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Moving daughter from state to secondary in year 10

(28 Posts)
Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 09:28:16

Just a warning this is a long post alert! Im in a real dilemma, my eldest DD is in year 9 at a good state school. Originally we wanted her to go to a private girls school in Newbury but we were unsure of affording the school fees for her and her younger sister. So we opted for the very good state school. The state school is not our catchment (30 mins away) and we were lucky to get her in (low birth rate year). However it's not been an easy ride with friendships. This time last year some friends fell out with her over something really silly. There was a particular unpleasant girl who was known for being a bi## and unfortunately most of the girls followed and chose to not speak to my daughter. She had one friend (not in her classes or her tutor) who stuck by her. It was a very miserable time and she hated school and was desperate to leave and was adamant she was not going back in Sept. Last July I spoke to the private school again about her starting year 9 in as I was seriously considering moving her. I never proceeded as it was just such bad timing. By July a month on the friendship issue had not got any better, but by then the private school had broken up. We were also due to go on holiday, and part of me didn't want to rush in just moving her to see if it could be resolved in Sept. The summer hols went buy and she saw not one school friend. To speed this up she went back to her state school in Sept and eventually maybe a month in the issues were resolved. However her best friend (who stuck by her) moved overseas and although she has friends they are not deep rooted friendships. I worry if there was a falling out again she could be in a similar position. She doesn't see friends from school very often outside of school. Luckily she has old primary school friends and friends from her dance school that she sees. That's the background, part of me has always regretted not getting her to sit the entrance exams last summer hols for the private school. My youngest daughter is in year 5 we are now in the position that we could afford to send both of them to the private school. I have to apply in Oct for secondary school for her. We will have the sibling rule in our favour but won't be guaranteed to get her in. However I feel it's not fair to send my youngest when my eldest didn't have that opportunity at the beginning. Plus my eldest has already started some GCSE work and she doesn't seem keen on moving but also doesn't want her sister to go to the private school as its not fair as she wasn't given the same opportunity which I completely understand. Has anyone had a similar situation eg moving a child from state to private to start in year 10? I'm gutted that we are in a position to do it but feel I can't send either as moving eldest could back fire re making new friendships, GCSE's etc! Any experience advice would be greatly appreciated.

bojorojo Sun 05-Jun-16 10:02:56

I can appreciate this difficult situation. I have not faced the exact dilemma myself but I have had children in a mix of state and independent education.

Firstly, do not let your younger DD's views cloud your judgement. She could start at the independent school at 11 and I would do it. If you are some distance from the state school, the pupils are dependent upon parents to organise social events. Not all parents can and will do this. This can lead to a degree of isolation. Girls can also be difficult at this age and there is no guarantee there will not be falling out at the independent school and these pupils will also come from all over. On balance though, why send another DD to a school you are not happy with?

I think you have been very indecisive over DD1. She could leave now and you would need to speak to the independent school about the syllabus for her subjects. It may be they have not stated GCSEs so she has not missed anything, but if she now does not want to go, then this could be counter productive. I would probably let her stay where she is. My DD found that silly girls do grow up when GCSEs kick in and y10 is the start of this. They also find like minded people in their GCSE lessons and friendships change. Why not move her to the independent school for 6th form? This is a more natural time to move. The only way I would move now is if I thought her happiness and exam results would be seriously compromised by staying. However, you need to be decisive and do what you, as parents, believe to be the best thing. Money spent is down to you.

Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 10:32:06

bojorojo thank you so much for your reply and sound advice! Yes I was very indecisive over DD1's secondary school!! Our catchment secondary is not great and we were only able to get her into the school that she's at due to an unusual low birth rate year. It was tough for her at the start she knew no one all local children generally live in Newbury so already knew each other. She also went to a very small primary school (Ofsted outstanding) one class let year. She found some of the girls (bitchy behaviour) quite difficult at first, she'd not experienced it at primary. Now I know some if that is growing up and experiencing the real world, and it certainly opened her eyes up to how nasty girls can be! The private school would have been a much closer match in terms of its size, small classes etc. Academically she's doing well although maths isn't her strongest and she's always had to work harder at this. As she's moved up in the years science is getting harder for her (although she's in top set but thinks she will drop to top middle in year 10) I do feel these two subjects she would have done better at at the private school with smaller classes and more individual attention. Yes that's what I have thought as well about sending her there for A levels. Although I worry with her finding maths and science quite hard and the new harder GCSE's she may not get the required grades to get in. I hope you don't mind me asking did your children have the choice to go state/private? I still worry about sending DD2 and DD1 resenting this as not bring given the same opportunity! 😩

hewl Sun 05-Jun-16 10:37:10

Definitely wait until 6th form and year 7.

