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Year 8 move to private - should we or shouldn't we?

(9 Posts)
Mountainscalling Mon 17-Aug-20 20:53:25

We have unexpectedly been offered a place for DD at a private school for September start into year 8. DH and I think it would be a good move for her, she is adamant that she doesn’t want to go.

Back story – last September DD moved to year 7 at a very good local comprehensive with about half her primary year group. On paper it should have worked well. What actually happened was that she really struggled with the transition, didn’t settle, didn’t enjoy the lessons and didn’t make any new friends. The school made all the right noises about supporting her but in practice did virtually nothing to help. By Feb 2020 she was so miserable we looked at private alternatives then the pandemic hit.

Her current school have been pretty good during lockdown from an academic point of view and have provided an almost complete timetable, pastorally they have been useless with the first contact from DD’s tutor coming one week before the end of the year, when he expressed surprise that she was finding home learning hard – because she’d done all the work he’d assumed everything was hunky dory!

DD doesn’t want to change schools. I think the rose tinted glasses have gone on and she has forgotten how miserable she was alongside (understandably) being absolutely terrified of going into a new school where everyone else will know one another. I fear that, having missed over a third of the year, year 8 in her current school will be almost as bad as starting year 7 and after a couple of months we'll end up in the same position.

DD is a quiet, well behaved, reasonably bright child who doesn’t tend to get noticed which is one reason we feel the private school may suit her better.

How can we (should we?) convince her that although it will be very scary a new school may be far more enjoyable in the long term?
Anyone been in a similar position? We obviously need to make a pretty quick decision!

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JoJoSM2 Mon 17-Aug-20 21:24:12

Is the private school known for good pastoral care and a warm environment? I would be inclined to move your daughter as smaller groups and and a wider co-curricular provision are likely to help her find new friends better and be more settled.

threecats333 Mon 17-Aug-20 21:31:18

Year 8 a good year to join friendships are still developing and so it can be quite easy to fit in. I think the poor response to her difficulties in year 7 is concerning and if she is well behaved they probably can't see a reason to intervene. Not all private schools are better though even with smaller class sizes.

Mountainscalling Mon 17-Aug-20 21:32:24

JoJo yes,it is, which is one of the reasons we really like it. Unfortunately that's not something that our opinionated preteen is buying into right now!

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beckymum Mon 17-Aug-20 23:20:59

I think your child's view on it is important.
Y7 & 8 I think are particularly difficult at any school , and then things settle down. If she is confident things will improve then that's good, isn't it?
I'm sure the private school will still be an option in 6 months time if it carries on not going well .

Devilishpyjamas Tue 18-Aug-20 06:54:34

How small is the private school? Small groups can also be a lot worse for bullying because it’s just so much more intense. You can’t hide in a small group. One of my kids really struggled with the small groups at his private school (from year 5, was fine before then, but a new kid started in year 4 who took a dislike to him and has been much happier in the big year groups at state secondary where he could find his people if you like.

If the issue was that she was overwhelmed by the secondary then the smaller environment might feel better, but I’d be careful about going too small

Mountainscalling Tue 18-Aug-20 08:50:45

beckymum I do agree that DD's view is important but at the moment I don't think she can see beyond the scary thought of a big change with very little notice. I suspect we could still move her in a few months time, tbh we didn't expect to be offered the place until part way through year 8 or even for a year 9 start.

Devilish the private school is quite small, but not tiny (45-60 per year). She's not been overwhelmed at her current school which is a 180 intake just didn't settle at all and hadn't managed to find 'her people' despite joining numerous clubs and throwing herself into school life as much as she could. Admittedly this may have improved had the schools not closed but the clubs won't be running in September so that opportunity won't even be there. DD wants to be noticed just now and again, unfortunately, because of her character, she's always likely to be one of the 'overlooked' children (which, whilst I don't think should happen at any school, would be fine if she was happy with it).

I think we're going to try and revisit the private school, albeit with no pupils at the moment, and take it from there. She really liked it when we went before so we'll see what reaction another visit has. I know it will be in an artificial environment but it might remind her what she liked before.

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Bumbers Tue 18-Aug-20 08:56:25

I went to a private school with about 70-80 in a year. We had a girl join us in year 8 or 9 as she had been bullied at her previous state school ... and she became one of my best friends and fit right into our friendship group.

I'm not saying that is what will happen, but it was definitely the right choice for her (and us!).

I can't remember her arriving, but I am sure the school would have put in specific effort to help her meet people, and i suspect that is what would happen here - it isnt a big school where she will be lost in the numbers.

Mountainscalling Tue 18-Aug-20 09:35:33

Bumbers how lovely! That would be more than I could hope for for DD...we just want her to be happy again. I've just reread her Yr 6 report (as the potential new school want to see it - no year 7 report from current school...) and it's as if they're describing a different child.

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