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Move schools for year 6? One DC so unhappy.

36 replies

Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 08:56

Hi - dilemma here. DC have always been relatively happy at primary. There have been a few changes over the last couple of years we have not been happy with but on balance, decided to stick with it.

When new classes were announced a couple of weeks back, one DC has been separated from all of her friends. They’ve gone from two year five and two year six classes to three mixed year five/year six due to falling numbers and split the children accordingly, roughly 6-7 girls from her year in each class. Not one of this group is her friend. Sounds crazy but it’s almost as though the 10-12 girls she is friends with are 50-50 in class 6A or 6B and she is alone in class 6C.

DC is obviously very upset and despite our best efforts to reassure her, does not want to go back to school like this, split from friends for her final year. Tried to talk to the school and ask how this had happened but to no avail and told that the welfare team could help her if she was struggling. She’s never struggled! She got an outstanding report, is exceeding in all areas and has never been a bother. I honestly think she suffers from ‘quiet, well-behaved girl’ syndrome, ie they thought she’d be ok anywhere as she generally gets on well with people.

What they don’t see is the ten year old who may put on a brave face at school but is now crying herself to sleep at night as she doesn’t understand. She’s switched on enough to know that our reassurances are platitudes and it has been a very odd mix up, objectively speaking.

So - do we vote with our feet and move entirely as the school are not at all receptive to comment or criticism? Or make her tough it out? She has told me - in her words - that she doesn’t want to move schools but she doesn’t want to go to that school and be sad everyday. Breaks my heart. FWIW other DC happy and with friends so that to consider too.

TIA

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LetItGoToRuin · 28/07/2022 10:08

It is a great shame, and I do feel for your DD. However, I don't think I'd move schools over it if you're otherwise happy with her education, and you have another child at the school who is also doing well. Your family would lose out more than the school, and it wouldn't 'teach the school a lesson' really.

I'm sure she will settle in class, and still see her friends at break/lunch times.

Also, I think you can use the summer to help her to accept the situation. She's old enough for you to be honest about it, to say you understand how she feels and that it does seem unfair, but that there is unfortunately nothing you can do. Then, instead of making her 'tough it out', you will just need to remind her of the positives, even if they are not very obvious (additional friends to make which is good practice for going into secondary, is her teacher or classroom nicer than the others? Be inventive!) Also, remind her that it's just for a year, and encourage her to find her inner strength and make the best of it.

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SamPoodle123 · 28/07/2022 13:04

Have you tried asking to make a switch so she has friends in class?

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minipie · 28/07/2022 13:21

How much time does she spend in her class by y6?

My DD is going into y5 and they are in cross year sets for maths and english and obviously free to play with whoever at break times. So relatively little time in her actual class. If the same is true for your DD maybe she could be persuaded it’s not the end of the world?

Alternatively I would look into seeing if she can change classes. Are the three new classes equal in size? If hers is slightly bigger by some chance then it shouldn’t be an issue to move her. If hers is smaller or they are equal it’s tricky as someone else would have to move. But perhaps they may know of someone else in another class who is unhappy with the split and would like to swap? Worth asking. You may have to say you are considering leaving over this, to get traction with the school… bit of a nuclear option.

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Itiswasitis90 · 28/07/2022 13:31

I think its bad form on the schools behalf to split her from all her friends. I do think moving schools is worse as she won't know anyone at all.

The only positive I can see is that it's a good opportunity for her to build her confidence by making extra friends. When she goes high school she will likely be split from her friends anyway.

I say this as my daughter is the same age and will be facing this issue next year when she goes to a different high school from most of her friends and anyone she does know will be put in different classes. My daughter has had the same group of small friends since reception and I'm trying to actively encourage her to branch out as I know its going to be tough going to high school.

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grapehyacinthisactuallyblue · 28/07/2022 13:31

It happens, and they will be ok in the end most of the time. I don't think moving is the answer, unless she wants to. And according to you, she doesn't.
She can make new friends, she can still she her friends during breaks.

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Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 13:54

Thanks for the replies.
@LetItGoToRuin - two more DC who are ok, one would likely be fine with a move, one less so. Not trying to teach the school a lesson, rather point out the unfairness/unnecessary injustice. If there was an explanation for why that would help. But no - head has a blanket ‘no changes’ policy. No real positives over and above the other classes to highlight either!
@SamPoodle123 - yes, asked more than once and fobbed off both times.
@minipie - they very much stay in class groups, no sets or anything like that. I have asked for a switch but was told no.
@Itiswasitis90 - that’s what the school said but she has loads of friends in the other two classes. It’s almost incredible that the split has fallen as it has. Even DC commented, as did her friends, that she’d been separated from everyone!
@grapehyacinthisactuallyblue - agreed, she would just have a much better time if she were with her friends. It seems so unfair and badly thought through that her core group is in one or the other classes and she is out on her own. Of course she can make the best of it, but she will always know it could have been different/better. There is a year 6 residential that is meant to be good but she doesn’t want to go now because of the class splits. Also - not sure how that will even work with the year 5s.

You know as a parent when you can resolve most things for your children, or at least help, and in this situation if feels like there is nothing I can do? If she wasn’t so upset I wouldn’t be as worried but she’s devastated a few weeks on, despite our efforts to chivvy her along. She loves school usually as well. I don’t want this to be the start of a slippery slope.

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pastaandpesto · 28/07/2022 14:00

It sounds like a dick move by the school and I'm not surprised you are upset.