Dd was in a similar position (except she was at private school - bitchy girls are everywhere!). She stuck it out during year 10 and 11. Things improved slightly. She's now predicted good grades and looking forward to joining an outstanding state 6th form in September.

There will be more demands on her time in private school - more drama and sport - I'd keep her where she is until gcses are done

Tweennightmare Sun 05-Jun-16 10:50:05

I personally would leave the decision to your DD at 14 she is old enough to make her own decision and only she knows how bad these friendship issues are.if she is happy to stay like other posters have said review it at sixth form . For the record I moved my DD to private in year 9 because of the friendship issues she was having but only because it was untenable in the existing school and she refused to do another day there .

Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 11:07:11

Yes unfortunately girls are notorious at having the ability to be so nasty. Indeed they are everywhere and I can't guarantee she wouldn't have friendship issues moving to a new school so late where the girls already have their friendshios grounded.

Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 11:16:15

Tweennightmare sounds like my daughter in year 9!! Towards the end of the summer term she was stating there was no way she was going back in September. It was unfortunate as the whole fall out happened end of June. She spent the rest of the term very unhappy crying as she didn't want to go. Had we not had the summer break coming up I think I would have moved her. But I didn't want to rush into anything and wanted to see if it would blow over after the break. It didn't the ringleader called a truce at the end of Sept (decided she couldn't be bothered to not to be friends with her anymore!) Did your daughter settle in well at the private school, were there many others that started in year 9?

bojorojo Sun 05-Jun-16 11:39:56

This is long - sorry!

We looked to move to independent in Y3 for DD1 who had been at a state infant school. She was offered a place, but she did not go because she desperately wanted to stay with "friends" who largely disappeared (she was excluded from friendships, no party invitations etc) a year later and she ended up with virtually no friends at the junior school. I really wished I had moved her. However, she stayed until Y6, did well and passed entry tests to two independent schools, so she went to one of them at Y7. She was the only child from a state school who started there and she was only talking to me about this a few days ago! She has a very strong personality and is very resiliant, but other girls were "bitchy" about where she came from. I had not realised it had been so difficult until 13 years later!

Other DD went to the same infant school and transferred to the junior school as DD1 had. However, the SLT was increasingly dire, no decison about a new Head for 2 years, only just scraped Satisfactory in the old Ofsted ratings so we moved her to the independent school DD1 decided she did not want to go to. DD2 left a couple of friends behind, but people really formed friendships according to perceived social status and this tended to dictate who their childrens' friends were, and were not, until Y6. Obviously we did not fit into any sterotype.

My children could not walk to anyone's house, except one other child in our village who was not allowed to play with my DD1. Never understood why not; although I heard it meantioned that my DD was allowed to wear a denim mini skirt and go to the school disco - so clearly undesirable. We decided it was not worth waiting for the time when the children decided who their friends were so for DD2 we jumped ship early.

When my DDs were little, I had no intention of looking outside the state system. I worked for the LA in Education! However, poor leadership, lack of friends, no party invitations led to a decision having to be taken on the basis it could not be worse and the advantages could be many. As we are in a grammar school county, not far from you, we also thought DD2 would not get to a grammar school. So, we had already thought she may go private and DD1 go to a grammar school. Lots of parents do this around here.

DD1 really wanted to go to her independent school age 11 and was ready to move on from the cliques at her local school and although she got a grammar school place, she wanted to board. So she did. DD2 was quite happy to transfer to a prep school for Y4 and is still in contact with a number of girls from that school and she loved the art there.

From what you say about science and maths grades, if you believe she will not get the grades to get into the 6th form, and the school will possibly take her now; go now! Otherwise you may regret that too. Try and "big up" the extra opportunities there and be enthusiastic. Talk to her about the advantages.

