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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>