part of me thinks we'd be mad to turn down the one that's closest, cheapest and with the best results.

Appreciate thoughts and experiences. I don't want her to resent me always. But I do worry about the travel in particular.

OddsandSods Sat 20-Feb-16 08:36:36

Ps I appreciate its not the worst dilemma to have and we are grateful to have a choice in these times. Just want to do what is right.

MrsTatum1980 Sat 20-Feb-16 08:39:13

Whilst not an independent school experience I went to a secondary school where I knew nobody! My mother decided on the local faith school (she'd argue for results, I'm convinced it was because we got free travel!)
Whilst I stropped and sulked dramatically at the time, it was a positive experience. The transition process before the summer holidays eased my mind somewhat as I soon realised I wasn't the only one in that situation and it's a perfect environment to establish new friendships. I work in a large secondary school now and we deliberately avoid placing primary friendship groups together as young people need to develop social skills and meet others rather than relying on their primary safety net. The amount of friendships that naturally dissolve in year 7 is huge so she needs to be open to meeting a whole new range of friends.
My DD is in a small prep school and will be the only one attending a very good local comp (from what I can gather from other parents) as the cost of private secondary education is too much for us. She has been aware of this as we constantly talk about it positively to try and make it a positive for her and I have no guilt about us making this decision. I'm confident she'll flourish wherever she goes and as an adult/ her parent I feel it's my place to make this decision rather than send her where her friends go. Go with what you feel is best and see what transition work they'll do. Will she meet classmates prior to the summer? Do they do open days or have a summer camp she can attend?

MrsTatum1980 Sat 20-Feb-16 08:40:32

Oh for the love of God! I have heard of these paragraph things blush

SWLondonGirl Sat 20-Feb-16 08:45:36

I would personally opt for the more selective school closer to home - a shorter commute to school is a huge bonus and friendships change so much in year 7. If she's outgoing she'll make new friends very quickly. None of my dd's friends went with her to senior school and she settled in straight away and has never looked back.

OddsandSods Sat 20-Feb-16 10:02:53

Thanks all. That's reassuring to hear.

Wlondonparent Sat 20-Feb-16 10:16:31

I'm another in favour of closer to home and more selective. Although it's good to have some friends from your old school, children change so much in Year 7 that they often make new friends anyway. In some cases, going to senior school with a group of good friends can actually cause problems as they cling together at the start of Year 7 and don't make as much of an effort to meet new children. At my DC's school they put children from the same school in different classes to encourage mixing.

Indantherene Sat 20-Feb-16 10:52:40

3 of mine started secondary knowing nobody at all. They were fine. The one who went with his 2 best friends had a brand new best friend by the end of the first term.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 20-Feb-16 11:00:29

DD doesn't mix with any from her primary and all but 2 go to the same secondary - this is very common as they have been with existing friends all day and now swap classes and have different groups - streamed maths etc but mixed for science history textiles -

She'll be fine - can she visit? Are there any settling in days?

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 20-Feb-16 13:46:33

part of me thinks we'd be mad to turn down the one that's closest, cheapest and with the best results

Er, yes!

All 4 of mine started secondary school not knowing anybody - as you say, it's just not been an issue. I think it's fair enough to tell her that your priorities trump hers, especially as you're the ones paying for it.

bojorojo Sat 20-Feb-16 14:50:29

We agonised over this at 11 and 16. Our DD would have been the only one wherever she went but the schools were different. My instinct is not to worry about friends. Friendships do change. We actually worried less about academics (the schools were selective and academically competent) more about where she would be happiest, but that was boarding. I think if the nearest school is a bit cheaper, can you not explain that there would be money to do some other things, assuming this is true?

I also think 40 minutes to school is too far when a better school is nearer. It will make it much easier for collecting her after extra curricular activities and visiting friends. If the nearest school ticks all the boxes, go for it.

TheFridgePickersKnickers Sat 20-Feb-16 15:03:49

She will be new for the first day and week or so - along with all the other new kids.

Those that move with the majority of their current year group actually face the friendship group shifting traumas/upsets that inevitably happen once they mix with all the other new kids also in their year. By Xmas most will have other new friends they are closer to than the friends they were close to at Primary school.

I would NEVER pick a school on friendship groups.

