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Changing schools after only 1 month in year 7?

(46 Posts)
ChimpanzeesAreFunny Tue 06-Oct-20 22:12:13

Hi all,

Back in March we were offered our 6th choice school. We didn’t really want it and didn’t expect to get it but it was our back-up on-the-doorstep OFSTED unsatisfactory School. However, it was an unlucky year for us and we ended up with it.
After several appeals to all other schools on the list and several we didn’t even apply to we didn’t get anywhere and we’re stuck with 6th choice. DD really didn’t want to go but she had to and after some persuasion she accepted it might be alright and what people were saying about the place was exaggerated.

DD started there in September. Earlier today we got a phone call from one of the schools we are on the waiting list for saying a place had become available. We have 10 working days to accept the place (ie we have to accept by 20th October). Theoretically this means that if we accept then DD would probably start after half term.
DD has settled at 6th choice and says it’s ok. DD seems to like her form bubble and the lessons.There are certain things DD doesn’t like about it and seems to complain a lot about teachers and people messing about in lessons. (Don’t know whether this is just a normal secondary school complaint?) There have already been a few incidents at the school regarding bullying (thankfully not DD) and although the school might be ok right now, it’s the long term - GCSEs - that concern me the most. The school offers mostly BTEC, only double science, no language or humanities unless you get X mark in year 9 tests, and max number of GCSEs they can take is 7 and that’s only if you don’t take BTECs.

The school that has offered a place isn’t the best results wise and is OFSTED RI but offers a better GCSE range and extra-curricular that DD is interested in. They also do a lot more in school eg trips and a range of clubs unlike our 6th choice. There are a couple of children from DDs primary who ended up there and from what their parents are saying (some who previously had DC in our 6th choice) low level disruption is rare, teachers are more supportive of pupils and the whole school has a “can do” ethos. Disadvantage is that DD will have to get 2 busses to offered school.

Personally, me and DH are in favour of moving DD. Plus moving DD means DS will get a place next year.
DD unsure but I’m not getting a straight answer out of her at the minute as to why - might be because she’s settled in or doesn’t want to be new again or might be because of the journey? I don’t know.

Would you accept the place? Or it is to late now? Would you just say “this is for the best so just go” or spend the next week trying to convince her or just let her stay where she’s at if she’s kind of happy with it?

OP’s posts: |
Generallybewildered Tue 06-Oct-20 22:31:25

Take the place. You will regret it if you don’t.

Bunnybigears Tue 06-Oct-20 22:33:43

Take it, worst comes to the worst and DD absolutely hates it im sure there will still be a place for her to go back to 6th choice school.

Purp1e Tue 06-Oct-20 22:39:50

Take the place. You don’t want to be sitting here in 5 years time saying “if only DD had gone to school X rather than staying at 6th choice, she could have gone to X college rather than Y college”.
Some gentle persuasion will do the trick, you managed it with 6th choice school, you can do it again!

AChickenCalledDaal Tue 06-Oct-20 22:40:22

I think you are right to be concerned about the GCSEs. The choices do sound limiting and not remotely aspirational. Eight is a more normal minimum - if they are only allowed seven she'll have hardly any choice. Sounds like they are settling for what they can get the kids through safely, rather than getting them to aim high.

And although some degree of disruption is depressingly common, it's quite early in the year for year 7 to be getting disruptive. Hormonal year 8 and 9s, maybe, but not year 7.

FishChipsandPeas Tue 06-Oct-20 22:53:16

Take the place and run like the wind from 6th school!
You’ve been after this for the past 6 months, why give up now when it’s been handed to you on a plate? Absolutely go for it.

Your DD is only a month into year 7, that’s nothing in the life of being at school, she will make new friends.

Don’t make decisions based on bus routes. This year it’s 2 busses, next year could be 3 and the year after just 1. They are forever changing and should never sway a decision on a better education.

Get out of the school that’s offering very limited opportunities and get to the one that’s offering better ones.

So she might not like it? Oh well, just go back to 6th choice school, it sounds like there will be a place even if you do leave, it’s not a school I would want for my DC.
You will regret it otherwise and down the line your DD might also regret it.

Youre the adult with the view of the world and knowledge your DD doesn’t have about what is and isn’t needed in the world, don’t let silly things like friendships and busses get in the way of education.

SallyTimms Tue 06-Oct-20 23:02:15

OP we are in a similar situation. DC has place at local high school which is in special measures but making no real.progrwss with change. It is dire, yet DC has settled there, the friendships and confidence have soared there... But teaching is poor, disruption in lessons is rife so pressure is on to keep up a high standard of work to be streamed into a higher ability / less disruptive class.

