Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children’s friendships matter in the scramble for secondary schools

01.11.2007
Now is the time that many parents will be choosing secondary schools for their children but with education policy mostly focused on individual success and achievement, the importance of children’s school friendships is largely ignored, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

For many youngsters, having friends with them during the move to secondary school enables them to settle in, get on and become more independent individuals, says Dr Susie Weller, of the Families and Social Capital ESRC research group, London South Bank University.

With Professor Irene Bruegel, she conducted a four-year project involving some 600 children and 80 parents, mostly in areas of high deprivation in London, the south-east of England and the Midlands, where access to highly esteemed secondary schools was limited.

Dr Weller said: “A child’s last year at primary school is widely viewed as a stressful and challenging time for many families. The current focus of British education policy on parental choice means that children are in competition with one another for places at well-resourced schools.

“This often means that relationships such as friendship are sidelined and little attention has been given to the positive and constructive resources and experiences such networks can provide.”

Dr Weller argues that the benefits children glean from their friendships have at best been overlooked, and at worst been regarded in a negative light, particularly by some prominent social theorists.

She said: “They have focused on the ‘youth problem’ - describing peer group interaction as having a negative affect on educational attainment and associated with destructive activities such as membership of a gang. Until now, work in this area has had little emphasis on children’s own experiences.”

About a quarter of all children in the South Bank study were unhappy not to be moving on with all their friends. And of the 10 per cent who were moving on alone, though seven out of 10 were excited to some degree, this compared with more than eight out of 10 doing so with a lot of their friends.

Whilst still at primary school, some children forged allegiances with others they knew would be moving with them.

Dr Weller said: “These relationships were short-term bonds which often gave children confidence in new and unsettling surroundings, since being seen on your own makes you stand out either as different or unpopular. Being seen as part of a group during the first few days projects a more confident and popular persona to your new peers.”

Fear of being bullied made it vital for children to have a solid group of friends who acted as ‘back up’, ready to support and defend them. Those without solid friendships were inherently more vulnerable.

For the minority who found the move challenging, friends from primary school were particularly important.

Moving schools with friends did not mean that children did not make new ones. Instead, having a stable base of friendships helped them make more. Older brothers, sisters and other relatives attending the same secondary school also provided a variety of support and ‘insider information’. They helped younger siblings become familiar with their new surroundings, establish relationships with teachers, peers and older pupils, and tackle their academic work. Siblings also helped their younger brothers and sisters to come to terms with the new school journey, which was particularly significant for many, as it was the first time they had travelled without an adult.

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>