Anxiety and Secondary school selection

A woman I will call Laura is 38 and married with two children. Her eldest daughter, Georgia, has just learned that she has not been given a place at the Secondary school she was hoping to attend from September. The family moved from West London six years ago when prices within the catchment area were out of their league, but they had felt they were in with a good chance just outside the boundary.

Laura has always been a worrier and she has been anxious about this decision. It has been a fraught period and she worries what it will be like for her daughter to move schools. It has taken its strain on the family. Laura has even dreamt about it but she feels uncomfortable talking with her friends and family about the extent of her worries.

Laura knows Georgia settled well at Primary school, not just academically but socially, yet Laura is still concerned about this new change, more so now she knows Georgia will have fewer of her friends with her.

But it is as well to remember that whatever Laura feels about this, Georgia might feel quite differently. It is easy and understandable for a parent to worry. It might be as well for Laura to try to find out more about what Georgia feels and thinks, Georgia may be more resilient and accepting of the change than her mother supposes.

In a situation like this there are the external facts, it is not only a new school with its unfamiliar routines, but it’s not the school Laura wanted. Plus there are Laura’s feelings about it, her worry, and bad dreams. It can take time for these things to settle down.

Change can be difficult, no one likes not knowing what’s going to happen next, of course really we never know what is going to happen next. It can be tricky getting used to new routines and a new way of life. Perhaps sometimes all we can do is acknowledge what is stressful and gradually get used to it. Just like the family did when they moved to the area six years ago. At least now the education authority has made its decision Laura and Georgia can start to focus and prepare for the changes ahead.

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Written by Toby Ingham MA UKCP BAPPS

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