We are scraping our limited savings, my mum is looking to throw money in and look at a private school. We're torn, do we take dv out of a poor school where they have settled, at a huge debt to us, or leave them happier in a poor school?

I hope you make a decision that is best for your dad

SallyTimms Tue 06-Oct-20 23:03:05

Your dd not your dad! Hope she is happy and settled wherever she goes.

catnoir1 Tue 06-Oct-20 23:10:34

Take the place.

HairySandwiches Tue 06-Oct-20 23:12:57

Your right to be concerned. If there’s problems happening now, what are they going to be like later on? If the GCSE options are limited then your DD is going to have limited opportunities later on.

From someone who is desperately awaiting grammar school results or a huge scholarship to independent schools with everything crossed knowing it might not work out all just to avoid 3 similar schools like your 6th choice - all unsatisfactory, all with low level disruption, knife crime, gang cultures, no ambition and limited opportunities, and if it all fails then will be sitting with everything crossed for any school on list of RI schools,


You’d be mad not to. I’d be taking it tomorrow if I was you. I think a bit of persuasion is necessary. If it’s the bus routes that are causing the problem then do the bus routes one day with your DD and show her it’s nothing to be bothered about. Like a PP said, they change all the time. There more unpredictable than the weather.

Please dont waste this opportunity because an 11 year old isn’t sure about it!

CrapSouzette Tue 06-Oct-20 23:15:31

Interesting that you’d choose to move her to an Ofsted ‘Requires Improvement’ school. (When you make a point of noting 6th choice as Ofsted ‘unsatisfactory’. Have I misread that?

Notfeelinggreattoday Tue 06-Oct-20 23:26:47

Are people still snobby about btech's, in certain subjects they make sense and pretty sure if you score well they are equivalent to gcse and college etc look at them the same
That being said you think she will fair better at the other school so should prob encourage her to move by explaining the pro's
Would she be allowed to
Visit or is covid putting stop to that

AldiAisleofCrap Tue 06-Oct-20 23:28:42

Definitely move her it’s only been a month.

Pinkchocolate Tue 06-Oct-20 23:30:23

Take the place.

mmmmmmcheeeesssseeee Tue 06-Oct-20 23:35:44

So let’s get this straight and put a bit of perspective on this.....

6th choice
- Unsatisfactory (is this a blip of something that’s been going on forever? Regardless, it’s not good)
- Disruption in lessons (not good for learning and if there’s disruption in year 7 that isn’t being stopped it’ll only get worse)
- Limited GCSE choices (you need these to get a job or into 6th form/college - the standard offer these days is 8 for most schools)
- Limited opportunities
Plus side, your DD is happy and it’s on the door step (I’m assuming this means your DD can walk there?)

Offered school
- RI (this is the old satisfactory)
- better GCSE options (are they offering 8? Can they choose humanities and language if they want without passing a test? If yes then this school is automatically better)
- more opportunities (more chance to experience things, find what they like/don’t like, potentially discover something that really motives then to get good results)
- parents who like the school (big plus, it means they are more likely to be supportive of school decisions, supporting their DC and getting actively involved in the school)
- a good ethos (can do to me means aspirational and this is the type of school you want)
Bad side your DD has to get on 2 busses (not really a big deal and most DC actually enjoy the time on the bus socialising with friends)

Hmm, tricky one. I’m swayed towards the offered school. It seems to have more pros than cons form where I’m sitting.

Oh and you have a DS who will get a place at the offered school rather than 6th choice. Even if you don’t want to put it at the top of the list of your DS you have a new 6th choice and can avoid your current 6th choice.

Take the offered school. It sounds so much better. And you get to avoid the same hassle next year with your DS as you have had this year with your DD. If you don’t take it then someone else will.

middleager Tue 06-Oct-20 23:38:40

My son was offered the chance to move to a 3rd choice school after a week in Y7 at our 6th choice. We did not take the chance as he appeared settled.

We weren't sure what to do as the school had bullying/poor results and choices. Six months in and it worsened, lots of low level disruption.

My son was offered a place at his 1st choice. This time he wanted to go.
We took it and he's very happy in a great school in Y10. His previous school took a further nosedive.

Only regret was not taking it sooner. A month is nothing in comparison to years.

PastMyBestBeforeDate Tue 06-Oct-20 23:41:05

Do you think her reticence might be around being the 'new girl' even though it's only a few weeks? That she's going to have to integrate just as everyone else has settled in?

