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Travelling a distance to grammar school

(27 Posts)
levegal7 Mon 22-May-17 10:10:26

Hi, my daughter is starting at a grammar school located 10 miles away from our home. Only a very few children travel from our area to the school. My daughter is the only pupil from her primary school going to the grammar school. She will be getting the designated school bus. I am now feeling concerned about the social isolation issue. Can I ask if any other parent's children have found it difficult makjng friends or maintaining a 'best freind' relationship due to the distance? Thank you.

levegal7 Mon 22-May-17 10:35:03

It's more the friendship aspect that I am concerned about. It's really important that my daughter makes friends as she got separated from her best friends when the forms were split. She has had difficulty finding a best friend since.

GuestWW Mon 22-May-17 10:37:52

Hello
I could've written this post myself! DD also going to GS 10 miles away, only one from her primary. I think she is really looking forward to it and wherever they go to secondary they are likely to be separated from existing friendship groups (certainly where we live where lots of small village schools feed one big secondary).

Is there anyway to meet up with some of the other girls who will be on the bus over the summer? We have found one other girl and they have been socialising a little bit.

levegal7 Mon 22-May-17 10:52:18

Hi, so grateful for your reply. My daughter is looking forward to a fresh friendship start too. I don't know of any children who will be getting the bus yet bus the bus company gave me nos. of travellers and areas and hardly any at all are travelling from where we are. My daughter will meet other pupils on the induction day but I am told that most pupils come from the opposite side of town.

levegal7 Mon 22-May-17 11:03:07

That's a good idea though about me finding out if any other children from this area are travelling to the school. However, that doesn't mean to say that the travelling companions are going to turn out to be my daughter's choice of friends. I even debating going for another school now as I am so concerned. Is your daughter happy with the choice of school? Thanks.

cingolimama Mon 22-May-17 11:15:24

OP, I had the same concerns - DD goes to a secondary school miles away, on public transport, and didn't know anyone who was going to the school (though she did love the idea of a "fresh start"). But it's completely fine. She's made friends with a couple of kids who are local and several who aren't (at all). But it all works out - they're so much more independent in Y7, and so much busier! DD still sees a few friends from primary school who live around the corner, and then on the weekends she sometimes arranges to meet with her friends who live further away - often they meet somewhere central, but sometimes not.

It can be a bit of a faff, but not much really. The important thing is your DD is going to a terrific school, and she'll make wonderful new friends. She'll arrange (with your help) to see them at weekends and holidays. It will be more than fine. Good luck.

SavoyCabbage Mon 22-May-17 11:48:22

I promised myself that I would make it easier for dd to see people out of school even though it is a pain in the arse for me. So I drive her over to netball clubs near school, to friends at the weekends and pick her up from play rehearsals and the like after school.

My dd gets the public bus which I think helps as she doesn't have to race off to catch the bus straight after school. She can hang around and chat. My nephew gets the school bus and has to leave straight away

Badbadbunny Mon 22-May-17 12:00:37

We've been through the same. Son was the only one from his primary going to our nearest grammar school (not as far as 10 miles but journey takes over an hour due to poor public transport). Son and ourselves were 100% sure it was the school for him, our only worry was the isolation and travel. We needn't have worried.

He's made friends on the bus from other forms and years (service bus as not even a school bus provided). He also found lots of others in his form were the only ones from their primary schools, (they spread them out and tried to avoid kids from the same school in the same form). So, they were all in the same boat, with few past friendships brought in, so could all start to form new friendships from day one.

I think grammars tend to cast their net far and wide for their intake, so won't really have "catchment" primaries where lots of kids go from. My son's has kids attending from all over the place - must be 30-40 different primary schools feeding into it.

Couldn't believe how happy and settled my son was. First day home, he was full of it, made a new friend straight away because they both played minecraft, so had something in common and bonded over that, and they were playing online together that same evening!

Looking back to my own school, I think I'd wished I'd gone somewhere else too. As it was I was in a catchment primary, so 28 out of 30 in our class went to our nearest comp. My best friend at primary was in my form, along with 5 or 6 others, so we walked there and back together, sat together, etc. At the time, it was good, but it meant I didn't really look to make any new friends as I was quite introverted and shy anyway, so stayed in my comfort zone. However, as years passed, and the form turned into sets/groups/options, I found myself very isolated once my primary friends were in different lessons/rooms etc., - New friendship groups had formed and I was an outsider.

