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Would you swap schools
because your child hasn't 'settled'

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#1 Guest_CaptainOblivious_*

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:00 AM

DD1 goes to a local school. She's very bright and doesn't get encouraged or challenged much. She was in a composite last year and then is in a straight yr 1 this year. She went to preschool with all of the kids in her school so has known them for 3 years now.

Last year she didn't really ever settle into any friendships and sort of floated around looking for kids to play with each day, often playing with kids from years 3/4/5.  She had no problem making friends at preschool and was always greeted with excitement when she arrived with several kids running towards her and taking her off to play straight away.  

Part of the issue is that it's a small school in a very low socio economic area. We're both nerds and she's very interested in a lot of things that her cohort aren't. She also has very different life experiences and out core values and parenting style is pretty different from a lot of the other families too.

There is a group of about 15 girls in her grade and of them, 3 are the queen bee/mean girl type. They all come from homes where they wouldn't be encouraged to stop behaving in that way so it's likely to get worse rather than better.

My concern is that by the time she goes off to highschool her confidence will be shattered. She's gone from loving school and being excited to go, to being nervous every day about which kids will be mean to her and how she will find someone to play with. Yesterday (first day) she thought she'd found someone to play with (that she played with last year a bit) and one of the mean girls came and told this other girl to tell her she wasn't her friend and go away, so the other girl did. DD was heartbroken (and I'm devastated for her).

It's early days in this year so we would give this new group of kids a chance to settle in, but as a hypothetical would you move your child to give them a chance to find a school with a group of kids she fitted in better with.

FWIW, moving schools would mean driving 50km to another school each day or putting her on the bus for quite a long day. The school she would hopefully go to offers piano lessons and a lot of cultural things that our school doesn't, however it has 90 kids in each grade which is a little daunting. Her current school has 180 kids total. I work in the other town 2 days a week and we have discussed moving there, but haven't taken any steps towards the move.

#2 LynnyP

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:04 AM

Yeah, I would.  The school you describe doesn't sound like a good fit for your family.

#3 JustBeige

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:10 AM

I would too.

If your family is happy to move, you work in the other town and the other school is more suited to your core values, then its silly really to not do it.

Its only going to be positives for everyone, if everyone is on board with the idea.

#4 icekool

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:11 AM

I definitely would swap school if it is not supporting my child academically. I want a school that would give a safe and encouraging environment for my child to blossom and feed their learning ability.

Have you spoken to any of the teachers for an opinion?

#5 cinnabubble

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:16 AM

If you can, do it. A six year old shouldn't have to feel afraid and apprehensive about school. I'd be devastated if that was my six year old.

#6 adnama

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:22 AM

I would consider it yes. I've already discussed similar with DF with our DD. Academically she isn't working to her full potential, last year she made one friend. We are giving it a last chance, but i spoke to her new teacher briefly yesterday and expressed some of my concerns and she seemed to listen, she also has a few friends from kindergarten, daycare and dancing in her class

#7 niggles

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:23 AM

It sounds like she would flourish in a bigger pond from the way you've described her so the size of the school wouldn't put me off.

And 2 days a week you are driving there anyway so only 3 days on the bus? And I think you live rurally don't you? So I'm assuming that 50km is not in traffic.

I'd definitely consider it.

#8 The Falcon

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:28 AM

I think it makes sense to move her to the other school.  There may be mean girls there as well but it sounds like a better cultural fit for your family, so she is more likely to find other like minded girls and have more opportunities to grow.

#9 Sancti-mummy

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:54 AM

Have you talked to the school about the issues at all?  50km plus a bus is a lot of travel every day, and would definitely result in a very long day.

What is the teacher like in Year 1?  What are your volunteering opportunities?

When my daughter first started school we actually drove past a school to get to hers - it meant that there were no local playdates.

When we moved up here, I had a very sad little girl in a new school (midway through the year) and I ended up having a few quiet words with the teacher - not about making anyone be her friend, but she had a few good ideas about keeping an eye during recess and they also did some work on exclusion and inclusion.  I was also lucky enough to have the freedom to be able to help in the tuckshop and with reading in the classroom, so I got to know a few of the other children and learned that they weren't all carbon copies of the impressions of their parents I got.

It did take time.  Good luck on whatever your decision is.

Edited to add:  being able to volunteer also meant that I could show how cool nerdy could be...

Edited by suziej, 31 January 2013 - 07:55 AM.

#10 Holidayromp

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

Sounds like the school is not the right fit and not ideal at all.

I would be moving schools.  There is too much at stake.

#11 Flaxen

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:19 AM

This is my concern for when my DD goes to school.
There are two small public and private schools in our little country town with 200 students each, but many excellent private schools about 50km in several directions.
I wouldnt hesitate to drive further if the local school was not working for her, and my concern would only be that she spent time being unhappy before moving her.

Edited by Flaxen, 31 January 2013 - 08:21 AM.

#12 erindiv

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:27 AM

I'm sure you've considered the possibility of there being just as many mean girls at the new school, in fact more since there will be more children.

But academically it sounds like a better school anyway so yes, I would swap.

