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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:09 am 
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I have a delightful DD who is becoming more and more anxious about her school work and says that everything is too hard, even when she's done brilliantly. She loved pre school and really flourished there. She loved learning and is naturally 'sparky' (not that we're biased :oops: ) However, she has never really liked her primary school constantly asking if it's a school day when she wakes up and often saying she feels sick, has a headache etc and is actually going backwards there. I am concerned about her work, but we can make this up at home. What concerns me more is her confidence and her low esteem as she has recently been moved down for both literacy and numeracy and despite my reassurances that she is with a lovely group she knows- and this upsets me tremendously- that she has been moved from the tops sets and now feels- in her words- that she is 'useless'. (Although she's still in the top phonics group).
I think a further big problem is that the Head has always said she's very bright and now says that they are tracking her as average, totally disregarding the fact that she could do virtually everything on the Birth to Five Achievements Sheets (how ridiculous are all these tick boxes!) before she even started eg counting to twenty, writing some letters etc.
She goes to a school that is rated as excellent, is caring and very high achieving and where her brother did very well. I am beginning to think that this is not the school for her, but am very stressed at the idea of taking such a drastic step as moving her. Also, if I do, I have to decide where to. Unfortunately I am spoilt for choice.
This afternoon we are going to see a tiny school- also rated outstanding- that focuses on the individual and would, I think, build her confidence up. However, there is no parental involvement eg hearing reading, running clubs and for some reason this really bothers me. I am also concerned that we need to find strategies for DD to overcome her anxiety wherever she is and at some stage she'll be with a much bigger group of children than 54! However, it gives verbal feedback and doesn't write all over the children's work in red pen making them feel a failure because they can't spell 'especially' 'delicious' etc Also, whilst it is high achieving, the emphasis is not on tick boxes and becuase it's a small school it can adapt its curriculum.
The second is a much bigger school with lots of opportunities, a little easier to get to, more children to play with, a recorder group (which my daughter loves), but probably more focused on SATS, learning number bonds, tables every night. Obviously I know she needs to do this, but in a more low key way.
I'm very worried about making a mistake in such an important decision and I'm very concerned that DD will make a decision and then change her mind when it will be too late. I have explained this to her, but was particularly worried when she suggested Eeny, Meeny if she couldn't choose!! When I mentioned that we could look at this school she was so excited, fired a million questions and then pronounced that she was 'happy as gold'!
I just feel ill at the idea of taking her out of a school that everyone else is desperately trying to get their children into...
Thanks for reading if you've managed to get this far! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:09 am 
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Ourmam, I feel for you; particularly as I don't feel very qualified to answer this! You're potentially damned if you do and damned if you don't. Have you asked your DD's current teacher/ Headteacher about DD's friendships/ how she is in class? Could it be that she hasn't got a good friendship group? The girls in my DS's class seem very cliquey - you're either in or out. I think there needs to be more intervention on the part of the teachers to help your DD feel more settled within the class.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:29 am 
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Do you know anyone who uses either of these schools?

Firstly, you have two problems at the current school - the academic side and the social side. You want your school move to solve both preferably, but definitely one. In a way you have nothing to lose by moving, as although the current school is popular and apparently "outstanding" (but how old is the last detailed inspection on your outstanding school - outstanding schools get left alone and they may have started to fester) it is not raising your daughter's standards, and also it sounds as though she does not have a happy niche there.

Secondly, you can never be sure on moving whether either of things can be resolved for your daughter, but at least you will have tried!! What do you know about standards at either of the possibilities? Trouble is it is very hard to see the results of small schools. SATs focus - is it such a bad thing? Maybe that way school will get the basics done and you can add the frills (rather than the other way round). And is timestables each night such a bad thing? I'm not sure. Our school is "low key" at the moment on just about everything. I don't know that the end result for me is low key ------ it leaves you with a constantly nagging feeling that your children might not be learning anything, you see them on the occasional maths homework unable to do something they could do two years ago, you struggle not to say " what the ********** have you been doing all day at that school for the last x years - is the teacher rubbish or are you thick?"!!!! I'm not sure that feeling like that is low key.