Tweennightmare Sun 05-Jun-16 11:42:58

She has settled really well and harmony now reigns in the house (I think her unhappiness upset me as much as her!) We have lived overseas and my DD has moved school quite a few times so moving didn't worry her. There were a few new ones as year 9 is a popular moving time in the prep calander . I think year 10 is more risky as you really can't move them again if it dosent work out because of GCSE,s but in the same vein classes are mixed up by GCSE's so a lot of the friendship groups will be split up this year so good opportunity for your DD to make friends as she will be mixing with a lot of different people

Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 13:09:52

Don't apologise for the long reply, mine is a long post and I really appreciate you commenting! Gosh children can be so nasty can't they!! Don't blame you for jumping ship when you did.

DD1's best friend put the state school that my daughters at as her first choice (we didn't as didn't think we had a chance as so far out) so it wasn't until she got a place that I thought if we'd have applied we would have got in too! This was Easter time when we started looking at Newbury schools. It was all very stressful choosing where we sent her worrying about distance, friendships, logistics of her getting there not knowing anyone etc and un settling for her as she thought she was going to catchment. But she came round to it as it was academically a lot better than the local one and had better facilities. The best friend from primary school actually went to the private school that we like. This was no surprise to us as they could easily afford it and her mum thought it was similar to their primary in terms of size and they are known for great pastoral care. She is now thriving at the independent and loves it. I do think it hasn't helped that we are rural and 30 mins away. We've always made an effort to have friends over here and take her to Newbury to meet friends. Most children live in Newbury so easier for them to just meet up. At an independent most peers would be in the same situation from all around.

When I had a recent conversation with DD1 about that we could send them both. She also worries about "everyone being really rich" I have explained there will be all sorts, those that are, but also those whose parents compromise a lot in order to send their children private.

Yes the science and maths is a concern as there is also no guarentee that she could get high enough marks to be offered a place. At this stage the entry exams are in science, maths and English. At normal year 7 entry it's not academically a real hot house. The other thing to take into account is the current headmaster is leaving the independent school at the end of this term so there is bound to be change! Lots to think about 😁

hewl Sun 05-Jun-16 13:17:10

A lot of people are 'really rich'. It's a MYTH that there are hundreds of 'normal' hardworking parents on bursaries etc. For every one family living in a small house with a very old car and no holidays there are ten more with pools, ponies and skiing every year. We didn't mind being the poor relations for a few years but I am really looking forward to dd being at state school where she is not the odd one out.

Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 13:19:27

Tweennightmare glad that your daughter has settled and is happy. Last year year 8 would have been a much better time to have changed so she started year 9 there. Did you move at the end of year 8 or actually part way through in year 9? Yes that's what is so tough year 10 is not ideal starting GCSE's (she's already chosen options at her current school) if we made the move and she disliked it we would be in a very tricky situation!

Tweennightmare Sun 05-Jun-16 18:41:47

Sorry Halloween just seen your question we moved at beginning of year although DD desperate to move the Easter prior. We have moved schools mid term when living overseas but they were a lot younger and its a lot easier when they are in primary

Halloween73 Sun 05-Jun-16 19:12:30

Thank you Tweennightmare, yes primary age is much easier to move children around!

bojorojo Mon 06-Jun-16 09:03:18

There is one thing that perhaps you should do to crystallise your thoughts, Halloween. Make a list of the positives and negatives of both schools. Be totally honest about each aspect and give weighting to the things you find most important. We did this when choosing senior schools and found it very helpful. It makes you think about what is really important. Good luck with your deliberations. Both my DDs at senior school had a girl or two join in Y10 so it is not impossible, just a bit tricky!

teta Mon 06-Jun-16 09:23:41

I moved my dd1 in year 9 several years ago.In retrospect it was the best thing for her.But it took her a while to make friends and become used to the school.She moved from the local Comp where she had very little homework to a selective school where she had lots of homework ,regular testing and new subjects.She was also moved from the top set in Maths locally to the bottom set in the selective school.It took her a year to make good friends and she was quite lonely for a while as most of her local friends dropped her overnight - silly girls.
I should imagine moving in year 10 would be even more difficult.I would leave your DD where she is until sixth form .Unless she really wants to move herself now and is deeply unhappy.
Having said all that my DD has done brilliantly and ended up with much better results than she would have done locally so it has all been worth it.But she hated me for a while as it was my decision to move her.She was perfectly happy where she was.Having sent her to an school in the past and not moved her because of her friends I was determined not to make the same mistake again.