Give her a couple of weeks at a new school and she will thrive.

Suffolkgirl1 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:08:58

Agreed, both of mine went to secondary schools as the only child from their primary (and DC3 may be in the same situation after 1st March). Definitely go for the closer school.

GinandJag Sat 20-Feb-16 15:10:32

As all schools are excellent, pick the one that's easiest to get to, and that she can get to using public transport.

OddsandSods Sat 20-Feb-16 15:20:03

Thanks everyone. Seems pretty unanimous. They're all doable on public transport but the closest is easiest and she can be there in 15 mins or less. We are going to the open morning for offer holders so hopefully that will give us the information we need to make the decision.

Lurkedforever1 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:23:05

Dd was in a similar position, except quite a lot of difference between the schools, and she was set from the first on the school where she didn't know anyone. However, except for a small number, most dc were in the same position.

I'd also say that this far into y7, it's probably been an advantage. The ones who came in groups were friendly, but mainly stuck together for the first term, while dd and the rest of the lone ones all socialised more, and got to know more people. Eg dd and others joined clubs they liked, rather than staying away cos their primary/ prep friends weren't going, mingled more at lunch, break etc. And it's really only been since xmas that some of the 'group' dc have started making real friendships outside their group, having previously stuck with others just because they know them, rather than because they're actually longstanding friends.

OddsandSods Sat 20-Feb-16 15:43:14

Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like there are actual upsides to 'going it alone' as it were.

littledrummergirl Sat 20-Feb-16 15:54:19

Ds1 didn't know anyone when he started. He is now yr11 and wouldn't have it any other way. He loves his school and his friends and is glad he went there.

Ds2 went to a local school with other dc from primary. He doesn't hang out with any of them but has a lovely friendship group.

Don't let friendships be the main decider, in my experience it all changes at secondary.

HSMMaCM Sat 20-Feb-16 16:24:55

DD was the only one from her primary to go to her secondary. She has now left and I asked her if she would have preferred to go with friends and she said no, it was nice to start completely fresh.

TeddTess Sat 20-Feb-16 16:53:27

how many are going to the other independent and how many classes are there?
it is likely they will all be split up anyway - they tend to do that

are there any other selling points for the "better" (for want of a better word) school? cheaper, closer, better results would be enough for me but if you can find a hook for her it might help...

are her friends DEFINITELY going to the other school? last year i found when it came to actually making the decision/paying the deposit, quite a few suddenly fell in love with the local state school. i bet it is more the case if they haven't got in to the school they really wanted which your dd did.

definitely don't choose a school based on friends at 10/11, she will be fine.

tumpymummy Sat 20-Feb-16 16:54:24

Like many others who have already posted my DD started in Year 7 also as the only one from her primary school. She was lucky to get a place at an excellent state secondary school near our house. We bigged up all the positives of going to a different school to all her friends; could get up later in the morning for a shorter commute, better academic standards and the biggest bonus in her eyes is that she now has 'double' friends. She has made lots of new friends at the new school, but we still make an effort to see 'old' friends at weekends and holidays. It would seem that the 'old' children have largely stayed together en masse, with a few new friendships whereas my DD has had to make an effort and has made lots of new friends. The same has happened to the one other girl from her old school who went to a third different school.

OddsandSods Sat 20-Feb-16 17:32:44

Some nice stories, thank you. TeddTess schools are quite big so chances are girls won't be together anyway. DD knows this but thinks she will feel better if she can travel with her friends. At least at first. Only a handful at most going, they will definitely go. I think I'm persuaded not to let this issue be the deciding factor, although it's one of them. Thanks all.

HeadJudgeLen Sat 20-Feb-16 17:35:54

I was the only one from my primary at secondary. It was a bit scary the first day, but I soon made new friends. I am still friends with some of them 30 odd years on. Always go with the best school for your dc. The rest will follow.

Brightnorthernlights Sat 20-Feb-16 23:43:07

DS was the only one from a large cohort of friends who went to secondary on his own. Best thing he ever did.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 21-Feb-16 10:57:34

I started secondary twice - first a mixed school and then moved on appeal to a girls school - no friends from primary - and I made friends - lovely fresh start no one mentioning daft things you did - and you had to make friends instead of clinging to old friends

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