Think I've made wrong choice- too late?(21 Posts)
Having horrible wobbles that I've picked the wrong independent school. Just keep waking at night in cold sweat. DS preferred another school but I ruled it out on distance (adds another hour on journey per day whereas chosen school is so near) and it's less prestigious / achieving. Some of his friends are going to the school he prefers whereas he knows no one at the chosen school despite it being closer. I loved both schools when we visited and both are friendly with good pastoral care. Any experience / reassurance? Should I try to see if the other school will take him although acceptance date is passed? Arghh...
Do you think he prefers the other one because he knows some of the other people? Which would be perfectly understandable.
In January my dd went straight into year seven. She didn't know anyone and had other things to make her stand out as different too. I've never been so terrified. She was totally fine and made friends relatively easily.
Will he be travelling on his own?
Dd just started in grammar school and was only one from her school going. Most of the rest of the class went to same school as each other so she had a few wobbles in the lead up. She also travels alone to get there.
However it's been fine. She keeps in touch and meets up regularly with friends from primary as well as made lots of new friends. No regrets here.
The distance issue will make a difference to him - much better to be near to school and (future) school friends. Have you managed to get him on-board with your choice of school ie does he understand and accept the decision even though he would have preferred the other school?
Any friends of friends or local children you can get in contact with so that he at least has a couple of familiar faces on day one?
You're not the St. Paul's vs. Highgate poster, are you? Just curious.
Stick with your choice OP. I think you're just experiencing anxiety, especially in light of the fact that DS will be going it alone. My son did the same but it worked out really well. It's healthy and character building to turn over a new leaf and make new friends. He hasn't lost his other ones just because they're not at the same school.
I can't emphasise enough how relevant distance is. You will know this and appreciate this as time goes on.
Even if they know kids going from their primary school the move to secondary is a bit daunting for most kids and their parents. Once they start they make a whole new group of friends anyway.
I'd be really focusing on the positives of the school you've chosen - an hour a day travel time extra for the other school as a lot particularly once you factor in a lot of homework. Your son would end up with hardly any time to himself in the evenings.
My son lives close to school and really appreciated this as he's got older - it's easy for him to meet up with school friend ps at weekends or sometimes to hang out after school eg a group of them might go for a burger after school on a Friday. It's also much easier to stay late or go in on Saturdays for sports.
Can you reassure your son that you'll help him stay in touch with his current friends eg the odd sleepover or friends round at the weekend?
And does the new school do anything to help kids make new friends? My son's school run an induction day in the summer term and have. Buddy system that helps kids settle in.
I don't think it is possible to underestimate the benefits of an easier journey to school. It is something that can get overlooked when in the process of exploring which school may be best and looking further and further from home to compare possibilities. But on a day to day basis, attending a school closer to home (especially when the difference is more than an hour) trumps an awful lot of other considerations.
Apart from the daily grind of sitting in a car, train or school bus for an extra 2 hours every day (10 hours a week), socialising, clubs, trips, extra curricular activities, sporting events and school events are so much easier when travel arrangements aren't an issue.
It is normal to feel a twinge of worry about moving to any new school and especially about moving up alone but those issues should only last a few weeks at the very most (much less if they have a good induction programme over summer or September) whereas all the other factors (academic considerations, journey time and good pastoral care) last for 5-7 years.
FWIW my son is going to a school where he will barely know anyone. I totally know it will all work out fine, but it's normal to be daunted/worried to start with. It's like stage fright isn't it - getting yourself mentally psyched up for something.
Anyway you are not alone in the 'worried mum faking calmness' boat
(sorry just read that it is an hour a day so only 5 hours a week but that is still quite a lot really - nearly an extra day of school a week).
The other things about long journeys to school is the constant fear-factor over being late especially at schools that are strict about this and punish it (as most are and do).
It can mean setting out ridiculously early to factor in any traffic or train problems so arriving at school far too early on most days but then huge anxiety on bad weather or bad traffic days days about struggling to get there on time.
Thanks everyone your thoughts are helpful. I'm not the St Paul's poster btw but I'll take a look at their thread. He likes it because he has 3 friends going there, it has huge grounds for sport and is rural and the smallest in terms of pupil numbers. The other school is more urban but lovely grounds and facilities more modern. They are not dissimilar distance from home but with us working public transport is needed and the school we didn't pick is more convoluted journey (an hour or more a day longer, the other journey is 10 minutes). He has no friendship issues, is popular etc but likes his comfort zone. Both do an induction for new starters and I've had reports both are very caring and friendly. But I have this feeling of dread, which really worries me.
Sorry just noticed a couple of points I didn't answer. He will travel on his own the school we picked (but we'll take a couple of days off to drive him the first week), the other he can get the school bus one way but public transport home (can travel with one of his friends). He has accepted the decision and understands the reasons why but his face falls when the new school is mentioned and he lights up at the other school. It's not good is it?
How long is it since he has actually been to the school? He might just have forgotten all its good points and be reinforcing the bad points to himself. We drive past DS new school surprisingly often these days as I am sure it makes it seem more familiar.
I think that's part of the problem as he goes to the other school a fair bit for match fixtures so it's familiar. We went to the chosen school recently and he met some of the pupils who were very friendly but I think he's still thinking about his friends.
Tiggy there is a school bus in the morning so getting there should be ok (it leaves 45 mins before school starts and gets there 15 mins before the bell- it does quite a few pick ups and we'd be one of the first) but getting home will be him and a couple of public transport options. If we could drive him there it would take 15 mins.
I think you need to call the other school before you think about it any more. Presumably they have filled all their places by now, but they might add you to the waiting list in case someone drops out. Trouble is, whether they put you at the top of the list or below other people who have shown more 'enthusiasm' about choosing the school.
If I were you I'd focus on the school you've chosen and hope that the other one might have a place. Don't forget that once the Spring term ends you would the be liable for a term's fees at the school you've accepted if you then turn them down
Thanks everyone. I'm going to stick with the one we chose. Interestingly he started to say a few nice things about it and bumped into a prep boy he met there in town today, which made him feel better. I will keep reminding myself that we chose it because we think it's the better school and the transport will be an issue as he gets older. Thanks for support and good advice.
why didn't his friends choose the school that you did? (did they get in?)
it seems a no brainer to me - closer school, 10 min journey, better academic...
as others have said you will be SO grateful for the easier, quicker journey. parents really underestimate just how tired they get in yr7 and how much stuff they have to carry some days.
Tess they didn't get it- it's more academically selective. Whether it would have been their first choice if they'd passed I don't know.
He will be fine once he has made a few new friend in the school. I guess everyone feels a bit uneasy to go to a new school.
DS1 started his secondary school with one of his best friend. But they soon settled into different friendship group, as there are lots of choice of club and activities, he and his primary school friends has different interests.
Thanks Autumn. It's helping to hear from others whose DC went alone and settled quickly / went with schooldfriends but changed their friendship group. I've tried to reassure him that friendships invariably change at secondary but he just can't see it at the moment.
My DD was the only one from her primary to go to her secondary, although it was very much the school of her choice. There will be others who also know nobody, and from DD's experience they find each other out very quickly in those first few days, even if the friendship groups ultimately change. I would say it took DD a full term to feel "at home" in her new school, but I think that would also be the case if she had known lots of people.
I would also avoid an hour extra travelling every day, and your son will eventually be very pleased with his easier journey!
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