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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:19 pm 
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Not quite sure where to post this so have stuck it in here... and apologies it will be quite long!

DS (Yr6) and DD (Yr3) have been attending a small rural primary (mixed year groups) about 4 miles away from the village in which we live. It is rated good (with some outstanding) by OFSTED.

DS is heading off to a grammar school in a nearby town come September. DD will be starting Yr 4, but has a very small year group in her year - only 9 children, 6 boys, 3 girls (including DD). She will be in a mixed Year 4, Year 5 class of about 27 children. Some of the children will be almost 2 years older than her, and many of the girls, in particular, are far more 'worldly' for want of a better word!

DD is quite young for her age and struggles at times both socially and academically. She has experienced some social problems this year (verbal bullying) with the girls in her year group, which also involved some children in the year above. Her current school acted on it very quickly and it was resolved satisfactorily but there is no guarantee that it won't occur again, given the mix of personalities involved.

As a long shot, I approached our local village school to see if there were any places available for September and, to my surprise, have been offered a place. This school is rated OFSTED outstanding, has an excellent academic record (100% rate for Yr SATS) and is always over-subscribed (30 intake each year).

I have no issues with the current school my children attend - it is not an academic school (SATS result fluctuate widely because of the small intake) but the teaching staff are good and motivated, the pastoral care is excellent, I have a good social network with parents at the school and am also involved with extra-curricular activities there. My DS has thrived there both socially and academically (doing well enough to gain a place at a super-selective with minimal outside input) and up until recently my DD has also been very happy there. DD is not academic and is currently on an IEP so needs some extra input in classwork and her current school has provided this so that she is now almost where she should be.

But, and it is a big but... the limited peer group of only 2 other girl in her year and the issues we have had this year make me think that perhaps a change to a bigger school, just around the corner that she can walk to, might be the better option.

So should I move her or not?

Can anyone, as an impartial outsider, give me some advice as I really don't know what to do for the best!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:24 pm 
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we moved house at this stage and DD left a school we liked very much (but obviously couldn't stay at) - her year group was small and there had been five girls in the year , twins had moved already leaving 3 .... Her new school was all girls (18 of them ) and she loved the company. Both were mixed entry schools and the first was probably more focussed academically.

3 years was plenty of time to be at a school before moving.

Ultimately it cimes down to how you would feel if they said she couldn't go to the new school you like?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:07 pm 
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What does your DD think of the idea? Does she know any children who go to the new school? What steps would the new school put into place to help her settle in? Why don't you make a list of the pros and cons for both options and see which comes out on top.

When a new child comes into a school they are often flavour of the month for a while as they appear new and interesting, so this could boost her confidence if the other children seem to want to get to know her. Do most of the children in the new school live in the village? Having local friends within walking distance of your home will make a big difference as she gets older and is independent enough to walk to school/friends by herself. A larger school would also help her get ready for the transition to secondary school.

It sounds difficult at her current school with only 3 girls. Three is never a great number as at some point two of them will invariably side with each other and the third one will feel left out. But you do know the school and that they are giving your DD the support she needs.

Ultimately, only you and your DD will know what feels right and you can only do what you think is for the best.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Chilled wrote:
It sounds difficult at her current school with only 3 girls. Three is never a great number as at some point two of them will invariably side with each other and the third one will feel left out.


I think that is the sticking point - one of the girls is very dominant and the others tend to follow along. On a one on one basis the girls get on well together, but you introduce the third child and it all turns upside down!

She is going in for a taster afternoon at the potential new school shortly. We do know some of the girls (but not well) through after school activities. Most live within the village and it certainly would be easier for playing with friends after school.

Re the pros and cons: well, on paper it all makes sense to move her but... I just don't know! DD is ambivalent at the moment as she is currently happy but it will all change from September with the new mix of classes.

hermanmunster wrote:
Ultimately it cimes down to how you would feel if they said she couldn't go to the new school you like?


TBH it probably wouldn't bother me that much and it would stop me having to make a decision!