As it is, it's been the making of my son. I'm now actually glad he didn't go to a school with his old primary friends. He's still friendly with most of them and they still go to parties together, go to eachothers houses, go to footie together, so he's actually got the best of both worlds - still in contact with local old friends but now has a new group of new friends via school.

Tinty Mon 22-May-17 14:22:32

My daughter started at her school as the only one from school also. She has made new friends at school but they all travel long distances from other areas to get to school so it is reasonably hard to meet up out of school. We try to invite her friends from primary when we can. It was a little awkward at first because of being at different schools but it is getting better. A good thing to do is have a club out of school, my daughter does two sports clubs, so she has friends there. When she had friends over for a sleepover (reasonable size bedroom) they all insisted in camping in the lounge! Why do DC love sleeping on the floor when they can have a comfy bed. grin

DoctorDonnaNoble Mon 22-May-17 14:28:48

TBH - 10 miles is common at grammar. She may find she's one of the closest. I was only one from my village and my friends ended up being from completely different parts of the county! Keep in contact with her form tutor who will be keeping a close eye on them all in the first weeks (I was only one from my school in my form btw).

Chewbecca Tue 30-May-17 17:32:50

Late reply, sorry, but just wanted to say that my DS takes the bus to his GS and it is a bonus in that he has 'class friends' and 'bus friends' who are from across the yeargroup. It has been a good thing for us and resulted in broadening his friendship groups.

Sostenueto Tue 30-May-17 19:55:24

My gdd travels 32 miles each way to her school on a train. It's not a grammar but the outstanding diocese comprehensive which 5 primary's across 2 counties feed into it. She has been doing the travelling since she was 11. There are only a handful that go on the train, the majority travel by bus from her old primary. She made lots of new friends but as 70% of children are shipped in across the counties holiday times can be a bit isolating as most of her new friends live up to 40 miles away, but they do manage to meet up a few times during the summer but the logistics and organisation can be a nightmare.

Bubble2bubble Wed 31-May-17 08:26:43

I had a very similar situation and as it happened Dd met a child who lives very close to us but was also the only one from her primary school who went to the grammar.
The school seem to be very aware and place huge emphasis in the first term on making friends and 'getting to know you'. It has a big catchment area so you may need to commit to a bit more ferrying around but in the days of everyone over 11 having mobiles this is nowhere near as complicated as it used to be.
While it was nerve-wracking at the start it has honestly been the best decision we ever made.

MaroonPencil Wed 31-May-17 08:38:08

I went to grammar school 16 miles away, an hour commute on the bus. I knew only one other girl there when I started. I made a very strong friendship group, none of whom lived nearer than 10 miles away I would say.

It was very common to go round school friends houses after school - with the added excitement of getting a Different Bus - stay the night and go in with them the next morning. My mum and dad did have to do a bit of driving in the holidays, but we used to write a lot of letters as well (these days I guess social media!). When we were older we used to go out in the school town, as a bit of a hub.

228agreenend Wed 31-May-17 16:51:17

It's quite common for grammar schools to,have single pupils from primary schools, and they are used to this. Your dc will soon make friends on the bus and at school. My dc had one set of train friends, and another set at school. It's not uncommon for people,to travel to grammar schools either.

Det54 Wed 31-May-17 22:01:16

My dd is also starting at grammar school in sept 9 miles away and the only one in her class, I think it will be up to us to facilitate the friendships x

DoctorDonnaNoble Thu 01-Jun-17 08:58:20

Those of you starting at grammars please don't worry. We are well aware that we often have students who are the only one from their school. At ours on induction day I will be leading a session of drama games (i.e. enforced talking to each other in a safe space!) for every group to break the ice. This is followed up by their form tutors.
Our year 7 tutor team are great at this stuff and at communicating with parents.
I was the only one from my school in my grammar class. But then the vast majority of my form were in that situation. It was fine.
If you have any concerns (as with any school) contact the relevant member of the pastoral team.

