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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:01 am
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I am new to this forum but have been visiting for some time and have found the postings both interesting and informative. I now hope that someone can offer me some advice as I am very worried about my DD.

My DD took the 11 plus last October and passed to go to a GS. We chose the school over our local comprehensive because of its size – only 75 girls (3 classes) in each year compared with a 240 intake at our local secondary school. We felt that our daughter would thrive in the environment of the GS as she is a bright girl and had always been at the top of her primary. We hoped that the GS would give our DD the challenge that she needed to “academically flyâ€


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:41 am 
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I understand what you're saying about the long school day and it will affect her, but she will get used to it. She's just had six weeks holiday and even going back to primary school takes it out of them for the first few weeks.

When I was secondary age I used to travel an hour each way to school - you get used to it, they all do!

My biggest concern for your daughter is her reluctance to use the school bus. A bit of a catch 22 situation has arisen here. She doesn't want to catch the bus because she doesn't know anyone, she doesn't know anyone because she doesn't catch the bus. She needs to be encouraged to be independent. I know you're trying to help by driving her but I don't think it is helping. She needs to bite the bullet and see that the children aren't monsters (if they were they'd soon be thrown off the bus). The others will make friends with her if she makes an effort (smile at someone or talk first) but they don't know she doesn't know anyone so she may have to make the first move, albeit a small one.

Confidence is what your daughter needs, I know how hard it can be as I'm not that great at it, but sometimes it's all you have to get you through it.

I hope your daughter can get through this (and she needs to do it soon, sometimes the longer you leave it the worse it gets) and I'm sure you've all made the right decision in her going there.

She just needs to make friends

Annie


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:28 am
Posts: 114
Location: Kent
Hi Jet,
My DD1 has just started year 8 at GS and experienced many of the thing you describe when she started last year. All the new year 7s I know seem to be completely exhausted by the earlier start, long days, remembering books and kit, finding their way to the right place at the right time, new subjects etc.
Also it's really common to have a dip after the first few days/ week/fortnight when the excitement wears off and they think maybe life was a bit easier back at primary. But it soon passes with sympathy and hugs (and hot chocolate!) and they get back in to the swing.

Friendships can be a source of worry as the groups do seem very mobile up to Christmas and beyond. Going to a school alone is a benefit in the long run as you make an effort to make friends straight away. Those who came in a group tend to stick together at first and when those friendships run into trouble, it's much more difficult to make friends when people are already settled in groups. Does your DD have someone to sit with at lunch and break, as that can making eating more fun?

Tell you DD that just because people look confident, it doesn't mean that they are confident - at this stage, most girls probably feel exactly like her!

Getting the bus may be a step too far for the next few weeks until she's more settled, but don't leave it too long as as it will get harder to face. Most children really enjoy the bus journey and she will soon make 'bus buddies', which will also widen her circle of friends in school. Do you know anyone who gets the bus who she could go with for the first few times - even an older child?

Sounds like your DD is completely normal - give it a month and she will be much more settled and confident. Meantime, stock up on the hot choc!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:33 am 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
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Location: london
I agree with allthe other comments - as I expect you do - but it doesn't feel any better does it? Firstly I would leave it a bit longer as there is so much settling to do and any experience can be magnified in importance to them as they have been there so little. If it continues to be a prblem in terms of her feeling anxious about school perhaps you could have a word with her form tutor? My DD gets the tube to school, she was very nervous about this and on her first day both tube lines were down and needless to say this sent us all into a mad panic. Were it not for the fact that her father 'followed' her I think she would have gone into total meltdown (as, quite frankly, would I). However, what I now know (with a whole weeks experience!) is that the journey home is far less daunting - as she gets on the tube with all her classmates, rather than starting the journey on her own. Perhaps you could try this with your DD, to ease her in gently, or perhaps even go on the bus with her (is that too uncool?) to 'dry run' it to settle her in and maybe even force her to go and sit next to one of her new friends...
With regards to her being tired - yes, mine too, totally exhausted and ready for half term!
With regards to whether it was the right decision, let's face it none of us will ever truly know - and so in so far as you can, try not to think about it, the situation is as it is and just has to be dealt with. Sorry if that sounds hard, I have spent a summer agonising about the school we ended up choosing and all I know is that it has not helped me, or my daughter, to have an doubts.
Good luck and I hope it all works out. :lol:

_________________
mad?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:15 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Kent
It might be worth giving the school a ring. Firstly because you have concerns that there may be something happening at school to cause your daughters worries that you are not aware of and they can look into this and reassure you. Secondly because they may be able to help lessen your daughters worries and maybe put you and your daughter in contact with children who travel on the bus so that they can perhaps meet up outside of school to help with the making friends thing. The school will have alot of experience with the problems of girls settling in and while your daughter feels everyone else has taken to it like a duck to water there are probably alot more children who feel it is all a bit daunting. They will welcome your contact and want to make things better for your daughter. I know senior schools feel very remote but In my experience and that of my friends when you make contact they are very helpfull.

It is a very worring time for you. You only want whats best for your child and for them to be happy and I am sure that this will just be a blip and you will soon see your daughter blossom, happy in her new environment.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:38 am 
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another thing to add to the others' helpful comments:

Your DD might be picking up on your anxieties about her anxieties.

It might be a good idea to jo11y the school day along with happy,positive comments and huge, huge smiles.

" What a wet day it was today!! Bet you girls got we11 and truly soaked at PE!!"

" I had a very plain lunch today..what exciting dishes did you have on the school menu?"

