Friendship Groups

If your child’s choice of secondary school was left entirely to them, they would almost always choose  the school where their friends were going. However, there are things parents need to consider about friendship groups, before they decide which school is right for their child.MP900262807friends

  • If your child has friends at primary school who you feel are a negative influence, secondary transfer is a good opportunity for separating them. However, if your child has a tendency to always gravitate towards ‘the naughty children’ there will always be different ‘naughty children’ for them to hang out with in a new environment.
  • Don’t assume that just because a secondary school is the one that all the other parents from your primary school choose, that it is the right one for your child. Sometimes, these traditions are founded on something as unreliable as a school’s reputation, which is often out of date, or simply upon geographical convenience.
  • It is not a good idea to send your child to a particular secondary school simply so they can be with their friends. Many close friendships from primary school do not endure long into secondary school. There are too many new people and influences, and the children are going through too many changes for some friendships to be sustainable.
  • However, if you are worried about your child’s ability to make new friends, you might want to consider sending them to a school which the parents of well established friends are considering too. However, it is important to remember that your child or their friend might not gain a place in their first choice school. Even if they do, with the temptation of new peers, there is no guarantee that their friendship will last.
  • It is worth pointing out that a good school will not allow students to sit in friendship groups in class that may jeopardise children’s ability to learn. In a successful school, your child should not expect to sit with their friends in class or even share the same lessons.
  • Schools should consult you and your child about friends coming up with them from primary school, when they are forming tutor groups. They should take into consideration requests a parents might have for combinations of students to be separated.
  • A good school will have a tutor group system, where a strong sense of group identity is established, so that your child will feel part of a community quickly,even if they have few peers from their primary school.
  • If you are thinking of sending your child to a secondary school where few of her primary school friends are likely to attend, find out about the school’s intake. If it is a school which has many feeder schools, then there should be no problem about your child settling in. If it is a school that takes from just a few feeder schools and your primary school is not one of them, then it might be more difficult for your child to integrate. However, I have often found in this situation, that the other children find new faces interesting, and a child from a different feeder school can get a lot of positive attention.

Further Information

LEA

If you are considering applying to schools because of friendship groups, make sure you are aware of the LEA’s admissions procedures, so you know what the likelihood is of your child and their friends attaining places at the same school.

Open Evening

Find out how tutor groups are made up, and whether parents are consulted. Find out what the school’s transition and induction processes are. Ask about the primary feeder schools.

Case Study

Summary




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