Middleoftheroad Thu 01-Jun-17 14:01:12

Thanks DoctorDonna. Mine will be in this situation (3 miles away) so reasuring to know.

Wow - 32 and up to 40 miles journey!!

crazycrofter Thu 01-Jun-17 19:07:52

My ds is starting a grammar about 9-10 miles away, although still within the same city. We're meeting up soon with another boy in the same position just so that they both have a familiar face when they start. I'm sure it will be fine. My daughter's nearer her school (6 miles) but some of her friends live 25 miles from school! They spend lots of time together on snapchat/FaceTime etc. Their journeys are also important social times at either end of the day. And on the last day of term we usually have a sleepover with the friends furthest away - they come here after school and parents pick up the next day. They also meet in the city centre for shopping/cinema in the holidays as its central for everyone. It works fine! And there are some friends only 10/15 mins away.

Mumski45 Fri 02-Jun-17 00:56:54

My DS is also starting grammar school in Sept which is around 20m away with approx 1 he commute. There is one other boy from his school going and this helped him relax on the day of the 11+ but they are not in the same friendship group and have very different interests outside school.
However it seems the school is very aware of the issues of taking in boys from a large no of primaries. They have organised the induction days so that each set goes on a different day and parents are invited to join in mid afternoon to meet other parents.

They have also organised a 3 day cricket camp (not residential) and invited any boys due to start in Sept. DS has just completed the camp today and whilst exhausted has absolutely loved it. He has met boys who will be on the bus, others who will be in his set and also realised how easy it is to make new friends in this situation and become familiar with his new PE teacher. Overall I think this was a fab idea and really helps give them a more gentle introduction to the school making them excited rather than apprehensive about Sept.

I wouldn't worry about your DD and as other pp have said the school will be well aware of how to handle this during the settling in period.

Taytotots Fri 02-Jun-17 01:04:35

I went to a grammar school about that distance away. There were quite a few from my village that went and the journey there was always sociable (and we got to meet boys on the train - big plus for someone at an all girl's school). I had friends from a wide area as the catchment was big. I don't remember it being a problem - a few logistics with after school activities but that was it. Good luck to her.

Marmaladeorange Fri 02-Jun-17 01:14:49

Please consider your child's mental health when sending them to a grammar school. I attended the third best school in the country (it was five minutes away from my house,, but there were children coming from miles away) and achieved consistently high grades. However, the pressure to perform was immense (even with very relaxed parents) and I ended up with crippling depression an anxiety. Ended up being admitted to psychiatric hospital as soon as I had finished my exams. Mental health services admitted that my school had an extremely poor reputation for pastoral care and they had treated numerous pupils. While in hospital, two other students from the school were admitted. I was never able to build up solid friendships as everyone lived too far away, parents worked full time so couldn't assist with constant pick up/drop offs. Just consider your local comprehensive, please.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Jun-17 06:37:03

@Marmaladeorange that is not true of all grammar schools. We take these issues very seriously. We have an active mental health committee in our sixth form. There is a qualified counsellor on the staff. We now have sixth formers joining us because of our pastoral reputation. A lot of the pressure you mention comes from the students themselves and the current exam system.
I'm sorry for your experience, but don't think for one moment that all grammar schools are the same (neither are all comprehensives).

Sostenueto Fri 02-Jun-17 07:12:50

Well, I have to say I agree about the pressure aspect on children. Here on mumsnet there are people on other threads who are talking grammar school for their children while they are toddlers! As if all children would be academically able. Pressure creeps up on children even if you think you don't pressure them, and you really have to be aware of the signs. My gdd in top 10% of the country and goes to outstanding comp. But children shipped in from 2 counties means close friendships are hard indeed to maintain. Grammar is not the be all end all. Your child's happiness is everything.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Jun-17 07:37:27

Indeed it isn't. And I don't agree with parents like the ones you mention.
However, I will not have it assumed that pastoral care is crap at grammars when it's just not true. I don't make sweeping statements about non-selective education. I haven't considered where's best for my toddler yet as how the hell can you know so early.
I can't speak for all grammars obviously. However, the one I work in takes pastoral care very seriously. You will see mental health issues at outstanding comps as well. In fact, you'll see mental health issues in all schools. Being a teenager is bloody difficult.

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