Clavinova Mon 06-Jun-16 11:53:03

Before you overthink this too much - have you spoken to the private school since last July and has your dd1 actually been to visit the school? If not, then I think you need to do both asap. Bearing in mind that the private school will break up for the summer in less than 5 weeks time you don't want to find yourself in the same position as last year having decided nothing.
If your dd1 has an interest in dance then this might be a good way to make new friends at the private school - she is probably more likely to take advantage of what the school has to offer in this area in years 10 and 11 than in sixth form.

Autumnsky Mon 06-Jun-16 14:15:39

We are in the other way round, DS1 has gone to private, but may send DS2 to state school based on DS2's different need. If we finally go down this way, I would offer to pay DS2's Uni fee. So financially , we have given them equally.

I would suggest you considering your DD2's secondary school just based on what is good for her. Then compensate DD1 financially on other means. DD1 should accept that your finance situation is differently.

One of my friend was in same situation as yours, she did have a talk with DD1 and DD1 was happy for her brother to go to private school. My friend later paid DD1's house deposit.

bojorojo Mon 06-Jun-16 14:43:16

I am not sure your children will view paying university fees as equating with independent school fees. One will have debts and the other will not. That could be very divisive. I think it is best to say you chose a school according to their needs and you treat them equally after 18. The one with the debts may throw your decision back at you when the debts exceed £40,000 and your other DC has £0 debts but an education they did not choose instead.

Halloween73 Mon 06-Jun-16 16:34:07

Thank you bojorojo yes that's a good idea. My ultimate dilemma will be if DD1 stays where she is whether I send DD2 to the private school. Lots to think about and thank you for your valuable and helpful posts!

Halloween73 Mon 06-Jun-16 16:43:27

Teta thank you for your post. The frustrating thing is a year ago she was begging me to move her to the private school (we had previously visited it in year 6) and I wish we had just taken the plunge as now we are in a better position financially. I don't think I would move her unless she really wanted to now as I think it's too risky. She will be starting year 11 when her sister goes into year 7 so she will only have a year left. Her current school has a sixth form but I think it will be worth while maybe paying for extra tuition in maths and science. Hopefully that will help get her the grades that would give her the option to choose the private school for A levels if she wanted to!

Halloween73 Mon 06-Jun-16 16:50:30

Clavinova, no I haven't spoken to the school yet although I'm pretty certain there are still spaces in her year group (she's a low birth rate year) and yes we have (including DD1) previously visited. I don't want to make that call to them unless DD1 was genuinely happy to move. She knows the dance facilities well there as her dance school she attends used to use the school (ironically they moved to her current state school last Sept). She's very much into dance and knows older girls from her dance school who go to the private school. Girls seem to either be into horses their or dance according to her primary school friend who goes!

Halloween73 Mon 06-Jun-16 16:57:51

Autumnsky I completely understand that some people send one to state and one to independent for different reasons and each child is different. My DD1 is a bright girl and I also understand that she would feel like DD1 was given a better opportunity/education than her and that she didn't have a choice. It doesn't make it any easier though knowing I could send DD1!!! I think another serious chat with her to explain it all and to let her know that she could go to the private for A levels may help her think differently. I personally couldn't do that re university fees/debts I would want to pay the same for both like bojorojo said I think that would come back to haunt me from DD2!

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 06-Jun-16 17:34:39

Knowing the private school you are thinking of talk to them now. There may even be a chance that she could join this term. That particularly year group is small due to the low birth rate and there are a few events coming up that would help her make friends.
Girls regularly join at unusual points and do well I have even seen it in year 11.
Year 6 is not an unusual entry point either up to 10 girls have been known to join in that year too.
In both the senior and junior school children do join mid term for a variety of reasons.
I believe we have spoken before and your current state has a good academic reputation it is clear that it's pastoral side leaves a lot to be desired. I have seen several children removed for similar problems.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 06-Jun-16 17:40:18

In fact having read your post again and using the same dance school as you. Yes your current school is gaining a really bad reputation for not dealing with bullying.

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