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Would you move your child to a new school?

(26 Posts)
MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 10:34:17

Sorry, this is likely to be long but don't want to drip feed and I haven't a clue what to do.

DS1 is 5 and in year 1. When we made the initial school application we put down our village school and the school in the next village. No child from our village had ever not got into the village school. In DS's year, there were 6 who didn't get in. I was devastated, especially as he'd been to the village preschool and was happy and settled with his friends. He was also familiar with the village school as the preschool took them over to have their lunch there.

He suffers from separation anxiety and I had worked really hard to make sure the transition to school was going to be as smooth as possible for him. I appealed but lost. We had meetings with the school about how to involve the children who didn't get a place in school/community life. Unfortunately the school didn't seem very interested.

It massively affected me and it has taken up until now-ish to get over it, which I realise is a bit pathetic.

Anyway, I've had a call today from the village school offering DS a place and I really don't know what to do.

He seems happy and settled in his current school but we don't live in the village so I have to drive him to school and to every event, whereas pretty much everyone else in his class lives in the village so walk to everything.

He sometimes comes home saying no-one plays with him but I'm not sure how true that is as his school report last year said he was popular.

His current school will be doubling in size over the next few years to accommodate all the new houses being built in that village.

There is therefore no guarantee that DS2 would get a place when he starts school in 5 years time (DS1 would just be going into year 6). But village school has changed their oversubscription criteria beginning from next September so it's unlikely DS2 would get a place there either, unless DS1 was already there. DS2 also wouldn't be able to go to the village preschool as I wouldn't be able to get him there (start and end times the same as DS1's current school).

Village school is outstanding, although headteacher is leaving at the end of this year. Focus seems to be academic. Current school is good, but headteacher is fantastic and focus is very much on letting the children grow and wanting them to enjoy school. Both feed into the same secondary school.

DH thinks we should let DS1 decide, but he would leave DS where he is. I think we should listen to what he wants, but he's 5 so it's not fair to put such a big decision on him. If we move him to village school and he doesn't like it, he won't be able to go back to current school as they have a waiting list. We only really have a day or so to decide as village school have others on the waiting list too.

Fwiw I moved schools in year one and it massively affected my confidence (but we also moved 50 miles away). DH moved schools in year one (actually from village school to DS1's current school) and loved it.

I really don't know what to do and am feeling quite stressed about it all. What would you do? What else do I need to consider?

Please help!

ArcheryAnnie Mon 03-Oct-16 10:55:00

This is a really hard one, but I would say that as your son gets older, the value of a school he can walk to, and a friendship circle in walking distance, will only increase. So this is in favour of the village school near you.

I absolutely agree that it should not be his decision, but have you thought about talking to him about it anyway? In the "I am thinking about" way, not "what would you like" way.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 03-Oct-16 11:44:58

We did move ds in yr 1. We weren't sure because he was happy, but his sister had already moved for other reasons and we thought that the new school might suit him better and it makes life much easier having them in one school. When we heard that there was a place we decided to accept it and he surprised us by being delighted that he could move. He seems more relaxed and happier so definitely the right move. Friends takes a bit longer as you aren't all thrown in in the same way as reception. I would float the idea with him. Try a taster session and judge his mood.

It has to be your decision as parents and an academically pushy school doesn't suit everyone (we moved ds away from a pushy school because although he is v able he was getting stressed by lots of testing). You do though need him to be on board with the move too.

It is tricky with the younger sibling. It sounds as if you might find yourself in the same position again, or worse with neither school having a place. I think that you have to throw this into the mix too. How would ds1 get to his current school in yr6 if you have to take ds2 to another school in a different village? Or if you decide to leave him can / would you move closer?

everythingis Mon 03-Oct-16 11:49:17

Move him - for the sibling link and proximity. Easier to make friends surely if they love across the road and they will remember him from pre school I imagine

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 12:08:36

Thank you so much for your replies. We are going to ask him what he thinks about it and will definitely listen to what he has to say.

