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Annatazia

Changing schools in year 2

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Annatazia

So, my daughter is currently in year 2 at what may colloquially be called an "elite" private school. It's a wonderful school, with great facilities, good teachers, high academic standards and well behaved children.

 

And yet, she HATES it.

 

She has made no real friends, she feels pressure to perform that she is having trouble dealing with, and she is lost among the huge number of fellow students. She is quiet, shy and withdrawn by nature, and sits close to the autism spectrum (no developmental delays but some social and communication issues and unusual mannerisms). While she does fine academically (not the top but far from the bottom), she is not really benefiting from any of the 'leadership' or extracurricular activities on offer, and likely never will. She also says that she is being teased, although I can't get any specifics. My sense is that she is more being ignored than actually "picked on" - she is very different to the competitive and confident (and intimidatingly mature) students who dominate her class and I can understand why she feels different and left out. The school has done absolutely everything it can to help her, and I can't fault them in any way, but fundamentally she just doesn't want to be there anymore.

 

Instead, she wants to go to the local state school. Mind you, she knows next to nothing about the local state school, other than it is the site of the play equipment she uses on weekends. She has the idea that it will be easier going. Whether that is true or not, the days are certainly shorter, and there is no expectation of participation in extra curricular activities. Homework is optional, which I am not that happy about, but at least it will eliminate a source of conflict and stress at home. She perhaps also harbors the hope that someone there will be her friend. I'm not convinced things will be any better for her socially. I'm actually, frankly, a little worried as to how she will cope, as our local school has some kids with behavioral issues, and our daughter is very anxious and sensitive to noise and unpredictability. But I also worry that leaving her where she is isn't working. Hating school in grade 2 is not a good start to one's education.

 

I am wondering if anyone else has made such a dramatic decision to change their child's school, so early in their education? I am genuinely worried that moving her will make things worse, if not now, than later.

 

I'm well aware of all the arguments re public and private schools, so I don't really need a rehash of those. I'm a state school grad myself, and loved it, but we went private because my daughter needed a stable and predictable environment and this school was suggested as providing that - which it absolutely does. What I am interested in hearing about are the experiences of children who actually have swapped schools, and indeed systems. Did they even notice the change? Did you regret it later?

 

Also, parents whose kids initially hated their school, did you persevere? Did they grow to like it?

Edited by Annatazia

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SplashingRainbows

You may not be interested in us as we’ve not swapped, although we did send our quirky, anxiou, noise sensitive, bright little boy to the local public school despite hearing about behavioral issues ... and they have been outstanding.

 

The ‘behavioral issues’ are not behavioral issues at all. Turns out it was just nasty gossip.

 

My child’s classroom teacher helped my child develop his friendships. The children are incredible. Some of the sweetest, kindest kids. The respect and kindness they show just blows me away. Tolerance and inclusion are big values at our school and it does help the kids make and keep friends.

 

My child is in yr2 this year also, and he feels included, has 3-4 close friends, and is maturing beautifully.

 

He is in a class of only 20 - significantly smaller than the local private schools.

 

Have you met the principal of the local school?

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Lallalla

Do you have any local primary school teacher friends you could talk to about it? Different schools cater to different kids better. Whether they are public or private.

 

I went from a small private school to a big public school in grade 4 and it was the right move for me. A bigger social pool and kids who were smarter than me helped me. However other kids went the opposite way (the schools were down the road from each other in a regional town), as they got lost in the crowd, so to speak.

 

I also know some people whose boy was not on the spectrum, but further up the sleeve than most, and they moved him from a very big public school where he was bullied to a smallish public school just down the road midway through primary school and that really worked for him.

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SeaPrincess

Our eldest started school in a private school and I was not impressed. At the time that our second was due to start, we were deciding whether the stay or go, then DH got transferred to the country. We decided to go with the local public school. It was excellent, and when we returned to the city, we stayed with public schooling. We looked at private again for high school, but DS1 has ultimately gone to our local government high school this year and is absolutely loving it.

 

I found the public schools have generally had smaller classes, especially in the lower grades, and seem to be more open to catering for wider abilities, both extension and learning support, but it may just be the private school we started at wasn’t interested in extension because it doesn’t draw extra funding.

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Kreme

I changed my kids’ school (staying within the public system) when they were in yr 3 and year 2.

 

DD was in yr 3 and initially she hated the new school. She missed her friends and wanted to return to her old school. DH and I were certain that the new school was a better fit for her, so we asked her to trust us and give it a go. By term 2 she was liking the new school, by term 3 she was loving it. She is now in yr 6 and doesn’t regret the move at all.

 

DS was in yr 2 and adjusted really quickly. He’s very sporty so he just joined the kids playing handball or soccer and he made friends quickly.

 

Also please be aware there are almost always inaccurate rumours about public schools, usually spread by parents who have a vested interest in justifying the large fees they pay at private school. Every school, public or private, has kids with behaviour issues. Some of my friends’ kids at private schools have had awful things done to them by classmates.

 

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SeaPrincess

Also please be aware there are almost always inaccurate rumours about public schools, usually spread by parents who have a vested interest in justifying the large fees they pay at private school.

