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DD struggling in y7

(32 Posts)
WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Mon 15-May-17 13:29:50

My lovely DD entered private from state. It's a high-flying place with many wealthy pupils, and DD is all at sea a year in. She feels 'lesser' on every level - academically, financially, socially, etc, and is unrecognisable, personality-wise. The school is helping all it can, but we wonder how long we give this - while realising every school has 'issues' and DD's feelings of 'not being good enough' will take time to sort/unravel.

Peanutbutterrules Mon 15-May-17 16:29:17

Hmmm...that's a tricky one. My DD went private at secondary as well. Lots of quite rich girls; but lots more middle with fees being paid by both parents working, grandparents helping etc so not such a big adjustment.

What other choices do you have locally?

Has she made friends?

If it's destroying her confidence I would look to move next year. You want her settled by yr 9.

Traalaa Mon 15-May-17 16:29:33

I suppose a lot depends on whether you think things will improve A friend of mine's daughter switched from state to private and had similar problems. In the end she moved back to a local state school where some of her old friends were and she's really happy and thriving both socially and academically. Pre-move, my friend did a lot of talking to parents at the state school and comparing, so working out if it might be better for her DD there, etc. It was quite easy for her to do that as she was friendly still with a number of parents from the primary who had gone there. Also she was lucky as they live virtually on the doorstep, so she was high on the waiting list for a place. Obviously each situation's different though. What do you think your DD would like to do?

nocampinghere Tue 16-May-17 17:51:17

what's your alternative?
if it's a good state school with lots of her primary school and you can get in, i'd be tempted to move her. It can take a good while to settle, DD wasn't settled til about Easter (feb half term was a low point) but if it isn't improving there's not much of yr7 left.

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Thu 18-May-17 17:14:40

tbh, I don't think DD knows what to do, and DH thinks she should stay put and things will settle. I am not so sure as friendships have been an issue (cliques). She wants to be a top performer (like in primary), but quite frankly, in this school, that ain't gonna happen. She also said that talk of self harming in school was rife which astonished/worried me. Am I being naive - is that true of most girls' schools?

nocampinghere Thu 18-May-17 18:08:27

what did you like about the school? why did you think your dd would thrive there? are those reasons still valid?

i don't know re the self harm. my DDs are at a coed academic indep.

MumOnBus Thu 18-May-17 19:42:07

OP my heart goes out to you. My DD is in a local comprehensive (non-faith) but most of her friends went to either the not-so-local Catholic school or one of two private ones. And the range of issues that people have is quite varied!! (there's no perfect place). My DD has settled reasonably well though she misses her friends from primary and at times I wondered whether I had done the right thing in thinking about our lifestyle and day-to-day practicalities above all. I'll keep an eye on her (and her friends too), but I wouldn't be keen on uprooting her as there's no guarantee that she would settle any better in any of the other schools.
As PP have said, you need to think whether your DD would thrive elsewhere flowers

BertrandRussell Thu 18-May-17 19:49:54

It might be helpful to think back to why you thought the school would be a good fit for her in the first place.

Rudi44 Thu 18-May-17 21:19:06

Oh gosh this will be us in Sept. We got none of our allocated schools and instead were allocated a pretty awful option so looked to independents, and DD was awarded a part scholarship. I do worry but DD is pretty resilient and also very sporty which I think will help. The school we have chosen is small with excellent pastoral care so I remain hopeful we can survive this. It helps that DD knows someone going there too. I do worry about it as there are a lot of very well off families there and we are just a normal family with a crappy car but the alternative is she goes to a school we really aren't happy with.

Notcontent Thu 18-May-17 23:18:23

Rudi44 - I am in the same boat - dd is starting year 7 at a girls independent in September and I am a bit nervous about her fitting in. We are in London so our house is really modest, and dd does not have the confidence and "polish" many of these girls have...

HPFA Fri 19-May-17 06:54:36

Am I being naive - is that true of most girls' schools?

I have a DD in an all-girls comprehensive. I asked her if girls talked about it a lot. She said "No, not unless they've been talking about it in PSHE or something". She seemed genuinely rather surprised by the idea.

Would it be possible for your DD to visit other local schools? Her reaction to the idea might give you a good clue as to how she's feeling.

I actually went to a private school where I was much poorer than the other girls. You do learn to cope but I don't think that, on the whole, the experience did me much good. It wasn't the other girls being nasty about it but it was the constant realisation that life was more of a struggle for me than it seemed to be for them. Of course, some of them had more problems than I did with parental illness etc, but as a young teenager you don't really have the maturity to see that.It may be too do with personality though - another girl in the same situation might well have thrived.

BarbarianMum Fri 19-May-17 08:38:27

Re the "high flyer" coment, it is very usual for the top performing kids at primary to get a shock when they realise they're not the top at secondary. The few who do manage to stay there get the same experience at university. Learning there are people out there who can outperform you -even when you work hard - is part of life. The trick is to keep working regardless.

