Home > Case Studies > We Moved During Primary School: A Case Study

We Moved During Primary School: A Case Study

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 29 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Prep School Primary School London

Before Laura Lewis had children, she always fantasised about leaving London and moving out to the country. Last year, her dreams became a reality – but not without difficulty.

“My husband Roger and I had always thought about moving out of the big city,” says Laura, 37, who is a stay-at-home mum to Isaac, 10, Katie, 8, Ben, 7 and Adam, 5.

“As I got to know more and more about the local secondary schools and how difficult it would be to get into any of the decent ones, I decided the time was right to move sooner rather than later,” she says.

Settled on Hertfordshire

After months of looking, the couple decided on Hitchin in Hertfordshire. “We found somewhere to move where we would be in the catchment of a good secondary school, and tried to get our children into the local primary school,” says Laura.

“But having four children close in age made everything incredibly difficult, so I ended up putting them into a private prep school, with the intention that at age 12 they will swap back into the state sector.”

That was a year ago, and the transition has been very difficult. Laura says it wasn’t helped by the fact that because the sale of their house was so “drawn out and painful” that they decided not to tell their children they were moving until the week before they moved. And to add insult to injury, they moved in the middle of the academic year as well.

“We weren’t confident that the sale would go through until the very last minute, and we didn’t want to upset the children for no reason. But in the end, that meant they did not have a huge amount of closure, for want of a better word.

“Settling into a prep school that is very different than a state primary school was very difficult for the children, for at least the first two terms.

“My eldest son Isaac, in particular, was extremely homesick for his friends back in London, not the school but his friends. He really missed them a lot more than I thought he would.”

At Arm's Length

Laura decided the best thing would be to not let Isaac see his old friends for a while. “He saw them a few times right after we moved, and was so distressed I could not put him through that again,” she says.

“He would cry himself to sleep at night, and I would pick him up from school every day in tears. Also, for a bright child he was doing quite poorly at school, he was not really making an effort. According to the teachers he was not achieving his potential at all.”

Her daughter Katie, on the other hand, thrived in the smaller classes the prep school offered, as opposed to her former primary school.

“It suited her much better,” Laura says. “At her old primary school I had school reports saying she never said a word, and that very quickly began to change. The other nice thing was that a bully who had disrupted her for two years previously back in London was no longer a part of her life.”

The youngest two were fine, on the whole. “They struggled only because both are young for their year and the prep school is much more challenging academically. Only now, a year later, are they seriously catching up.”

All’s Well That Ends Well

A year on, Isaac is also doing well. “He now absolutely loves where we live, and he loves the prep school,” says Laura.

“From having been on the D rugby team because he had never played rugby before, he is now captain of the B team. He loves being academically challenged and this year his teacher, now that he is emotionally more stable, is able to push him. So I feel he is achieving his potential.

“And while my husband Roger has to commute now, he’s happier because he gets on the train so early he always gets a seat. That means he gets work done on the train, so he doesn’t mind it all.”

Laura adds that the move was hard on her too, but that’s now all in the past. “It was quite a challenge having to move with such short notice with four kids, and it was very hard not having the support system of all the friends I had in London,” she says.

“We were initially in a rented house not close to anyone from the new prep school, and getting to know four different classes of children and parents was incredibly difficult when the children were so distressed.

“But today, for example, I just spent the whole day at a fair at school. I now know loads of people and it’s lovely - I know more people now than almost any other mum at school!”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Kata
    Re: What is an Academy?
    I would like to find a school for sport or car mechanic, we currently live in london for 1 month, my son is 15 years old, doesn't speak…
    24 April 2019
  • Atirem
    Re: What to Include in an Appeal
    All help or advise needed before my appeal please?My daughter has been refused a place from the nursery that she goes now! She’s…
    23 April 2019
  • Murray
    Re: What is Flexi-schooling?
    I find it really hard to take an article seriously when it talks of what’s fair and unfair as a negative for how you school your child!…
    17 April 2019
  • Marie
    Re: What to Include in an Appeal
    All advice and help needed before my appeal pls?? My son AC has been refused a place at our first choice school, also a feeder…
    16 April 2019
  • Desperate mom
    Re: Home to School Transport: Lodging an Appeal
    Hi My eldest is at the catchment school but my younger son is due to start in September. Due to the new…
    15 April 2019
  • Laura at ITV News
    Re: Waiting Lists for School
    Hello My name is Laura, I work at ITV News - we are hoping to interview a London-based family for Lunchtime News (16/04/19) tomorrow…
    15 April 2019
  • n/a
    Re: Get a Place at Grammar School
    Iwould like to know the passing mark in the 11 plus. Because ma daughters y5 teacher said it 120 but the teacher assistant said…
    11 April 2019
  • Maj
    Re: Placing a Foreign Student in a UK School
    I am planning to come to study to London with my 3 children , 4 yrs, 9 yrs and 11 yrs. I would like to know about…
    11 April 2019
  • Dell
    Re: Placing a Foreign Student in a UK School
    My brother wants to migrate to uk n his son is answering class 10th exams can he enrol his son in uk high…
    9 April 2019
  • Lainey
    Re: Rules and Regulations Surrounding School Trips
    My daughter is going on a school trip to Pompeii. They are due to arrive home at 2.30am and expected to be…
    6 April 2019