 

This is so true! I was starting to think it was just me who felt this way though - all of my friends have their kids in private schools!

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Jenflea

Not having homework in the early years of primary school would be a PLUS for me!

 

It's been proven that homework doesn't do a darn thing in early primary, most teachers set it because the PARENTS expect it, as you've found with your DD it causes stress and conflict and kids need downtime after a long day at school.

If they haven't 'got it' during the day, homework isn't going to help.

 

I'm all for reading each night , but that's it really for now.

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Annatazia

You may not be interested in us as we’ve not swapped, although we did send our quirky, anxiou, noise sensitive, bright little boy to the local public school despite hearing about behavioral issues ... and they have been outstanding.

 

Sorry - of course I appreciate your view! I was just wary of starting another public v private school debate/flame war. I've heard all the arguments and think the school is really more important than the system anyway.

Have you met the principal of the local school?

 

Yes. The principal was very upfront and honest - she was proud of her school, but also didn't think the change would address any social problems my daughter had. She was upfront about some of the 'challenges' of her school, including that they welcome everyone Rather than trying to sell me on the school, as the private school did, she showed us around so we could make our own minds up. She said would be different to where our daughter was in some ways and the same in others. I found her very impressive, and I liked the school. It was crowded and noisy, at least compared to where she is, but it was welcoming and the work level was the same. It is really impossible to compare on a brief tour though - and I guess I am more concerned by change than difference, if that makes sense?

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Veritas Vinum Arte

Is there another intake year coming up (ie more girls to start?).

 

My kids all went from the local Catholic to Private to year 12 school at grade 3.

 

For two of my kids it was an intake year (so they went from 1-2 classes so half the kids were new), for my middle child it was not an intake year so he was just one of four new kids across 2 classes that year.

 

If there is an intake year coming up next year, there may be new friends to be made (my kids all made close friends with kids who had been there since pre prep and were slightly quirky).

 

If not, moving can be beneficial if the environment you are moving to is right.

 

DD in Prep had someone join them mid term 3. That girl left a Pre-Prep to 12 private school. She did not fit in there and was being socially excluded. She thrived at the local Catholicand became best friends with DD.

 

Another one of DD's new classmates this year moved to the private school from another private school. The previous private school was just not a good fit for their DD.

 

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imme

I moved my son from a private school to our local public school at the beginning of this year which is grade 2 for him. He was having a lot of issues with bullying at the previous school and despite us bringing it up numerous times nothing was done about it.

 

I wouldn't have even considered sending my son to our local school because it's had quite a bad reputation in the past. However we went along anyway because we had to before we could apply elsewhere and left the interview with the principal with papers to sign we were that impressed.

 

So far my son is very happy there and we think his teacher seems to be pretty awesome :) Time will tell as it's only been a short while so far, but all in all they seem very on top of him, our family situation, other kids and consequences for behaviour, so we're pretty happy.

 

Early years of school is no time to be miserable. Changing schools might not be the answer to your particular situation, but maybe it is that simple too. Unfortunately you aren't really going to know until you give it a go. I was so anxious about moving him and how he would cope, but he took it all in his stride and I'm very proud of how he's fitting in (he also has many autistic traits and a sensory processing disorder).

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2bundles

DS went public to elite private in yr 1, then back to a different public school in yr 2.

 

I don’t ever regret moving him. Even twice!

 

It is amazing to see the difference in a child who is in the right place. For DS it was a small nurturing public school where he felt confident being himself. The school did have a fair % of special needs kids which meant there was a culture of tolerance.

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Lifesgood

OP it does sound like your child is a bit of a 'fish out of water' at the current school. She quite possibly is being overwhelmed by a large number of 'alpha' kids at an elite school.

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Kay1
Yes. The principal was very upfront and honest - she was proud of her school, but also didn't think the change would address any social problems my daughter had. She was upfront about some of the 'challenges' of her school, including that they welcome everyone Rather than trying to sell me on the school, as the private school did, she showed us around so we could make our own minds up. She said would be different to where our daughter was in some ways and the same in others. I found her very impressive, and I liked the school. It was crowded and noisy, at least compared to where she is, but it was welcoming and the work level was the same. It is really impossible to compare on a brief tour though - and I guess I am more concerned by change than difference, if that makes sense?

 

I think you have your answer. Your DD wants to go there, you like the principal and the feel of the school. If it was my child I would consider it worth trying. I mean if it's a disaster, you can always go back to her current school right? And it could be a much better environment for her and you'll all be happier (and save a tonne of $$ I expect!).

 

I moved my Year 4 boy this year, entirely different reasons but I was also very worried about the transition. It's been fine though, he has made some friends, the kids have been very welcoming and kind and all in all it's been a positive.

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mum850

Tell the current school you are going on holiday and go for a week trial at the new school?