Dahlietta Wed 07-Oct-20 09:20:39

From what you've said, I would move her. My only reservation is that the school that has offered a place doesn't sound that great either. She's at your 6th choice school - what number was this other one? Is there a chance that a place could come up at an even better one? You don't want to move her more than once.

HandfulofDust Wed 07-Oct-20 09:48:58

Bloody hell I'd definitely take it. It will take her a few weeks to settle in but she'll be at the new school for 5 years so a few weeks disruption is worth it. It would be different if the current school had turned out to be wonderful but there's already bullying and disruption in class.

NotDonna Wed 07-Oct-20 10:09:12

This new option sounds better but not amazingly better. Could you call the 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice schools and double check they don’t happen to have a place? Where she may be on their waiting lists? It may be worth hanging in at 6th choice for a much better option in a few weeks. If there’s little/no chance of the other schools, then yes I’d move her to the marginally better option.

RedskyAtnight Wed 07-Oct-20 10:18:11

The main thing putting me off the move would be the 2 buses. How frequent are they? How long will the journey (realistically) take? If DD is happy for now, I'd be very tempted to hang on for a waiting list place at a school you like better (do you know how likely that is?)

lanthanum Wed 07-Oct-20 12:36:13

Agree with NotDonna that it might be worth checking where you are on the waiting list for the better schools. If you move her now, and then a place comes up at one of them, you might regret it. Also, if you've got to the top of a waiting list for a school that you're obviously some distance away from, there may not be very many on the waiting list. It's possible that if you sit out year 7 and nothing comes up at the better schools, they will still/again have a place available in year 8, if you apply afresh for a move.

Only 7 GCSEs sounds very unlikely, given that schools are measured on pupils' performance in 8 - perhaps you only counted double science once. With regard to the restrictions on doing languages/humanities, that does at least mean that the teaching groups for those subjects will not have the bottom-end kids in. Double science is enough to progress to A-level.

ChimpanzeesAreFunny Wed 07-Oct-20 15:03:00

Oh wow! Lots of replies and great advice. Thank you so much everyone.

I do agree with a lot of you that DD will make new friends, I'm not so concerned about this but I think DD might be and maybe your right @PastMyBestBeforeDate. I shall have to interrogate ask her later.

@Notfeelinggreattoday - I'm definitely not snobby about BTECs having done a few myself then did a BTEC level 3 at college alongside NVQ and apprenticeship. If DD decided in a few years that BTECs were for her then I would be fully supportive. However, I don't like the fact that at 6th choice school she would be limited to only BTECs if she doesn't get X mark in a test. I believe she should be able to, and have the opportunity to, make up her own mind about the qualifications she gets rather than being told what she can and cant do.

@mmmmmmcheeeesssseeee - you put that very nicely and succinctly for me. I think I needed that. Thank you.

@Dahlietta - Its not a school we originally put down. We were tied between putting offered school, which DD did originally like more, and 6th choice down as 6th choice but opted for our current 6th choice to guarantee a place. I have spent months regretting it. But on offers day we wouldn't have got a place anyways so we would have still ended up with our 6th choice and been in the same position unfortunately.

@NotDonna and @lanthanum - You make a good point. I shall do that. Hadn't thought about it. Thanks.
In regards to the GCSEs, no its 7, I queried this last year, they can only do 8 if they are in top set and there's lots of other conditions attached, and its why it went at the very bottom of the list with the hope it wouldn't happen. Unfortunately it had to go down because its out catchment school and we didn't want to be left without a place.

OP’s posts: |
Namechange8471 Wed 07-Oct-20 15:06:56

Hey op, we recently moved our DD to another secondary school. We moved to a new area in August and had to accept a school 4 miles away.

We got an offer just two weeks after DD started the new school, like yours she was a bit unsure about ‘starting again’, however she is not settled and loves it, she’s even made 2 new friends!

Go for it op! The only negative is the money we’ve spent in uniforms!

MostDisputesDieAndNoOneShoots Wed 07-Oct-20 15:12:39

As a secondary school teacher of many years standing my advice is to move her. Low aspiration schools pull down even the keenest and brightest. I’ve seen it happen and the kids don’t reach their full potential. The GCSE thing will be erring on the side of caution for their numbers for OFSTED.... and even doing that they aren’t in OFSTEDs good books. For what it’s worth my husband moved schools a term into year 7 (they moved house) and he was absolutely fine. Made new friends fine. Equally I remember a couple of girls starting late in year 7- after Christmas and February half term- and both slotted right in no problem. Good luck!

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