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Moving from prep to secondary in Year 7/8

(13 Posts)
Starlilly88 Mon 12-Mar-18 19:10:26

My DS is currently in Year 7 at a prep school but isn't very happy due to lots of different things. He has a 13+ place to start at the beginning of Year 9 but there is the option, if the head of the secondary school agrees, to move him there at the start of Year 8 instead. He's stressed about common entrance and that would also mean he wouldn't have to do it. The prep school understandably wouldn't be very happy. Apart from joining as a 'new boy' on his own, can anyone see any issues with doing this? He was desperate to leave last year and he's still miserable, so I feel bad about making him stay on if he could be happier to leave earlier

mastertomsmum Tue 13-Mar-18 12:45:28

We took our son out of Prep School and sent him to local Primary in Yr5. The best decision by far about his education we have ever made.

He was miserable and the pastoral care was awful.

When we moved, larger classes didn't matter as concern for each child was so much greater.

At Secondary he had his pick of the Grammers and place at a state school (academy). I'm glad we chose the academy. They do everything the Prep school did inc extra curricular and the atmosphere is very inclusive. Plus it's a very academic school.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 13-Mar-18 13:38:09

Are you sure he would be joining on his own? In London sometimes there can be a lot of movement in Y8 particularly in straight through schools so it's worth asking about how many places will become free. You may also need to check that the senior school doesn't have an agreement with IAPs not take boys from 13+ preps early.

Even if he is the only joiner if he is unhappy where he is now he has nothing to lose by leaving early. It gives him a year to settle in before the 13+ intake. It isn't your responsibility to make the prep happy, you do what is best for your DS. The only downside to me is that CE is a good practice run for GCSEs and letting him avoid it could create a precedent.

I am sorry for you as I know it's horrible to have an unhappy DC.

Starlilly88 Wed 14-Mar-18 08:31:26

I don't think the head of his future school has any agreements with our prep, unlike some other schools in the area. Trying to balance the benefits of Year 8 at his prep with potential benefits to joining his future school early. It's not good that he comes home every day saying what a bad day he has. It might cause problems to remove him though as I have another DS lower down the school

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 14-Mar-18 09:56:05

If the senior school has space and you give a terms notice I don't think it will be that big a problem. the downsides I can think of are:

You will lose your 13+ deposit if there was one (it is over £5k at some schools).
Your DS will miss out on being the eldest year group in the school and the opportunities and responibilities that offers.
No-one fails CE so he will miss out on that feeling of achievement.
He will miss out the leaver' year activities, CE sits quite early and schools usually have a lovely programme of events, activities and trips planned for afterwards.

It really comes down to what he wants to do and why he is unhappy.

Starlilly88 Wed 14-Mar-18 15:21:38

I didn't think about losing the 13+ deposit - wouldn't they just change it to a Year 8 place instead? Most of it comes off the first terms fees and the rest when you leave the school. Also I'm running out of time to give a terms notice at his prep.
It would be a shame to miss out on the end of term events but not sure it's enough to make him stay. He also has a downer on himself that the school won't give him any good responsibilities in Year 8 as he's not good enough. He's stressing about CE already even though I've told him no one fails!

Longislandsound Wed 14-Mar-18 17:30:46

I wish we had this option , I think that if your son is that unhappy then you should take up his place now. My son has a conditional offer for year 9. he is also in year 7.The pastoral care at his prep school has let him down badly , we need to find a new prep school which can prepare him for the exams next year. The other option for us will be coming home to attend the local state school, this may the wiser one.

Your son is probably fed up with the same boys receiving all the glory.
These boys get to experience the wonderful pastoral care that schools often talk about , their confidence is boosted on a daily basis . It.'s appalling really as prep schools are usually so small that some boys are let down.

Best of luck to your son.

Starlilly88 Wed 14-Mar-18 18:27:09

Have you asked the school that you have a conditional place for if he could join early? My DS also has a conditional place but I was told it would be down to the discretion of the head as to whether he could join early.

The prep school do bang on about nurturing but haven't done anything to help his confidence, they seem to help the naughtier boys first!

montenotte Wed 14-Mar-18 18:48:45

Definitely move him, sounds like a no brainer to me.

Longislandsound Wed 14-Mar-18 18:51:31

His senior school only starts from year 9, so joining a year early wouldn't be an option .It's a very academically selective boys school with a long waiting list .They will be expecting him to arrive from his current prep school so even moving school would need to be explained.

LIZS Wed 14-Mar-18 18:55:48

Move him , year 8 at prep is very overrated. He'll be established before the 13+ intake joins.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 14-Mar-18 19:43:16

For your DS my only concern would be his nerves at CE just because it's likely to be worse for GCSEs and this would be a good practice run when it doesn't matter. But It's not worth an unhappy year.
DS loved Y8 and DS2 is also looking forward to his schools very busy (and expensive) leavers year activities after CE this year.

user1469682920 Thu 15-Mar-18 09:35:52

I would move, leaver events and fun stuff post CE is actually no fun if you are unhappy and don't feel you fit in. I too have seen instances where prep schools sell the year 8 experience as a confidence booster but in reality its great for the sporty, academic stars but can make feel others feel excluded. The best prep schools will of course nurture all but not all do.
Also being the only one joining a school can have its advantages as more effort is made to help fit in etc.
To me the only concern might be the CE issue so it might be worth gently exploring whether exam nerves or avoidance is a real issue so you can be prepared next time exams come round.

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