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CrankyM

After your 2nd post I think you have your answer. I'm part of various groups for parents of children in the spectrum or who are going through the process of being assessed for it. There seems to be a number of posts I have seen where moving children from private schools to public have been beneficial. The principal has given you a clear pictures and from your post it sounds like she is a dedicated positive person. Schools follow the leadership. Get a good leadership team in place with the school and the school is likely to follow their lead. This goes for inclusivity, acceptance and a sense of community. But I just wanted to say that the local public might have a diversity of population that lets you DD find her tribe so to speak. I've seen it happen with my niece (who is very quirky and actually just been diagnosed with asd. She struggled at school for similar issues to those you state and it's only been since starting at a different school this year she is finally loving school. She's 9 in May).

 

I personally don't have any experience in moving a child. My kids are at a loca public. Which I am very happy with most of the time.

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Mumma3

Slightly older, but we moved our son with ASD from private to public at the end of year 4 and it was best thing ever.

Again, the principal was an incredible woman, who created a wonderfully inclusive culture where there were so many differences (culture, colour, socio economics background, abilities, religion, learning and behavioural challenges etc) that no one stood out. Each child was truly accepted for who they were.

Our son blossomed there from a child who could rarely manage a full week of school, was bullied by both students and teachers, and was medicated for anxiety, to one who had a great bunch of friends and was nominated for school captain in year 6.

I’d move her it it was me.

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PizzaSteve

I moved my son from one public school to another in the middle of Yr1. His old school was massive (1000+) and he was just getting lost in the school. We moved him to a much smaller school closer to home.

 

I had read or heard somewhere that it is easier to move in the middle of the year as the child is a bit of a novelty as the ‘new kid’ and the teacher is able to keep a closer eye on settling them in as the rush at the start of the year is over. I would agree now having gone through it that it worked better for my son, although it took a couple of weeks for him to feel ok. He now has a good group of friends and seems to have really found his place.

 

For a girl though - girls can be more cliquey so not sure if that would be best. Also can be harder to break into the parent circle when you haven’t started there, but maybe that’s just me.

 

Would you want to send your daughter to her current school for high school? Not sure if pulling out would impact that even though it shouldn’t.

 

Good luck - it’s a tough decision!

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Lady Monteagle

We moved our son this year, going into Yr 3. He didn't want to (in the end, after flip-flopping a few times in the lead-up). He did complain about it and was quite nervous at the prospect. We believed it was the right move for him, so we persisted.

 

He now repeatedly tells us that his new school is better. He is also succeeding in ways he hadn't to date, socially/emotionally.

 

So there's another anonymous positive experience to add!

 

Oh, and I changed schools going into Yr 2. For entirely pragmatic reasons to do with my parents' work. It went really well also.

 

In fact I changed schools a fair few times and in my view the changing-schools-bit itself is not particularly problematic during primary school years. High school, far riskier.

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5lilchicks

Absolutely I would move her. Her current school isnt working and the other school sounds great. I moved schools (and we moved house) when my son was in grade 1 as the school really wasnt working for my son and he was very unhappy. We found a great school half an hour away and he loved it. Definitely worth the move.

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Elizabethandfriend

OP, I'm not certain from your post - is the private school you are attending co-ed? I ask because I have found girls with a quirky profile sometimes find it easier to mix with boys than girls, especially in the early years.

 

I also think the answer is pretty clear. Your daughter hates school, is getting very little out of the fees you are paying, and has expressed a desire to try something new. I really don't think you have a lot to lose. If you find she is not doing as well academically at the new school, then find a good tutor to keep her up.

 

(I don't know if you are in Victoria, but an 'alternative' private school like Preshil might be a good fit for your DD as well).

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Ozquoll

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Kreme

I’m getting a weird feeling of déjà vu, because I know someone (know of really, friend of a friend) from a very wealthy Sydney family, who isn’t diagnosed but has many Aspie traits - she went to an incredibly expensive private school from K-12, and she never had one friend . Not one. I have ASD myself, and school wasn’t fun, but I did have at least a few friends, most of the time. This was at a bogan (edging towards feral) public school in the 1980s-1990s.

If she was my daughter, I’d move her.

 

I have a family friend who is similar. Made a couple of good friends at public primary school, left for elite private school which was socially and academically disastrous. This family is not super super wealthy, so that $180K would have been very useful, but they got sucked into the idea of needing “the best” school. Expensive schools aren’t the best option for everyone.

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EPZ

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Mumma3

I also think, that for many kids with ASD, a change of schools can be a great opportunity for them to reinvent themselves.

By mid primary, other students, parents and teachers will have formed opinions and expectations with regard to who a person is, & what they are capable of (academically and behaviourally).

A change of schools can give an opportunity for the child to be who they are trying to be, without constantly living “down” to everyone’s expectations.

For our DS, while there was anxiety about the change, there was also a massive boost in his self esteem as he was able to make friends based on who he was in year 5 and not who he was before that. Teachers and other adults didn’t have an expectation that he would be a problem - and so he wasn’t. (Interesting phenomena that..... ;) )

Hope this makes sense and helps.

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Zesty

I am a firm believer that kids need to go to schools that are their best fit.

 

As for moving? One spent max. 2years and the other max. of 3years at their last primary school. Due to work, we had moved states several times.

 

Kids are resilient, especially when they are in an environment where they feel supported both academically and socially.

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