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Fri 19-May-17 11:56:03

Thanks for the comments, and mumonbus for the virtual bouquet. Really appreciated right now as am totally frazzled. We chose the school for its results and pastoral care which looked robust to us (and, to be fair, I think it is), but there's no silver bullet to this. Now I am wondering whether it's strong on the pastoral side because of the sheer quotient of issues it's having to deal with (ie chicken and egg). I agree re 'good life lessons' in terms of having to come to terms with wealthy people; ordinarily I would be saying exactly the same. I just didn't realise it would be quite so difficult for DD to process (and also money buys a certain social status in these schools sadly, which creates the cliques to a degree)

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Fri 19-May-17 12:02:56

I should have said 'good life lessons' in terms of having to come to terms with wealthy people/cleverer people'.
HPFA, am v glad to hear self-harming is not rife talk in every secondary.

stinky81 Fri 19-May-17 12:12:10

Hi OP,
I went to a private school from state in year 7 too, and I remember feeling all the things you've described. I went from being the most clever/wealthy/whatever pupil to being middling at best, and it was a big shock.
HOWEVER. Looking back I'm still glad I made the move. Yes it was difficult, but I think we all hit a point in life when we realise we're not the best at everything, and in some ways the earlier this happens the easier it is to deal with it. Sounds harsh, I know, but I had a boyfriend who didn't experience this until university, and he really struggled with it.
My point being, yes it was difficult, yes I had a bit of a wobble but I got through it and ultimately had a brilliant experience with secondary school, and I think I'm more resilient as a result. Keep talking to your daughter, and (this is crucial) try and give her a strong sense of identity in terms of belonging to your family, and she'll be just fine smile

Rudi44 Fri 19-May-17 12:20:00

and maybe there is a better independent option than the one she is currently at? Smaller, less academically full-on?

stinky81 Fri 19-May-17 12:21:03

Also, I work with kids and a lot of them struggle in the first year of high school, so it might be helpful to try and unpick how much of this is about feeling 'lesser' in that particular school, and how much is about moving up from primary more generally. If you're really struggling, maybe ask for an assessment from your local counselling service or CAMHS for a fresh pair of eyes on this? (Note: it is very unlikely that CAMHS would see your daughter as needing actual intervention from them, but they might see her for an assessment and give you some ideas about how to proceed)

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Fri 19-May-17 12:21:21

thanks stinky81; interesting that you thought the painful watershed moment was a useful precursor to uni.

Canadawet Fri 19-May-17 12:21:35

Adding my 2pence, DS (y9) is in a selective London independent boys school and found it really difficult to become "average", after having been top of his class in primary, that is pushing him up though and this is why we chose that school for him, but some days I am really wondering what good selective schools do. He has found some nice friends which help. DD (Y7) moved from independent all through girls school to state (faith) co-ed and is so much happier, even in primary (year 5-6) there was some nasty bitchiness going on, including self harming, and she was so stressed about everything, now she is enjoying being in top sets, is relaxed, has made friends, and it was a really good decision. Her younger sister is at the same private girls school now but has a different experience, she says everybody is lovely, I wonder if this is going to change as she progresses up the years? I'll keep an eye on this. I am in favor of changing schools if this is as bad as you say.

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Fri 19-May-17 12:24:34

Rudi 44 - yes that's my plan B, certainly, if it comes to that. I'd happily forget the academics quite honestly (though quote me on that when DD gets to Y11-13)

houseisfallingdown Fri 19-May-17 12:38:06

OP- can I be nosey and ask if you are in London. Thinking about schools at the moment for y5 DC and these issues are all the things I'm going round in circles about!

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Fri 19-May-17 16:49:09

no, not in London

Reasontobelieve Fri 19-May-17 18:59:13

I would research alternative options where you might have a reasonable chance of getting a place and see whether you could look round with her. This might help both of you decide and provide her with some perspective.

I have always felt that for some children, it is better to be at the top in a less selective school than in the middle of a super selective school.

Does she have friends outside school - for example from her primary school or other activities? Maybe it would be worth looking at where they go?

As someone from a working class background, I do remember feeling completely out of place when I went to an all-girls grammar school. I really found it hard to settle in Y7, but got used to the academic demands after that. The feeling of being 'different' from the other girls never left me whilst I was there.

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Thu 25-May-17 17:25:09

It's not getting any better. I'm really at a loss. I have never seen dd depressed before, and quite frankly, it's frightening in a 12 year old. She says it's so hard to make friends at this stage, and being isolated by the gang she'd unfortunately joined has been horrible to watch. While I don't really want to move her for fear of going through this all over again (heaven forbid), I wonder how long you give it? Half term is going to be fine, but I feel we may just be patching her up to send her back into a miserable environment. Realistically, what can teachers do when Y7 turns into a nightmare?

Trampire Thu 25-May-17 17:46:03

I really feel for you Whatsitallabout.

I can't really comment on the private/state thing as my dd goes to a state comp but I wanted to hold your hand about the whole Y7/miserable 12 year old thing. I have another thread in Secondary Ed called "Y7 woes"

My dd came to secondary without knowing hardly anyone. She was a high flyer in Primary. That's not too much of an issue for us. There are plenty of kids here just as clever as her and few waaaay more clever (also plenty not so much) so she feels quite confident with her school work and is still given lots of accolades (although she's annoyed she's always just outside their top students achievements it spurs her on!).

My dd's issue is that she says she doesn't 'fit' too well with a lot of the groups of girls she's made friends with so far. They seem a bit emotionally younger than her, also physically as she towers above them at 5 ft 5 and E-cup boobs! My dd is quite quirky and has quite grown-up tastes. She was joining new clubs at school in order to expand her friendship group but was finding her older friends following her to them. I think she was finding things a bit suffocating.
She had a bit of a meltdown last week but has gone in this week and been much better. She has made sure that she spends her day with a large variety of people and has this week been a bit more gregarious. She seems happier.

Like a PP mentioned Y7 is hard anyway so it's hard for you to decipher. I think Y7 is really hard for lots of people and nobody talks about it. It has been a shock to me.
However In Y7 there is an awful lot of moving about. Sometimes you make the best choices at the times and for various reasons things just don't work out.

Without getting into a state v private debate, can I ask why you chose the school? What is the state school like where her friends go? Do you think she'd feel happier there as she may be near the 'top' end of the academic achievements? There may also be a more relaxed atmosphere? Are you still friends with any of the parents whose dd's go there?

Keep the faith. It will be ok one way or another.

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