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Daughter passed entrance exam but doesn’t want to go to independent school

(43 Posts)
ttsmum Sun 04-Mar-18 10:37:18

My dd really wanted to attend our local independent school. Her brother is currently at the only state school in the town and whilst he is doing ok, I have seen a decline in his attitude to work and his general behaviour since he started over a year ago.

So I arranged for my dd to have tutoring to get her through the entrance exam and I and she was delighted when she passed. She has now freaked and doesn’t want to accept the place. Today is the deadline. We have spent the past month since she passed trying to talk to her about options, why she doesn’t want to go, why she does want to go to the local secondary school with her bother but she cannot give any sensible reasons. I got her to do a list, I’ve tried and tried to talk to her but I don’t think she is mature enough to come to any sensible reasons for either option. For instance she said she’s gone off baked beans - and like beans she’s gone off the idea of going to the independent school. Previously she said that the headmaster at the comp was a vampire. These are not reasons. I’ve talked her through what I think the pros and cons of each option are but no to avail. Please help. I think she may regret her decision but. I don’t want to push her.

OP’s posts: |
Ohforfoxsakereturns Sun 04-Mar-18 10:40:27

Where are all her friends going?

Can you take her and have a look around the independent school again? Might take some of the fear of the unknown away. Having an older sibling at a school is a huge comfort.

Rewn7 Sun 04-Mar-18 10:40:44

Normally I’d lean more towards letting the child decide their secondary school. However the vampire comment seems very odd and makes me wonder if your DD is very immature? If that’s the case you might need to decide what’s best for her.

BossWitch Sun 04-Mar-18 10:41:18

She's got no sensible reason, so accept the place for her and tell her that you will review it at Easter (best time for deciding a move, give 1 terms notice and start the comp in year 8). Two terms in she'll have made friends and it will be highly unlikely she'll want to leave.

I think year 6 is too young to make this decision. You're the parent; make it for her.

DelphiniumBlue Sun 04-Mar-18 10:48:09

I can only say that with hindsight, I would not have let my 11 year old make decisions affecting their future.
I did allow DS2 to do this, and I really regret not putting my foot down. He agrees ( now 22). The reasons that seemed so good then were really not important ( e.g. his friends were going there). The fact that the school was only average and then declined, was important. He refused to sit entrance exams for grammar school, and I should have found a way to make him.
You say your Dd changes her mind regularly (as do most 11 year olds). This is too important to leave to the whim of a child. You are the adult, you take the decision.
Good luck!

rubberducker Sun 04-Mar-18 10:48:49

Agree with a pp, this is too big a decision for a child to make, particularly when they cannot give any definite sensible reasons for the change of heart. I would accept the place at the independent school and work on getting her ready to go, with a reassurance that you'll move her if she's really unhappy after a couple of terms.

Hoppinggreen Sun 04-Mar-18 10:51:40

Sorry but she’s 11 and not really equipped to make such an important decision. If you think it’s the best option I think you will (gently) have to over rule her

LIZS Sun 04-Mar-18 10:53:39

She is 10/11, her opinion is only one part of the picture. Try the independent and see how she gets on.

ttsmum Sun 04-Mar-18 11:09:03

I took her round the independent school again last Friday and they took a lot of time talking to her. She came out and told me she didn’t like the name of the poor admissions lady who showed us around. You are right, I think she is very immature and not capable of making her own decision. Her friends are for the majority going to the local state school and I think that, coupled with her sibling going is a familiarity which she wants. But as most of you say she is not mature enough to make her own decision although most of the time she is a very sensible girl. I think I’m struggling as I listened to my parents and now I regret doing that. I had my path chosen for me and I went along with it as I felt that as adults they knew best. So I have my own issues to get to grips with and I think that’s my reason for not wanting to push her down a path that I would choose !

OP’s posts: |
yikesanotherbooboo Sun 04-Mar-18 11:26:37

You cannot do more than your best with these decisions. I am sure that loads of us on here have been in the same situation.Children, ime, are generally quite conservative and are drawn to what they know ie friends/ big brother is a fact though, that as an adult you are struggling to weed out the important issues around this decision and are obviously much better equipped than a 10 or 11 year old. Let her know that you have listened but that you believe the private school will suit her better and then get on with life.
To reassure you, if a year or two down the line you regret your choice she will always be able to move, there is always some movement.

ReinettePompadour Sun 04-Mar-18 11:28:13

She is clearly too young to be making this decision. I would enrol her anyway if you are confident its the best school for her. At the moment she is going to be upset at leaving her school and friends. You are the adult and you need to make the right decision on her behalf.

I think you have over talked this through with her really. I'd tell her you're not going to keep bringing it up and you will chat about it again after Easter. Then leave it. Don't keep talking about it.

Her reasons for not going, as you know, aren't good enough. She knows this too hence using someoned name as an excuse.

Hoppinggreen Sun 04-Mar-18 11:36:45

I took a scholarship exam at 10 for Private School.
I was very badly bullied at my small rural Primary once they found out I took the exam and I had literally one friend ( who to be honest I didn’t like but as nobody else did eithe she was my only option)
Even given this and the fact that all my bullies were going to the other option School I still was thinking sure I wanted to take The Scholarship.
My brother was also at the Comprehensive.
My Mum totally overruled me and made me to to The Private School and I was very very glad she did and still am.

reddressblueshoes Sun 04-Mar-18 11:42:41

Hmm, I don't always agree that age is too young to have input but it sounds that way here.