A year ago, I'd have moved him without question. At the end of last year I'd have kept him where he is without question. But this year, the amount of building work going on at the school is bothering me; the noise is ridiculous and it goes on all day.

They've lost half the playground to a building site, so the outdoor space has been massively reduced.

Drop off and pick up are absolute chaos with the construction lorries for the school, plus those for the housing development down the road and all the parents and children trying to get in. I have said to DH that it is only going to be a matter of time before there's an accident and it worries me hugely. The lorries regularly go up on the pavement to get past.

I think DS would benefit hugely from having friends in the village. At the moment he can't even have friends round for tea unless their parents can drive them as I don't have space in the car.

I'm just so worried about making the wrong decision and it affecting him badly.

Those who moved their children, how long did it take for them to settle and did the other children include them straight away?

lisaneedsarest Mon 03-Oct-16 12:18:42

I've moved my kids a couple of times and it only took a couple of weeks to settle, it will be made easier if he already has some familiar faces at the new school.
From another perspective, I moved house while in reception but stayed at the school I was at, it was a bus ride away, dm didn't drive. I was happy there so my mum didn't want to move me. However I never had any local school friends to play out with and play dates after school were few and far between. I always wished I lived nearer my school friends and hated the long journey there and back.

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 13:56:00

DH is happy to move DS if DS wants to move. I've spoken to the village school and they've said we can go and have another look round as well. They seem to understand what a big decision it is now. I just don't know what to do. The thought of taking him away from his friends when he's finally settled breaks my heart. I remember being the new girl and it was awful. I don't want to put him through that. Otoh it would make all our lives a lot easier.

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 03-Oct-16 14:13:11

He's only been away from his pre school friends for a year. He knows the school.
He won't really be properly new.
He can still have contact with YR friends.
Having had to move a slightly older dc I'd say it would be best to move. Short term it could be hard but long term it will be best for everyone.

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 14:18:32

Thanks giddy.

I think maybe what's also worrying me is that DS2 is only 3 weeks old so DS1 has had a lot of change and upheaval recently, although he's coped very well. School has been the one constant thing so I'm not sure whether to change that as well would be too much for him. Will see what he thinks later on about whether he wants to stay put or move. I never thought this would be such a difficult decision.

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 03-Oct-16 14:28:44

Can you take him in tomorrow when the Y1 are there? See if any familiar faces pop up?

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 14:36:43

Yes I am going to see if I can take him in this week and will talk to him tonight. We might walk up to the school this afternoon so that he can see it. We've kind of avoided it in the last year because DS would ask why he couldn't go to that school, which was a difficult question to answer without getting upset.

CaptainSnort Mon 03-Oct-16 14:46:31

It's a difficult decision, but my opinion is you should move him.

In the short term it will be difficult, but the long term benefits for him as he gets older, and for your second child, are massive.

And presumably you don't want to be driving your children to school for the next 11 years. That's a long time.

LIZS Mon 03-Oct-16 14:50:33

I would. Do you still mix with friends who go there?

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 15:08:10

Yes captain that would be a huge benefit of moving him, the thought of having to drive to everything for the next 11 years is a bit crap!

Also DS2 would be pretty much guaranteed a place at the village school as we live much closer now (moved last year) and DS1 would be there.

Lizs we've kept in touch with one or two people but not really as it was so difficult for us being isolated from the school community. We tried to get involved in the current school community instead.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 03-Oct-16 15:33:49

Ah, Millie, with the construction and the friends-round-for-tea only if they drive stuff - I would really lean towards moving him.

I moved mine in reception, and never regretted it.

SolomanDaisy Mon 03-Oct-16 15:40:54

I'd definitely move him. Friendships aren't fixed at this age and having kids he can go and knock for will be much better as he gets older. (Though I have a very outgoing 5 year old who never worries about not knowing anyone, so if your DS has a different personality I can see why it might be trickier.)