My comfort zone is at the current school DD attends. I'm not sure my face 'fits' so well at our local school so I would always feel a little awkward and on the outside as far as interacting with other parents go. But then, it's not about me, it's about DD and her wellbeing and if this is better served by a larger school (even if I am then a 'social pariah') then so be it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:47 pm 
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We moved house in end of 2006 to an area where our nearest school is way better than the riff raff my DD currently attends. We moved back and forth on the idea of moving her and my DD was very resisitant and didnt want to move. We kept her at her old school, socially everything was perfect and it still is today. However knowing what I know now and the lack in the quality of teaching I really think it was a mistake to keep her there.

Its a hard call but you may just need a visit to new school in your village when the kids are there with your DD, I am sure this will make or break it. Great on paper may not be so great when you get there so its really hard to decide and thats what we were scared of, fear of the unknown more than anything.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:56 pm 
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Yes, go and take a very thorough look at it, first of all without your daughter. See if you can look at work in exercise books, have a good look at playtime etc.

The greater number of girls sounds great, but then if you could get the threesome to work at the old school all might be ok. Some teachers reckon that once children are 8 or so it is possible to work with them on these kind of problems (particularly as they all seem to like one other, but just not function well as a threesome) and even get threesomes to work.

Not an easy one; if you could see that at your local school she was likely to do much better academically personally I'd go for it. Much of that probably depends on which teachers are in the classes she would pass through, rather than the overall OFSTED grade for the school. And the larger pool of potential female friends sounds good.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:20 pm 
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I agree with mystery. As the mother of two girls I think a larger group of potential girl friends is healthier. Strange species us females when it comes to friendship groups. I always encourage my girls to make friends out of school through horseriding, dancing and guides in case the going gets tough at school. I think it is healthy to have friends from outside of school too. Sometimes these friendships are better as they are not with them day in day out!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:14 am 
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i have experience of mixed classes. My dd was put into one in year 3 - her and one other girl were put into a year 4 class - i really feel it took her 2 years to recover work wise. Socially it was very difficult at first for her, verbal bullying from others, fights with the other girl but my dd certainly learnt from this, she is careful about having best friends now and has become a good mixer with the whole class.

I think mixed classes need to be handled by an expert teacher who understands the different maturity levels amongst the kids. knowing what i know now i would not want my dd to go through that again.

The local school sounds like a serious contender, friends within walking distance, good results, certainly worth checking out - good luck :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:32 am 
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tiredmum wrote:
The local school sounds like a serious contender, friends within walking distance, good results, certainly worth checking out - good luck :)

I agree, these are all the things I'd be looking for in a primary, plus the fact that larger numbers facilitate more varied and flexible friendship groups. There would also be a certain 'symmetry' in both DCs starting a new school at the same time. Do check out the Senco at you local school though, if your DD has an IEP you will need to be confident the local school is able to accomodate this appropriately. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:37 am 
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I moved both of my sons, not at the same time. I have to say we had a bit of an unconventional background as they were out of school altogether for large chunks of time, as we did a lot of travelling and I home educated them. When we came back, we found the LA had allocated 3 separate primary schools to our 3 children so we ended up at indie with all 3 so they could be in the same place. To cut a long story short, we moved house and then decided to send our older one to the local school and give it a go - he is very sociable and outgoing - but leave the younger one where he was while we saw how the older one got on.

So DS1 moved after Christmas in Year 4 - big success, never looked back. He is about to leave Year 6 and was chosen to address new Reception parents the other day (120 of them) about the school - he has loved it. He moved from an indie to a very mixed intake primary which was given notice to improve about 8 years ago, and has gone from strength to strength. We love the vibrant and friendly atmosphere and the creativity of the place and the commitment of the teachers to every single child, even though there is a huge social mix and even some rather serious problems with the odd child or 2. We moved DS2 there before he started Year 3 and though he is a totally different character from DS1, it has been fantastic.

For us, the key was how much we love the school. It has nothing to do with results or league tables or Ofsteds because I think all these are worse than the school we came from. It was about a feeling we had when we walked in the doors, that this was a lovely school and we really wanted our children to be part of it. Do you have a gut feeling like that? Because that is what will carry you through any bad times which will come (and they will, even with the best school in the world!) - the feeling that this is The Right Place for your child.

Good luck!


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