It is sma11ish school and it's harder to hide your attempts at making friends, whether going we11 or not, than if you were in a bigger school (180 or more in the year).

Probing questions (and I know you were only trying to see if she's OK) wi11 give her the idea that things are 'meant' to be tough and she might be in that mindset.

But she wi11 try...as work gets more into swing, she wi11 have to approach others to share a project, pose a homework query or ask a favour (Can you please watch my bag for a minute please?)


And if she thinks you and her daddy are not worrying about her getting on in a new school, she wi11 worry le55 about it as we11.

It's tough for you right now but try not to worry, you'11 get your fun, feisty girl back soon.....


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:05 am 
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Has she ever gone on a bus on her own before?

If not, why not try, over the next 2/3 weeks to get some of her primary friends, who live close by, to go into town together. They may only go for a look round the shops, or perhaps to Starbucks (my dd's favourite pasttime with her friends) but it will be the experience of getting on the bus and knowing what to do (daft as it may sound) which can be half the battle fought.

I think you should definitely be aiming for her using the bus by half term. To leave it until after the holiday would be much harder I think.

Contacting the school (as said previously) could also be a good idea. They may have a befrienders scheme which would be ideal for this situation. It only takes one friend to widen your circle. That one friend will introduce you to other friends and so on and so on.

The first step is always the hardest, but she can do it!!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:08 am 
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Location: Cloud 9
Hi Jet,

Fantastic advice so far on this thread - I might use some of it for my own DD!

I'd definately try to find out who lives close to you. You could try contacting their parents, explaining the situation & inviting them round for tea. Or is this too uncool for secondary school?

I do think that the vast majority of Yr 7s are finding things tough. My own DD, who does not normally do worrying, is unable to get to sleep before 10:30 - 11pm as she's terrified of fogetting something & "getting a pink slip". I've tried to explain that the world will not end if she does, but to no avail. :roll:

She was also very nervous about going in on her own on the first day. We had made arrangements for her to go in with a friend but it didn't work out. In the end I had to chuck her out of the car near the school gate. She looked at me in horror & said, "Do I have to go in on my own?". "Yup." I answered, "have a super day!"

I spent the whole day feeling guilty and worrying that her first day was doomed to be a disaster. Of course, she had a great day & has happily gone in on her own ever since. Sometimes they need a (gentle and caring) shove.

As for Hockey in the rain - I can't think of anything worse! But I'd never tell my DD that... It's important to try to find a silver lining. They've got to do it (at whichever school they go to) so they need to find a way of enjoying it.

I'm sure she'll be fine before too long.


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 Post subject: Mel x
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:16 am 
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Posts: 410
Hello Jet

When I read your posting I felt so so sad for you. Your dd is your world and ofcourse you cannot bare seeing her unhappy. I would be exactly the same no question. So don't feel bad its completely normal to worry.

To be honest I can sympathsie with your dd as that is a very long day for her particularly as she has just started. Without wishing to assume is there not a way you can arange to go into work later so that she doesn't haveto go in so early atleast for a few weeks whilst she is getting used to things. I know it is difficult as I work myself and too have had problems fitting everything in but you know your empoyer may surprise you. As your dd is saying it is just the long days that are upsetting her then it is that you haveto deal with then if she is still unhappy you will know it is not just that.

I would agree that trying to stay positive/jolly in front of her is best. Like you I would want to probe a little to ensure there is nothing else but at the same time you don't want to give her reasons to not be happy, if you know what I mean.

Again this may not be great advice but how about hosting a 'make new friends' party. Perhaps your daughter could invite her class mates. It wouldn't haveto be a big thing. Maybe have them to your house with music, dancing, chirades, twister, Pizza making. You could do even do it as a Halloween theme. I;m sure lots fo people coudl give you ideas on here.

In my own experience it does get better.When my son first started in year 7 he had to leave the house at 7.40 to get a bus and as it comes late in the afternoon he never gets home until 4.45. He too found this very hard. He was ok initially but after about two weeks we had a few tears. I couldn't take him(i have dd too) but I did pick him up a few times which helped. However after a few weeks he had made friends so didn't want a lift anymore he enjoyed the bus ride. Another thing he joined the drama club which has really helped his confidence.

I am sure your lovely dd will be back to her happier self soon enough

Hope some of this helps. Keep us posted

Mel


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:46 am 
Hello Jet
My daughter was in a similar position last year. She is the only child from her primary school or our village in her year group at her school. Her commute, by public transport, is about one hour door to door. It would take 45 minutes each way to drive her in, which is not a possibility. FWIW a lot of her friends have similar (and in some cases significantly longer) journeys.

There are no two ways about it, it is a much longer day than at primary school. Plus there will be increasing amounts of homework. However, as others have said, they do seem to get used to it. I think it perhaps takes some children a while to accept that during the school week they no longer have the leisure time which they previously took for granted. It is something I talked to my daughter about during year 6 so that it would be as little of a shock as possible.

Our experience was that the first term (and indeed much of the first year) was a time of unsettled friendship groups and a fair amount of general angst/ jockeying for position amongst many of the girls. This year seems (touch wood) to be much calmer and consequently happier.

Hopefully your daughter will make a good friend or two, get used to the hours and feel a whole lot happier soon. I can't see any harm in sending a note to her form tutor (or whoever she has in the way of pastoral support) to let them know if she is struggling a bit. I'm sure that she won't be the only one though (even if she thinks that she is) and the school probably try to allow for it. The size of her school (much smaller than my daughter's) should help staff and other pupils to get to know her as an individual much quicker than at many larger schools.


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