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 15:44:05

Thanks Annie, I think we are leaning towards moving him, as it will make all our lives easier in the long run, but he's just so happy and settled at the moment so I'm not sure he'll find it easy. And the school he's at is really lovely and suits him well. I keep having to remind myself that it will change with all the building work and the increased number of pupils over the next few years.

He says he doesn't remember anyone from preschool but that might change if he sees them. We are going to talk to him about it tonight so will report back.

I'd just hate to move him to the village school and then him not settle, but not be able to move him back to his current school.

MillieMoodle Mon 03-Oct-16 15:49:10

Thanks Soloman. It would be much better in future if he had friends he could knock for. And we could still stay in touch with his current school friends through football.

I think I'm hesitating because we have spent the last 18 months convincing ourselves that his current school is the right one for him and that everything would be OK, which we are happy it is.

Also DH lived in this village growing up, started at the village school then moved and went to DS's current school. He had friends at school and friends in the village, but the village was a lot smaller in those days and I think children probably played outside a lot more so got to know each other.

I honestly never thought this would be such a difficult decision!

hollie11 Wed 05-Oct-16 15:06:10

Did you make a decision yet MillieMoodle?

Roseformeplease Wed 05-Oct-16 15:11:51

FWIW I moved schools a lot before I was 11 (overseas postings) and it made no real difference. We moved our two from one primary to another at ages 5 and 7 and they were not bothered. We just kept telling them all the positive things about the move and they still say them back to us, now that they are teens.

I think, at that age, he will follow your lead. I think the move sounds like the best idea.

MillieMoodle Wed 05-Oct-16 16:12:10

We are leaning towards moving him, I think we probably will. We've asked to go and have a look round on Friday afternoon and are waiting for them to let us know if that will be ok.

DS says he doesn't want to move but I am hoping that once he's seen the school again, he'll change his mind. His little friend who is already there is beside herself with excitement that he might join her class!

It will make life easier for all of us in the long run if he moves.

MillieMoodle Fri 07-Oct-16 22:07:11

Oh dear. We went to see the village school today (hoping it would make our decision for us) and whilst it was ok, the atmosphere is nothing like DS's current school. His current school is happy, friendly and encourages the children to be who they are. Village school is very quiet, staff didn't seem very friendly and children didn't seem very enthusiastic. It's hard to explain but we felt the emphasis is very much on academic achievement and discipline, whereas current school's focus is on making learning fun and encouraging the children to grow in all areas, which suits DS perfectly.

We are now not sure whether the benefits of the village school are enough to justify moving DS when he's so happy and settled where he is.

We have to decide by Tuesday at the latest really as village school have others on the waiting list who would take the place if we don't.

I am going round in circles with the pros/cons of each and getting nowhere!

Piratepete1 Fri 07-Oct-16 22:39:03

There's a lot to be said to finding the right school for your child over what is easier. My DD goes to a private school so there is no catchment. Parents drive up to 30 miles a day to take them to and from the school. We never have any trouble with playdates, its just slightly more effort. Same goes for events at school. My DD has lots of friends in our village that she also plays with - no one seems to care that she doesn't go to the same school as them. Choose the school that suits your DS the most, the rest will fall into place.

MillieMoodle Fri 07-Oct-16 22:59:06

Thanks Pirate. How did your DD meet other children in the village?

I think we're leaning towards keeping him where he is now. We know the school suits him. My biggest worry would be moving him and it not being the right place. I'm not convinced enough that the village school is right for him. My head is saying the obvious choice is the village school and I think he'd settle well but something is holding me back from accepting the place. I'm just not sure what it is.

Piratepete1 Sat 08-Oct-16 20:37:40

You have to listen to your gut feeling about schools. My DD goes to lots of local after school and weekend clubs so gets to meet and make friends with all the local children.

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