#13 ACO

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

Ask yourself what the consequence of another 6 years at a school where she's not challenged and she's bullied will do for your daughter?

As for the travelling, yes it's far, but if the school in question will be a better fit for your daughter, the distance will be character building.

I assume living rurally travelling long distances is a regular part of life anyway.

#14 Therese

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

I think I would swap yes. I would try to move closer to the new school as soon as I could though.

#15 Ally'smum

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:30 AM

From what you have said I would move schools and if possible move towns so neither of you have that commute and that way you can make local friends and have local playdates.

It doesn't sound like there is much room for improvement, even if it does improve.

Edited by loggedin, 31 January 2013 - 08:31 AM.

#16 EBeditor

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

Yes, do it! You have another child too I believe, where do you think would be a good fit for her?

#17 The 7 Dwarfs

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:51 AM

I think it is important to find a school which matches your family. Sometimes there are sacrifices you have to make, but if the school is a match for you and your children, it is worth it.

My kids went to 2 primary schools which were definitely not a match for our family, 1 much more than the other. However it suited plenty of other families fine. They now go to a school which is a perfect match for us all, the kids adore going to school. The children that need extending are getting it, the children that require additional assistance are getting it, right mix of sport, language, arts for them, local, goes from R-12, just perfect for us. The only downside is the cost, but that is the sacrifice we make.

However others have struggled with the school for various reasons, it is such an individual thing.

In your situation I'd probably seriously look at moving though if you were to change schools. it's not only the distance to travel daily, but not having school friends locally can make it difficult to socialise after school.

#18 ComradeBob

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

It is such a big step, but yes, I'd do it. That school does not sound like a good fit for your kid, and if she's struggling to fit in now, it'll only get worse the older she gets, which could have lifelong consequences for her self esteem and sense of self.

#19 Funwith3

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

That is sad...your little girl should love school. I would swap schools straight away...while its still early in they year. Take it as an opportunity to move your lives and celebrate the new adventure!!

#20 Funwith3

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

QUOTE (erindiv @ 31/01/2013, 09:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm sure you've considered the possibility of there being just as many mean girls at the new school, in fact more since there will be more children.

True, but also a lot more nice little friends to pick from too. And the OP said its a low socio economic school where children are not pulled up on their bullying. You'd assume kids are coming from better homes at the other school, homes where bullying is not tolerated.

#21 Heather11

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

I would bring your concerns up with the school but also seriously consider moving school.

Unless I had strong ties to where we lived I would move closer too.  People move all the time for employment reasons.  Schooling options is just as valid if not more so due to the amount of years they spend there.

#22 feralisles

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:34 AM

Hi OP,

I had a similar situation with my oldest daughter.  We didn't swap due to the difficult logistics of trying to get her elsewhere (we both work).  I really wish I had.  The situation only got worse as she got older, a lot worse.  She ended up feeling completely isolated as she had little in common with the other kids, and was bullied as a result.  I tried to work things out with school, but it really didn't help.  In retrospect we should have moved her.

Finding the right peer group is the most important thing of all in my opinion.  Academically they do much better if they are happy - nobody learns well when they are in a state of constant anxiety.

My youngest goes to the same primary school and is absolutely fine - her interests are a bit more mainstream.  If you have a kid who is a bit different I think a small school may not provide enough opportunity to find a kindred spirit.  While a bigger school may seem more daunting, your daughter may actually find it easier to find friends (and to get away from those she doesn't like).

#23 Handsfull

Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

Take her out and change her now while it is still so early in the year, that way its like she is starting with everyone else.

We went through very similar with a few queen bees who were nasty to my daughters and would actively not let my girls play with others and tell them to go away, started in Prep and carried through to Year 1.  No matter what the school said there was hard evidence that they were being bullied, physically and verbally and the mental damage it did was awful.

We moved them at the end of Grade 1 actually took them out early and their new school, while big (same size as old) is so much more a better fit and they have bloomed.  

Do it now and if you are able to move for convenience start packing your bags!!

#24 Julie3Girls

Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

Sounds like all up you aren't particularly happy with what the school offers. Combined that with a small school with limited friendship options, then yes, I would consider changing.

BUT I would want to factor in the distance. 50km one way is a reasonable distance - it would take a while in a car direct, what sort of time frame are you looking at for a bus?  How early would she need to catch a bus, how late would she get home?  What if she wanted to do after school activities .. close to home could be hard if she doesn't get home in time, at or near school might mean you need to pick her up.  
Also factor in additional trips to the school, if you want to go in for reading groups, or assemblies, or canteen. Friends will probably be that far away too.  

So if I was going to consider it, I would really consider the option of moving.  At which point you might also want to look into high school options at the same time.

#25 Kreme

Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

I would definitely consider it. I was the smart kid at a small school with very few friendship opportunities. It was hard.
My kids go to a big school with over 120 kids in each year level. It is not daunting for them at all. But what it offers them is a fantastic range of extra curricular activities and, most importantly a broad range of kids with different personalities and interests to befriend.
My DD is a quiet, serious, studious girl and she has found a friendship group who get along famously.

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