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How many friendship survive the move to secondary school...

(18 Posts)
SockEatingMonster Thu 09-Feb-17 13:19:45

..and does going to the same secondary school as the majority of your peers lessen the risk of bullying?

DS is a clever but very quirky and socially awkward child. He goes to the local primary school where he is liked and accepted by the rest of his class, and is close friends with 2 other boys.

His primary feeds into a small and well regarded state secondary school where we had hoped he might go. However last year, in one of his out of school clubs, he was horribly bullied by a group of children from 2 of the other feeder schools. After failing to get this under control, we quickly withdrew him and no permanent damage seems to have been done, but it has brought home to us that not all children are going to take him in the same way. It was terrifying to see how quickly they identified him as a target. Something similar happened whilst camping last summer, so I don’t think it is isolated. We spoke to his class teacher who said, from her point of view, he is confident and popular. Where classmates have teased him for his eccentricities, he is apparently very good at using humour to laugh away the insults. I don't know why this did not work outside of school. Possibly because he had no one in his corner to laugh along with him?

We are not short of other options, but I am torn between keeping him with his supportive group of friends (who will go to the local state secondary) and taking the opportunity to avoid the group of children who have already physically attacked him. This, of course, assumes that his friendships and allegiances will survive the transition.

He is only 8, so we have time, but it is weighing heavily on my mind at the moment.

Autumnsky Thu 09-Feb-17 14:18:26

It is hard I think. Maybe keep the option open? You can still keep this secondary as your main choice, but do have a couple of back up. Then you can keep an eye on his friendship. I remember DS1's year 6 class turned into a disaster, as a few children really played up and the teacher can't control them. Children change a lot form 8 years old to 11 years old. And some lovely children turned horrible when they are a bit older. If by Y6, you think DS still has a group of good friends, then I think this feeding secondary will be a good choice.
Meanwhile, doing sports and especially martial arts club may help. A strong boy is less likely to be picked up.

Sittinginthesun Thu 09-Feb-17 14:22:36

First, he's still very young, and friendships may change a lot, even before he leaves primary.

In our case, DS1 had the choice of 3 secondaries. I was happy with all 3, and let him choose - he chose the school his friends were going to, although it was also because it was his favourite school.

Interestingly, he is not in a teaching group with any of his friends, and has made a new group of friends in class. He is, however, still very close friends with 3 boys he moved up with.

I know that they were very good for his confidence, he has tried clubs that he wouldn't have done on his own and, whilst he wouldn't necessarily have struggled without them, they have definitely made transition easier for him.

golfbuggy Thu 09-Feb-17 14:57:49

DS's Year 6 friendships (including DC who went to other schools) have remained thus far (now Year 8). He has made other friendships as well! His friendships in Year 6 were not the same as when he was 8 though.

His primary school is the main feeder to his secondary (approx. 100 out of 240 children) but that in itself didn't particularly help DS as he was put in a class with no particular friends and found it very hard to settle - I would say it took the majority of Y7 to do this. He did of course have the advantage (or perhaps it wasn't as it gave him a get out ...) of being able to spend breaks with friends from other classes.

SockEatingMonster Thu 09-Feb-17 15:07:05

Thank you so much.

Autumn, he's only in Year 3, so there is still plenty of time for it to all go wrong! His 2 best friends are very into video gaming and are allowed to play games like GTA and Call of Duty (one has been playing both since school nursery shock) so I do foresee that causing conflict at some point. At the moment though, they all seem happy enough to kick a ball around and play Minecraft together. DS has absolutely no interest in martial arts, but does play football and a few other non-team sports, so I'll keep encouraging that. He does dance (not locally, thank God) so that might stand him in good stead for martial arts if he ever changed his mind.

Sitting, it sounds like your DS is happy at his school. DS is already insistent that he wants to go to the same secondary as his friends. Those friendships are very important to him.

Lottie4 Thu 09-Feb-17 15:07:27

My DD and her friends were allowed to nominate two others they'd like to have in their tutor group. I know four children actually chose DD and she did choose two of them. So five years on:

One girl is in her friendship group and sometimes they see eachother on their own
One girl she has a fantastic relationship with
She see one girl socially with another friendship group and would be happy in her company
The last girl - there was a massive fall out in Year 7 due to the other girl messing her around and then causing trouble with others in her group. That was the end of the friendship.

When they first go to secondary, I think they hit them hard with detentions for unreasonable behaviour, so if you've got the right school he should get support if there are any problems.

Do bear in mind, the two children you are concerned about may not even end up in the secondary school.

SockEatingMonster Thu 09-Feb-17 15:09:45

That's interesting golfbuggy

The state secondary that we like has less than 100 children per year group so, assuming that most of DS's class go there, over 1/4 of the year group will be from his school. No guarantee that he'll end up with any of his friends in his classes though, especially if they stream them.

swingofthings Thu 09-Feb-17 18:00:16

My experience is that primary school friendships rarely last after Year 7. My DD started a new secondary school and knew no-one (moved in the area over the summer), so this was different but I saw many of the girls who were stuck to each other at the start of year 7 gradually moving away and forming new groups.

DS had many friends at his primary school and a number of them, including one of his closest friends moved to the same secondary school. By the end of year 7, he hardly spoke with any of them any longer.