But I wouldn't dream of uprooting your other two DC over this! That's madness! What of one of them ends up having an awful time in the new school? What then?

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pastaandpesto · 28/07/2022 14:03

You are basically saying to the younger DCs that they have to give up their friends AND MIVE SCHOOLS because their older sister isn't in the same class as her mates!

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Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 14:05

@pastaandpesto - I know, it’s rubbish!

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minipie · 28/07/2022 14:10

Yes, moving your other two DC would really not be on if they are happy and have friends. Moving this DC doesn’t really make sense either - you would be moving her because of being separated from her friends in class (but still seeing them in playtime), to somewhere where she won’t see them all day?

I can see however that you might consider threatening to move to try to achieve a class move - but privately knowing you won’t actually do it - but you may feel silly if it doesn’t work and you end up backing down.

In your shoes I would try to gather more information - are the three class sizes equal? is there anyone else unhappy with their slot? and see if you can use that to argue for a switch. But ultimately, it is unfortunate but not the end of the world. She will be switching schools in y7 anyway I presume.

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MermaidSwimming99 · 28/07/2022 14:10

Having had issues with a child in year6, it wasn’t until I couldn’t actually get her into school 4-5x on time for register that suddenly they started listening to me as it would impact their ofstead rating on attendance. I had been bending over backwards trying to get my child into school, when a very simple adjustment made a huge difference. If your DD really struggles, support her and keep advocating for her, if it gets to the point she’s school refusing they maybe more open to help with a class move as a “reasonable adjustment”

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Snargle · 28/07/2022 14:15

Even if you had just the one child, the planned move wouldn't really solve anything. They would see even less of their friends and potentially end up in a school where they knew no one at all.

To move siblings as well because "DC1 isn't in the same class as their friends" is sure to breed resentment. And what if one of the siblings is then unhappy in the new school? You'd be left with the option of either moving again or facing accusations of unfairness because "You let DC1 move! Why not me?"

Much better to keep all 3 where they are and work on resilience.

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TheYearOfSmallThings · 28/07/2022 14:19

Realistically if you were going to move her you needed to do it before term ended. The school offices are asleep now until September so it would be a very uncertain summer for her, wondering what will happen.

If she has secure long term friendships at school, I would work on strengthening those over the summer. Encourage activities and meetups, allow your DD to invite school friends home. That way the friendships are more likely to continue despite being separated.

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Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 14:21

@MermaidSwimming99 - I am worried it will come to that. She’s gone from loving school to not wanting to go in even for the transition day they had the last week of term - finally got her there in floods of tears, it was such a shame. She is usually not like this at all and that’s the hard bit. But she can see it’s unfair, knows I have tried to challenge but to no avail and now we are stuck. I agree with the PP who say to leave wouldn’t be fair on the other DC. It def wouldn’t be fair on one of them, the other wouldn’t make too much difference due to age but would still be disruptive. I just don’t want my lovely, positive, happy go lucky child to have a crap year because of the list of names she happened to end up on.

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Dinoteeth · 28/07/2022 14:22

Op moving her to a school where she doesn't know anyone isn't going to help. Unless there a nearby school where she'll already have lots of friends.

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balzamico · 28/07/2022 14:23

You could make your feelings known to the Head of governors if you feel you are not being heard by the Head. That does seem really unfair - my dd had similar when given forms for secondary school and was beside herself, thankfully the school changed it for her.
You should be able to find contact details for the Chair of Governors on the school website.

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Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 14:23

Meant to say above that in other years, all children have been asked to list three or four friends they would like to be with next year. Didn’t happen this year 🤯

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minipie · 28/07/2022 14:25

Thats’s pretty shit and a good reason why they ought to be more flexible about making a change this year. But you will still need to solve the uneven numbers problem as they won’t want to make the class sizes different.

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onanotherday · 28/07/2022 14:25

I think to move schools may cause her more stress. I would ask for a meeting with HT and chair of governors.

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Shortandsweet20 · 28/07/2022 14:27

Surely if you move her schools she will end up somewhere where she has no friends? She will still see them at lunch time and break times etc?

Have you mentioned it to the school? I've had this with my class being mixed but they do not have social time in the classroom really and in a years time she could end up in classes with no one she knows at secondary.

I'd leave her where she is

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SausageinaBun · 28/07/2022 14:27

It might be worth telling the school that you're considering moving all 3 of your children as that would be a £12k hit to the school next year. With falling numbers, the school would be stupid to ignore you.

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Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 14:28

@Snargle - you’re right. We can’t go on as we are though either. It’s untenable.
@TheYearOfSmallThings - I know. I wish I’d realized this sooner.
@Dinoteeth - there is another school locally where she would know some DC. They have space.
@balzamico - I have thought about that as it all seems to start and end with a very defensive head. Do governors work over the summer though?

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Unexpecteddrivinginstructor · 28/07/2022 14:28

Can you home educate if it doesn't work out? At least you know she will be in a different school for yr7. Do be aware though that some secondaries split them from all their firends. I would see how it goes for the first term or so and decide from there.

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LastThursdayInJuly · 28/07/2022 14:28

I’d move her.

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Wartywendy · 28/07/2022 14:35

@Unexpecteddrivinginstructor - I suppose so, I don’t know! I could try rather than have her have some kind of mental health crisis.
@LastThursdayInJuly - do you mean move just her? Or all three? I have thought about moving just her but that is hard logistically (could do it though).

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