If there is a school which year on year gets stunning SATs at KS2 at level 5 each year e.g. 60% and above then I would go for it with no hesitation, unless you hear it is because every child in the school has had a private tutor for the last 4 years!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:33 am 
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Thanks FB, I thought no one was going to answer!
She seems to have a nice group of friends but is easily discouraged with her work and now distressingly anxious about it all which is terrible to see. I had a big meeting with the Head and teachers a week ago, but I'm beginning to wonder if the ethos of the school is just not right for her. It's very high achieving and I think she could still learn the same, or indeed more, in a less pushy way. I think it's actually hindering her from achieving her potential as she is too worried about getting everything right and inevitably, with the way they mark written work, she is going to feel disappointed. (She described the red as like blood on her work :( )Will see what this afternoon brings.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:37 am 
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Sorry Mystery, our posts overlapped.
I've actually just spoken to a parent from the school we're visiting this afternoon and she is extremely happy with it. I also spoke to another over the weekend who was similarly pleased.
Her current school gets 60% level five each year...That's the problem, but you're right she isn't thriving so maybe I don't have anything to lose (except sleep :lol: )
I've got to pick her up now so will report back later.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:41 am 
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.


Last edited by Belinda on Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Belinda, you are a brave person to say this and I am posting to say that I do agree with you. My daughter was bullied tremendously at primary school - I think it was the very worst time of my life as she would come out in tears, and we would go through all the horrors of what had happened. I was in bits myself but tried really hard not to show it; to do all the 'right' things: treats, family time, not constantly asking her how it was.

Some 5 years after the event, my DD confided that my attitude had made things so much worse for her, to the extent that she still worries about telling me if things are going badly at school. She says she just wanted to tell me, for me to give her a hug, and then move on. She didn't want me looking for 'solutions', asking her how she felt, giving her false praise, and all the other things I thought looked like seamless good parenting. She had also, of course, seen right through my veneer and could see how horribly worried I was myself.

Like Belinda I don't know you or your daughter ourmam, and I really do sympathise. But if you are able to take anything from my experience please see it as well intentioned. I do feel a little surprised that being moved down a table and getting red pen on her book (though personally I don't do this) would bother a child to that extent unless there are other factors, perhaps, as she is a girl, associated with friendship groups. Maybe someone has said something unkind about her because she isn't on the top table any more. I certainly had that with my youngest one, though I didn't know the implications of which table was which.

Moving schools is very stressful for a child, especially one of 6, and while sometimes it is inevitable, I do wonder if your daughter somehow gets the message that she is moving because she isn't doing well enough (though I know this is not your motivation- she might think it is), that it could add to her already high levels of anxiety.

Like Belinda, I do not imply any criticism with this, which is why I told you of my own abject failure to deal effectively with a related situation in my own family.
Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Yep that certainly is possible, but equally so is the fact that we all feel better and more motivated when we see that we are making progress and being successful at whatever it is. Got a research paper in front of me at the moment to read on this particular topic!! :oops: I am sure we all do our best not to convey our anxiety, and it is very hard to talk about a school move in the right way. The reaction is interesting though - does the child say "I'd love to move because ****" or "I would miss my lovely friends and the yummy school dinners". The response itself is revealing (but can of course vary from day to day depending on who said what to who at school that day).

I saw it perfectly this morning with a child at school who is finally getting to grips with reading and can now see and feel his own progress. He'd had a good experience with a book at home this weekend for the first time in his life I think. He looked, talked, walked, sat, SO DIFFERENTLY.

OMIM, look at the schools in the greatest of detail, and can DD try them out for a day no strings attached?

I said the wrong thing about the 50% level 5s - make that 75% then!! Maybe they have lots of tutoring? Or maybe the experience your DD is getting at the bottom end of the school is way different from the ones they have processed at the top end so far?

However, if level 5s are so common there, presumably the middle groups get level 5s too? Maybe your DD needs to understand that it is a very high achieving school and being in the middle group there (if she is aware of groups and this is causing some of her angst) is as good as being in the top group, or even top of the class, at some other schools.

I do think I would move if there was a good school with space near us. I don't think moving school is as big a deal as one thinks beforehand. New children are arriving at our school all the time, mid-term, and they seem like part of the fabric ( more so than mine!!) after a couple of days.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:13 pm 
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Our posts crossed Amber!! It wasn't intended to say the opposite of yours!! :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:20 pm 
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mystery wrote:
Our posts crossed Amber!! It wasn't intended to say the opposite of yours!! :shock:

It's ok mystery- opinions do vary. I just have a daughter much older who can put me to rights on everything I did wrong. One advantage of teenagers - they do know everything. :)

Just to pick up a couple of your points though- I do not think a 6 year old has the insight to say 'I would love to move schools because...' in any meaningful way. I think this has to be a strong parental decision either way and not a 'choice' offered to a tiny child who has no way of conceptualising the implications.

And yes, children do move schools successfully all the time - 2 of mine have done it. But one needs to have realistic expectations of what the move is going to achieve. The child is still the same child, the parents and home are still the same, and every school has good and bad points.


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