I was the casting vote at 11 in whether I went to a state school with a good reputation or a private school. My dad had gone to private school on a scholarship and wasn't allowed to forget it, so he felt I'd do better in the 'good' state school, my mum had v limited educational opportunities and wanted to do the best she could for me.

At the time, I felt that most people who went to the private school would have more money than us, would be snobby and wouldn't have the same values. Which sounds a bit precocious but I was v concerned with equality at the time and my best friend was being raised by a single mother (they were moving away so school with her wasn't an option). I felt instinctively that private school would limit me to one kind of person and I can honestly say looking back (especially now knowing people who went to that private school) I would have hated it and been a terrible fit.

I think the 'best' school isn't the best for every child, but as her parent if you think the independent school is best for her then in the face of her being able to form a coherent argument that makes sense, the decision has to be yours. But if she's miserable there, I would be open to making changes.

Also- keep an eye out for issues between her and her brother. I know a family where one child going private and one not caused years of resentment later on, and that is definitely something you should take responsibility for managing.

spacecadet48 Sun 04-Mar-18 11:43:19

I would be choosing, she sounds immature and can't provide any reasons for not wanting to go. My eldest cried when we chose his independent school for secondary, he was simply anxious about going to the school from his state as he worried about not fitting in. He skipped out of the school a few years later having loved the school and is in uni. His brother starts the same school in Sept and is the only child from his current state going. He is anxious too but they have induction days before the start of term and I know he will meet friends and be fine.

Somerville Sun 04-Mar-18 11:53:13

It seems strange that she can't give any reasoned argument for what she wants (or against what she doesn't want). With my daughter of the same age I'd be concerned in case there was a worry she wasn't sharing with me. Is there anything you can think of?
For example, when we heard that DD2 had an offer from the independent school we knew was ideal for her, she was hesitant. We realised it was because she knew it will be a stretch for us to pay for it.

ttsmum Sun 04-Mar-18 12:13:53

Thank you all so much for your views. This is very helpful. My DS wanted to go the school but he failed the exam despite having the tutoring so he didn’t have the opportunity that my DD has. I have tried to discuss affordability, friends, etc etc with my DD but she doesn’t want to engage. I have just filled the forms out and when she gets back (my DH has taken her out for a chat) I will tell her that I have made the decision but if after trying it for a year she doesn’t like it, we will apply to move her to the State school (just hope she would be accepted later as it’s over-subscribed like many schools)

OP’s posts: |
backaftera2yearbreak Sun 04-Mar-18 12:16:57

Just be careful. My friend did this to her daughter, as in made the decision for her. The child literally sat and refused to do anything. In the end they had to take her out.

Rewn7 Sun 04-Mar-18 12:21:42

The comments your DD has made makes me think your DD is still quite too young for this decision.

I think you are doing the right thing by making her try the independent.

LucheroTena Sun 04-Mar-18 12:23:16

You’ve done the right thing. They all have a wobble about moving to secondary. My DD was anxious about moving to an independent and leaving her large friendship group. There was even nonsense talk about turning up at her old primary on the first day. She is mature and sensible so to say something silly like that shows she was anxious and worried. She settled in very quickly and has kept in touch with most of her old friends, plus has a lovely new group of friends. She now says she doesn’t miss her old primary. The advantages of the independent over the comp (non grammar area) are sadly really high. Stability in teaching staff, pupil behaviour, facilities, class sizes. It was the right choice and we were lucky to have a choice.

TonTonMacoute Sun 04-Mar-18 12:25:02

It may be that this won’t be the right school for your DD in the long run, but it will be far better to accept the place, send her, and then withdraw her later, rather than pass up this chance now, and have her regret it.

user187656748 Sun 04-Mar-18 12:26:44

She is 10/11. She is a child. You need to make the decision for her.

DS2 starts secondary school in september. Yesterday he was pretending to be a were'cat' and howl miaowing at the moon. His friend was saying "bibblybobbly" at the end of every sentence which was really annoying . They're still children.

Rewn7 Sun 04-Mar-18 12:27:03

Also be prepared to ride out the first few weeks. DD went to the school of her choice yet still had a rough few weeks settling in. Now doing great but it was a long first term. As long as you know it might take until after Xmas then you’ll be prepared.

LucheroTena Sun 04-Mar-18 12:27:27

Ps ignore all the class nonsense. Unless you go to somewhere like Eton, most independents have a lot of kids from normal 2 income families. We have normal jobs and manage the fees. In my experience the kids don’t factor in background when choosing their friendships. Our school has 20% children on some sort of bursary.

gillybeanz Sun 04-Mar-18 12:34:57

Mine chose their own schools at secondary, but they were informed and had gone to open days.
If I hadn't have agreed they would have been overruled.

I don't think going where their friends are going is a good enough reason on it's own.
Some schools round here mix them up and chances are you are not with the same kids as you went to primary with, even less chance of it being a good friend.

user1495443009 Sun 04-Mar-18 12:38:07

I will let my child decide if she/he is matured and give me sensible reasons. I think your daughter just got cold feet.

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