In both instance, the friendships that remained until the end of Y11 were the friends they made towards the end of year 8, beginning of year 9. All their best closest friends were kids they hardly spoke a word to in Year 7!

Sadik Thu 09-Feb-17 18:50:13

The opposite here - DD is in yr 10, and her two main friends are one from primary, plus another girl she met on a transition day in yr 5 and hit it off with. Again a small school (80 in year group) and relatively few feeder primaries - add into that lots of pupils who are related to each other, and you don't see the same degree of movement in friendships.

Sadik Thu 09-Feb-17 18:51:18

Should say they do circulate in a larger group - perhaps it would be fairer to say those are the two girls that I know will always be on the scene (the safe option?)

SockEatingMonster Thu 09-Feb-17 19:06:27

I think the children in question will probably end up there Lottie, it was quite a large group, although just 3 main ring leaders. I know that 2 of the ring leaders have older siblings at this school, so it's likely they will follow them.

That's interesting about smaller secondaries Sadik. We are quite rural and even though up to 75% of the year might be from different schools, due to overlapping clubs and large families that have been here for generations, he'll probably know at least half his year.

Like your DD swing, I joined my secondary school in year 7 knowing almost no one. I made friends, in fact, come to think of it, I used it as a bit of an opportunity to reinvent myself blush

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 10-Feb-17 12:39:03

In my case, my DS was bullied in school from about age 8 upwards by children that were previously his friends, it only takes one "popular" child in the class to decide to be a smart arse and then the majority of sheep will join in. My son did maintain a couple of friends but the class in general made his life a misery. If I'd known how bad it would get and that measures to stop it would fail time and time again then I would have pulled him from the school.

However we didn't. He went to a different, more academic, school than the rest of the class, he made good friends and has no issues with friends or anyone 5 years later.

We felt he was going up already a target so wanted to avoid that.

In your case, I would imagine that the particular children who targeted him in the past will have no recollection of him/that by the time they are in high school. I would keep an eye on things and make the decision a lot nearer the time.

Oh and DS was the tallest boy in class and did do martial arts. If it's not in their nature to fight back (verbally or physically) they wont. We got to the point where we were actually telling him to punch the main instigator but he simply wouldn't. It's not who he is. His teen years have been much better.

MrGrumpy01 Fri 10-Feb-17 21:18:48

Dd is likely to either be the only one of one of a very few going on to her new school (working on we get 1st or 2nd choice). Our primary school has a split catchments for secondary and there is a 3rd over arching school plus a number of others in the area. Due to the 3 way 'basic' split we had long talks about choosing where she wanted not where her friends did.

I am hopeful she will make friends. Both schools pull from a wide area so new friendship groups will be made all over.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 10-Feb-17 21:50:51

tbh, as far as I can tell, even those who go up with friends tend to make a whole new set of friends at High School anyway so in a way, it doesn't really matter. I think picking a best fit school where they are likely to have most in common with the other pupils is more key to them settling well and making good friends.

Hassled Fri 10-Feb-17 21:57:47

My DC who sounds most like yours - the quirky, eccentric, socially awkward but funny one - did so much better at High School than he had a primary. He did move up with quite supportive friends, but I did worry - he was never going to be in the in crowd. But High School is a big pond - so statistically there were more likely to be kids like him, and they found each other quite quickly. Within a few months he had a gang of awkward geeky kids, and there's always safety in numbers.

So please don't worry - see how things are in a year or two. But the dynamics are very different in High School - so many big tribes who don't interact much.

measles64 Fri 10-Feb-17 22:14:21

I think the parents have a hand in the way friendships last. The primary school Mums in my sons year have stayed in touch even though the children split off to different schools. The Mums try to have a night out once a month, we go to each others homes still. This weekend we are getting together for someone`s birthday there will be twelve 15 year olds there from the old days.

OdinsLoveChild Sat 11-Feb-17 12:00:49

My experience is that no friendships dont continue at high school.
As your child is only 8 you haven't had chance to look at the high schools just yet. Consider visiting the open evenings in September. You will be surprised how much schools vary.

One school may offer an activity another one doesn't and it may make you decide that's the school for you. You might like the staff at one school over another, the pastoral care might be better and more important to you.

Don't pick a school based on whether friends are going etc. If you have specific issues with particular children you can ask that it be taken into account when your child moves to the school.

I always recommend visiting the open evenings in both year 5 and 6 so you can see how they have changed and get a better idea of which school would be best for you. Ask about the student support both visits and compare the answers. If its radically different then are they telling the whole truth? If its the same, does it work how you need it to.

In the meantime have a chat with your ds and see if he might consider a martial art as a hobby. My children's confidence has rocketed and both the youngest were quiet shy types. Its really helped then cope with those more excitable children.

JustSpeakSense Sat 11-Feb-17 12:17:16

In my experience friendships do not continue into secondary school.

Their primary school friendships serve as a starting point to making new friends and moving on.

When he has a place in high school I would voice your concerns to the head of year, to ensure he gets placed in a form with the right mix of personalities. And if any incidents of bullying occur get straight on it and ensure the school are handling it appropriately before it escalates.

There is such a mix of personalities in highschool, that everybody has the ability to find their tribe. Don't worry too much about it now, he has a few years to still mature and he will be ready to tackle high school when the time comes.

There are some real little bastards out there, but there are also lots of lovely children just like the friends he has already made, have faith that he will find them.

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