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Changing schools WWYD?

(12 Posts)
packamacka Sat 29-Dec-12 19:48:00

Firstly apologies as this will be long. We moved house earlier this year and now we are living a long way from my sons school and I don't know whether to move him to a closer one or leave him where he is. We are not in the UK so there are various factors that are different.

My ds1 is 6 and is in yr1. He has HFA but the school have not been told about this. He has been at his current school since fs1 which is like pre-reception so he is in his 3rd year at this school. He is doing well at school academically and seems to be OK socially at least on the surface.

We now live 23 miles from school one way. I come home most days rather than stay nr school as I also have dd who is 1 and it is easier. Therefore I am often driving nearly 100 miles a day. Shit that sounds ridiculous. Fortunately we are not in the UK and are somewhere petrol is cheaper. In the morning it takes about 40 mins to get there and as school starts early need to leave home just after 7am. Other times it takes about 30 mins.

School where he is, is only primary so he'll have to change at some point and then we'll send him to school B. This is closer to our house - probably will take 15 mins and is close to DH work so he could do drop off some mornings. School B has quite a good learning support dept (for here) should it be needed. It is though a bigger school and has 5 classes per yr rather than 3 where he is now. His current school has a lovely cosy feel and seems very friendly. Teachers such as PE, music etc get to know the kids better than they would in a bigger school.

I put his name down for this Sept but he didn't get in so have put his name down again but I'm not sure what to do. Ds2 has now started in FS2 which is the same as reception so I'd have to move both of them.

On paper I think I should move them now as it is far closer, the younger he starts there the more likely he will be accepted and hopefully make friends. Also for now, we haven't said anything to the school about HFA but as he gets older we may have to or they may notice and say something to us. Schools here can be funny about accepting SN and although they are not supposed to, many refuse to accept children with SN. It would be better to apply to a school without listing SN on the application. If we wait till Yr 7 this may not be the case. From reading here it seems many children find it a huge and difficult step up to secondary school from primary. If we moved him now at least he would know most of his year when he makes that difficult transition. If we wait till then he will have the added hurdle of having to make new friends as the majority of his current classmates would not go to school B.

BUT and its a big but he is happy where he is now. His teacher says he is doing well academically and socially. He has friends that he plays with at break times and asks to play with at pick up time. He has been on numerous playdates to one particular boys house but sadly this boy is leaving in a year or two max. I know it could go wrong at any point and his peers suddenly find they have moved on from him. At the moment they all play chase. His main difficulties are social ones and I certainly see on playdates that he struggles and this will get more obvious as he gets older.
When he went into his second year at his current school the classes were mixed up and he found it quite difficult to settle. Whichever school we choose as we are in international schools they will always be very transient eg 4 new children in his class this year.

Logically I think it makes sense to move next Sept if a place came up but it s the thought of what if I moved him and none of the kids accepted him and he was miserable for the next 5 years when if he'd stayed where he was he could have been happy at least for some of them that makes me change my mind each week about what to do. If any of you are still with me what would you do and why?
Many thanks

auntevil Mon 31-Dec-12 17:32:53

Thought I'd bump for you, but no real practical advice.
We moved DS in year 1 - part way through. This was because his needs were not being met, so a very different scenario.
He was 6 and has easily made friends within his new school.
Can I ask about how you know that school B has a good learning support department?

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 22:13:34

It's usually key stage 2 when the wheels fall off. In whichever school.

Often year 4 or 5 seems to be when it goes wrong, they stumble through year 6, and finally getting some proper help in year 7 when there really is no alternative (bar exclusion).

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 22:20:05

4 new kids/class/year would be the norm in many UK schools (deprived areas especially, also most urban areas, and any school taking services children). Though presumably your schools have smaller classes, being private.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 02-Jan-13 01:05:06

Can you request a staggered start?

packamacka Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:22

Oh just seen these replies

Auntevil I'm not sure why I put that school B has good learning support. Thinking about it now I can't remember what made me think that it was good. It was very visible when I visited the school and I know from talking to therapists that there are other children there who are on the spectrum but beyond that I cannot think why I think it is good.

Class sizes are max 26 in both schools

packamacka Fri 04-Jan-13 20:17:11

sockreturningpixie why did you suggest a staggered start?

madwomanintheattic Fri 04-Jan-13 20:22:07

I have two kids with sn, who have changed schools frequently as we are the ones that have moved.

So, well, there are no guarantees in life. I'd move him. Mine have survived this far... (dd2 is 9 and in her sixth setting - third school fm yr r, ds1 is just 11. Same. Fortunately dd1 is nt, as she is in her eighth school at 12. I lost count of the pre- school stuff!)

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 04-Jan-13 21:20:12

Because often if both schools are willing and the parent/s are able it can help reduce stress.

Basically you do it over 2/3 weeks starting at the soon to be old school but going for afternoon lesson or play then lessons, gradually reducing sessions at old school and increasing sessions at new school and by the end of the 2/3 weeks it can be easier for the dc to identify the new school as " his/ hers" .

It helps if in the run up you can make a transition photo book of things/ staff/ rooms at the new school as well as a photo memory book of special things at the old school. Dc gets to add stuff into the transition book as he learns more about the new school.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 04-Jan-13 21:23:02

It would probably be unlikely to be agreed if you didnt disclose sn but could you disclose and ask about it after he has been offered a place formally?

packamacka Wed 09-Jan-13 08:53:50

That sounds like a fabulous idea sock, unfortunately it wouldn't work in our case due to local restrictions never mind not mentioning sn. Hopefully though it may help someone else's child. Thank you

mrslaughan Wed 09-Jan-13 10:15:55

Are you in Dubai?
I would be very careful moving schools in Dubai, you have a school that is working for your son...our experience of moving was a disaster, should have kept driving.

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