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is it better to change school at primary level or wait till high school?(10 Posts)
We are moving to a new house soon, my son is currently in P5. Initially I was going to keep him in his current primary school until he finishes primary education and then start a "new chapter" with new school. However I have been advised that it may not be such a good idea to go to a high school, without knowing anyone, being a teenager etc. I am not from Scotland myself, so I am very confused at the moment and, and I wonder if you can share your view/ experience.
My son is not bursting with confidence in new places. He's not vey shy either, but rather quiet.
I would think it would be easier for a child lacking in confidence to move schools at primary stage than secondary stage. Primary schools are much more set up to integrate "the new child" (and by upper primary friendship groups are being redefined anyway) and are much smaller so easier to fit in.
I do think it makes it nicer at secondary school to start knowing other children - you will have posters telling you that they all make new friends anyway - which is definitely true, but it does make it easier to have some familiar faces around you. This is particularly the case where most of the other children do know someone - it's very hard to be one of only a few children that doesn't.
If you're going to go private at 13+ anyway, leave him at the school he loves.
The sooner the better in my experience, younger children settle much easier as younger children are more accepting and inclusive
I would say it depends on the school. Where I live most Secondary schools will take students from loads of different primarys so plenty of people will be in a class with no one they know - it's seen as a fresh start for everyone. If the majority would already know each other and have formed friendship groups it would be more tricky and primary might be a better bet as there will be more support to help settle him in.
I would move him at primary level and I say that as someone who kept her children at their original primary, but it was outstanding and a 3 form entry so a big primary. I didn't want to move them to a "good" small primary where people had been friends for years.
When they went to secondary they knew no-one, made friends fairly quickly, the school actively encourage it.My eldest is quiet and an introvert and my youngest is louder, extrovert, nerdy and quirky and both found their kind easily. There are lots of clubs to encourage friendships, not just lessons to make friends in.
The reason to move your son at primary would be familiar faces when he moves up to secondary, it is a good foundation on which to build new friendships if he wants to or has to.
I wrote a whole post saying why I thought it was best to move at primary. Then I thought about my own experiences. My parents moved 7 times when I was young ☹️ so I was forever starting a new school. I joined one secondary knowing nobody, in the start of the first year. And I joined a different one in the 3rd year (now year 9).
Actually, those moves might have been the easiest. I didn't know a soul at either place, but kids get a lot nicer and more accepting as they get older. So I got a lot less teasing/staring with the older moves.
I don't know! Maybe ask your son what he'd prefer. There's not much in it. I had to move my kids a few years ago and I did it mid-year so my eldest son (then in year 6) could make a few local friends before they all moved up to secondary together. I'm not sure it helped that much, as secondary is full of kids starring from all different primary schools.
@AnuvvaMuvva I had similar experiences to you as a child. My parents moved a lot (places as well as countries) and I ended up going to six different schools in 4 different countries having to learn new languages as well as make new friends every time. I adapted quite quickly, but judging by my own experiences, I would keep your son at a school he loves for as long as possible so as to minimise any disruption to his life.
My parents moved a lot as well, and I'm normally a fan of "keep your child where they are as long as possible". But on the basis that OP's child has to move anyway, and this is in Scotland where there is more of a "going to local school" policy than in England, I think it's worth getting it done sooner rather than later as it's nicer to settle into primary than secondary, knowing no one.
AnnaMuvva's point about secondary being full of children from different primary schools is true - but although these children won't know everyone they will know someone, and can at least stick with them for the first few weeks, which is a much better position to be in than knowing no one at all.
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